Puheenvuoro YK:n ihmisoikeuskomiteassa
Yhdistyksen varapuheenjohtaja Julia Peltonen piti puheenvuoron Yhdistyneiden Kansakuntien ihmisoikeuskomiteassa, osana Suomen ihmisoikeustilanteen kartoitusta. Puheenvuoro liittyi Trans ry:n yhdessä Seta ry:n ja muiden seksuaali- ja sukupuolivähemmistöjä edustavien yhdistysten kanssa jättämään lausuntoon, jossa annetaan palautetta ihmisoikeuksien kehittymisestä Suomessa sukupuoli- ja seksuaalivähemmistöjen osalta.
Puheenvuoro on luettavissa alta. Puheenvuoro pidettiin englanniksi, jonka takia myös sivuilla julkaistava versio on englanniksi.
Distinguished members of the committee, esteemed representatives of other organizations and NGOs.
I thank you for the opportunity to address the Human Rights Committee on the status of human rights in Finland as they relate to transgender and non-binary people. My name is Julia Peltonen and I’m the vice-chair of Trans ry, the largest trans organisation in Finland, that is dedicated to working for trans rights both on the grassroots level and in legislation.
As per the joint statement to the Human Rights Committee submitted by, among others, Seta ry, Isio ry and Trans ry, the state of trans rights in Finland is poor and the government’s plans to overhaul the outdated trans legislation fall short of what they should be. The proposed new trans law would still require an explanation, which the government has not elaborated on, would have a waiting period and it would leave trans children and youth outside the scope of the law. This would mean that trans youth that have already changed their name, socially transitioned and sometimes even transitioned medically would not be allowed to correct their legal gender and would be outed every single time they use their ID. They would be outed as transgender in buses, in schools, in libraries and so forth. The law would mean that trans youth and children would be denied the right to live as regular children and teens and would force them into the spotlight all the time. The proposed law would also not extend legal recognition to non-binary people. Non-binary people have been asking for legal recognition for years, but the government’s ruling does not include any mention of non-binary people. There’s also no word on the current ”trans registry’s” future, which is a list in the Finnish population register which includes the detailed information of every trans person who has corrected their legal gender since 2009, which many in the trans community view as a threat to their safety and privacy.
Other laws that affect the Finnish transgender and non-binary population are the laws on parentage. The laws are currently split in to a law on fatherhood and a law on motherhood, of which the law on motherhood was just recently reformed. The reformed law allows for a baby to have two mothers registered before birth, unless one of the mothers is transgender and her genetic material is used in fertilisation, after which she is forced to register as a father, regardless of her legal gender. The laws are meant to be combined into one and LGBT+ -organisations had high hopes that the gendered parentage terms of father and mother would be replaced with the gender neutral term parent. Unfortunately the government decided to not go through with the replacement following a conservative outcry in the media. The current state of parentage laws means that trans men will continue to be forcefully registered as mothers and trans women as fathers if they have biological children, regardless of their legal gender.
Outside the legal framework the Finnish trans community is struggling with the healthcare system that’s put in place to take care of our needs. The wording in the trans regulation maintained by the ministry of health has limited trans healthcare in Finland to two public clinics that are chronically understaffed, overworked and, according to the Parliamentary Ombudsman of Finland, their waiting periods are unconstitutional. According to the Ombudsman a period of 3 months is the maximum time that can be taken before a diagnosis must be placed. The current averages in the public clinics are around 2 years.
Trans and non-binary people in Finland also experience constant hate speech and harassment from the media, politicians and especially on social media. Additionally trans people face employment and housing discrimination and young trans people experience extremely worrying levels of bullying at school and alarming levels of violence at home. According to a study of Finnish teens, almost half of the trans youth experienced emotional abuse by their parents or caretakers and every fourth trans teenager experienced physical abuse by their parents or caretakers. The levels are much, much higher than those of heterosexual cisgender teenagers and slightly higher than the rest of LGB-teens.
To summarise, Finland likes to put on a progressive, pro-human rights face to the rest of the world, but unfortunately that does not accurately reflect its actions at home. Trans people and other minorities in Finland are hurting and the government is not helping. We hope that international attention might help change the government’s course and help secure human rights for all.
Thank you for your time
Kuvituskuva: Mathias P.R. Reding