Defined as the processes by which a person can change their legal documentation and identity papers to match their correct gender identity, legal gender recognition is – for many people worldwide - a vital means of affirmation of who they really are, with concrete impacts on their daily lives.
“We created the Towards Trans Liberation: Advocacy for Legal Gender Recognition toolkit around conversations on visibility, with and beyond legal gender recognition,” said Tristán López Aguilar, co-author of the report. “We not only want visibility, but liberation: legal gender recognition is the first crucial step into a broader set of rights that enable us trans people to live good and fulfilling lives.”
Cartoon animations of people constructing a billboard with the caption "Towards Trans Liberation, Advocacy for legal gender recognition",
and the words "A toolkit for human rights defenders" at the bottom left corner
Co-authored by Chamindra Weerawardhana and Tristán López Aguilar with the contributions and illustrations of Shalaka Pai, Towards Trans Liberation: Advocacy for Legal Gender Recognition builds on historic research work done by ILGA World: since 2016, the organisation has been releasing its Trans Legal Mapping Report, which documents provisions setting out how trans and gender-diverse people can change their sex/gender marker and names on official identity documents. In its latest edition, the report also collected information on laws criminalising trans identities in every region of the world: as of September 2020, at least 13 UN member States worldwide explicitly criminalised trans persons, although a much wider range of laws is still used to target them in many more countries.
The current toolkit now aims to expand on that research – which remains the most comprehensive international publication on the topic to date – and to make it more accessible to trans human rights defenders and communities at large, helping them identify gaps in the current state of legal gender recognition in their country, and offering guidance to build a concrete advocacy roadmap.
Created by trans human rights defenders with a strong Global South perspective, Towards Trans Liberation: Advocacy for Legal Gender Recognition will help activists better understand data around legal gender recognition and use community-focused research to strengthen international advocacy - especially with United Nations bodies. Furthermore, it references other toolkits about communication, UN advocacy, and more, helping activists to build broader, comprehensive strategies.
“The toolkit was created with a strong ‘By us, and for us’ approach,” comments Chamindra Weerawardhana, co-author and coordinator of the report, and a consultant with ILGA World’s Gender Identity & Expression and Sex Characteristics Programme. “It is intended to be a useful publication to trans human rights defenders worldwide, rooted in the long tradition of an advocacy that is locally-grounded and serves the best interests of our communities.”