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Four days ago, the European Parliament adopted a new set of rules concerning asylum in the European Union.  For the first time ever gender identity is one of the grounds of persecution which must be considered.  

Up until now, the language concerning gender identity said that gender related aspects might be considered in determining whether asylum in member countries would be granted.  That language has been replaced with

Gender related aspects, including gender identity, shall be given due consideration for the purposes of determining membership of a particular social group or identifying a characteristic of such a group.

In the attached explanatory statement, which has weight when it comes to interpretation of the rules, there is this:

Progress has also been made on issues relating to gender and gender identity. These are now explicitly mentioned in the Articles in relation to social groups at risk of persecution. A reference has also been added in the Recitals to "customs and legal traditions" which could result in damaging outcomes, such as genital mutilation.

The text applies to all European Union member states except the United Kingdom,  Ireland and Denmark, which opted out of EU asylum policies, although the resolution was drafted and promoted by British member of the European Parliament, Jean Lambert., from the Green/European Free Alliance coalition.

This is the first time that any EU directive has included gender identity.  It is especially important to transpeople from places like Turkey, where we have been the target of honor killings, Indonesia, where transpeople who used to be considered mentally ill  are now considered a social welfare problem, Bangladesh, where transgender people are forced into begging or unprotected sex-work in order to "survive",  South America, where the number of murders of transpeople is astoundingly high.

We are awaiting the semi-annual update on this year's number, which currently stands at 604 reported murders worldwide since January, 2008.  An estimate is available for this year, since it was reported in March of 2011 that the number of reported murders of transpeople worldwide from January, 2008 through December, 2010 was 539.  That would leave 65 for this year, although another source lists 18 sourced murders, 8 in the United States.  Central and South America have historically accounted for 80% of these totals.

The United States shares a category with Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Venezuela, and Columbia.  We should be so proud.

We also are very fond of exporting our hatred internationally.

An update is expected prior to November 20, which is Transgender Day of Remembrance.  If you are looking for something to do to commemorate TDOR, let me direct you to Made for Flight.

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