Declaration of the 3rd TGEU Council on the discrimination and violence targeted at the trans participants from Turkey
2nd October 2010
We the participants of this 3rd TGEU Council are shocked at the experience of the trans activists from Turkey who were subjected to transphobic and racist violence on two occasions during their stay in Malmo. We are also concerned at the unacceptable discrimination and victimisation that they suffered at the hands of the police while they were reporting the violence that took place on the night of Thursday 30th September
On Thursday, the activists were entering a restaurant and were transphobically and racially harassed by a group of young men. On their way out the activists were physically attacked by this same group and pelted with eggs. The aggressors then also smeared egg on the face of an activist. The police did not respond adequately to the reported case of violence.
The following morning Transgender Europe and RFSL called for an appropriate investigation. However, when the activists were interviewed by the police, later in the afternoon, the police asked a series of unacceptable and offensive questions to the activists about their gender identity and right of stay in Sweden. In addition, the incorrect use of names and pronouns violated the dignity of the activists. Through their behaviour the police made the activists feel intensely violated and humiliated.
A further act of transphobic violence happened later on Friday night, when the activists were at Crown Nightclub and a customer slapped one of them on the face. Following the activist's complaint, the bar staff ordered the trans activists to leave without challenging the aggressor. At this stage the activists no longer trusted in an adequate police response and did not report this second incident.
In view of the above we demand that:
I. The Swedish Police:
Take responsibility for the inappropriate handling of the investigation of the case of violence that the trans activists reported
Investigate and take appropriate disciplinary procedures against the police officers who mistreated the trans activists and victimised them through their transphobic and racist questioning
Implement comprehensive training efforts to make sure that all police forces dealing with the public are respectful of all people regardless of gender identity/gender expression, race, nationality or any other ground, or an intersection of them.
Commit to working with RFSL and other LGBTI and trans organisations to effectively implement the above demands.
Swedish Discrimination Ombudsman:
Enhance the promotion of equality particularly looking at the experience of trans people in the acquisition of goods and services.
Adopt hate crime legislation that explicitly covers the grounds of gender identity and gender expression
Raise awareness that trans people's equality and human rights must always be respected thus making sure that such incidents cease to happen.
The European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA Europe), the International Network for Trans Depathologization (STP2012) and the Global Action for Trans* Equality (GATE) express their solidarity with the activists from Turkey and support the statement.