Trans activists call to change UN Human Rights Declaration
Thursday, 27 April 2006
Local campaigners this week urged the gay and lesbian community to support US transgender activists’ calls for the United Nations to revise its Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
GenderEvolve, an online community for transgender people, has launched a petition to ask the UN to replace references to “all men and women” with “all people”, and to add ‘gender’ as a category under Article 2, which lists circumstances under which a person may not be discriminated against, including race, religion and sex. “The term ‘women and men’ is exclusionary of all people whose gender cannot be described by either category,” the organisation said, adding that the addition of gender as a category would afford protection for transgender people “whose human rights are being violated because of their exhibited gender, not their biological sex”.
Sex and Gender Education Australia (SAGE) supports the campaign to amend the Declaration. “It’s a long overdue change,” steering committee member Tracie O’Keefe told SX. “Biology, psychology and sociology now show us that there are more than two sexes and genders, so bipolarisation of sex and gender in a modern society is discriminatory.”
SAGE spokes-person Norrie May-Welby added: “We are absolutely in favour of the change because the phrase ‘all men and all women’ doesn’t make clear that it includes all people and it is a declaration of human rights. Most intersex people will identify as men and women but there are some who don’t, and some people identify as androgynous or not as men or women; I’d certainly be happy to include myself in that category and would like human rights to be extended to me. I can’t tell you what gender I am unless you tell me what that means to you but I know I’m a human being and I want to be included in human rights.”
To sign the online petition, go to:www.petitiononline.com/xgender/petition.html ~KATRINA FOX