Open Consultation on Legal Recognition of Gender Identity and Destigmatization through Depathologization

Geneva, 19 June 2018 10:00 to 13:00, Palais des Nations, Room XI

At his inaugural report to the Human Rights Council in June 2017 (A/HRC/35/36), the former Independent Expert, Vitit Muntarbhorn, identified six underpinnings for the mandate on protection from violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity: the decriminalization of consensual same-sex relations and of gender identity and expression; effective anti-discrimination measures; the legal recognition of gender identity; destigmatization linked with depathologization; sociocultural inclusion; and education with empathy. The first two were elaborated in the mandate’s 2017 report to the UN General Assembly (A/72/172). The third and fourth underpinnings will be analysed in the Independent Expert’s report to the General Assembly, to be presented in October 2018.

Previous consultation and call for inputs

The mandate held consultations on the overall objective of the mandate on 24 and 25 January 2017 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, and sent a questionnaire in May 2017 requesting inputs regarding the six underpinnings mentioned above, with particular focus on the following areas:

a) current situation in the country/region;
b) key laws, policies and practices, including good practices;
c) legal cases, including court judgements.

Through these means the input of over a hundred stakeholders was received and will be part of the considerations of the mandate, including when elaborating the thematic report to the General Assembly in October 2018.

Objectives of the consultation

The Independent Expert wishes to hold this consultation to:

a) Exchange views with participants on the scope of legal recognition of gender identity and destigmatization linked with depathologization, in particular:

    • Discuss good practices and challenges with regard to the adoption and implementation of gender recognition procedures aiming at giving official recognition to a transgender person’s gender identity;
    • Exchange on human rights violations and abuses that transgender persons face when such recognition is not available and when their identification documents do not reflect their self-perceived gender identity;
    • Discuss the pathologization and the branding of persons as ill based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression as one of the root causes behind the human rights violations that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons face. In particular, the Independent Expert will welcome information and views on the intersection of these problematics with global processes such as ICD11 (WHO) and other relevant normative or policy processes;
    • Discuss violence that transgender persons face in health-care settings in order to practice their right to recognition before the law, such as involuntary psychiatric evaluations, unwanted surgeries, sterilization or other coercive medical procedures, often justified by discriminatory medical classifications;
    • Discuss the extent of the use of conversion therapies and measures adopted to ban these practices that are harmful to patients and may cause severe pain and suffering and lead to depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation.

b) Highlight possible good practices and gaps at international, regional and national levels on the two topics of the consultation;
c) Offer a platform of dialogue between participants, including facilitating the exchange of experiences, knowledge, and lessons learned.

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Discussions will inform the Independent Expert’s report to the General Assembly, to be presented in October 2018. A short summary of the proceedings will be posted on the webpage of the Independent Expert thereafter. 

Participants and methodology

The consultation is open to States, UN agencies, programmes and funds, regional human rights mechanisms, National Human Rights Institutions, members of civil society organizations, religious communities and interfaith groups, medical professionals, academic institutions and all other interested stakeholders.  The consultation will start with a general segment during which the Independent Expert will introduce his work and his initial thoughts about the issues of legal recognition of gender identity and destigmatization linked with depathologization, taking into consideration the inputs already received by the mandate. Thereafter participants will be invited to present their views. A list of speakers will be circulated in the room and the Independent Expert will hear three interventions from each cluster of participants, i.e. States, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders, successively.

Programme of work

Practical details and contact information

The consultation will take in Palais des Nations, Room XI, on Tuesday 19 June 2018 from 10:00 to 13:00. If you do not have a badge to enter the Palais des Nations, please request accreditation online through UNOG’s Indico system

Kindly note that it will unfortunately not be possible to participate via videoconferencing.

Should you have any questions about this event, or should you wish to submit information related to the topics under consideration, please contact the Independent Expert through the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (, +41 22 917 9327 or +41 22 917 9681).

Questions and comments can be sent in advance of the meeting to the Independent Expert at:

The following hashtag will be used during the meeting: #IESOGI.


Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity
c/o Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations at Geneva
8-14 avenue de la Paix
CH-1211 Geneva 10

Fax: (+41) 22 917 90 06
E-mail: or

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