From anti-gender right-wing activists' attacks to public officials proposing and passing laws that institutionally violate the rights of the LGBTQI communities, anti-trans sentiment has been on the rise all over the world, in plain sight. The victimization of the transgender community, which originates from conservative and religious ideology, seeks to deny the community's basic human rights by presenting them as threats to society. The ultimate goal is to roll back achievements for gender equality and for protection of women altogether.
In Israel, the rights of the transgender community are constantly violated, more than any other community; 60% of trans women and 55% of trans men refrain from seeking medical attention for fear of negative treatment. Not to mention that widespread transphobic attitudes prevent trans people from completing their education, finding affordable and non-discriminatory housing options, securing permanent employment, and, thus, extricating themselves from structural poverty.
In this context, I am proud to share with you news on a groundbreaking project ACRI launched this year, with the support of the EU, to take trans rights in Israel to the next level.
For decades, organizations like ACRI, Ma’avarim-Sustainable Change for the Trans Community, the Gila Project for Trans Empowerment (Transgender People for Social Justice), and other community activists and groups have been working with the LGBTQI community to change public perception and represent the community’s issues in courts. In 2020, the court rejected a lawsuit that opposed having unisex restrooms in the renowned Aroma coffeeshop in Israel. This ruling indicated the court's consistency with its past approval of an amici curiae submitted by ACRI, Ma'avarim, and the Gila project in 2017 demanding to assist customers from the trans community who are interested in unisex bathrooms.
ACRI's new project promotes the rights of transgender people in Israel by creating sustainable institutional change hand in hand with trans-led organizations in order to cultivate the gender revolution this community deserves. Together with trans-led organizations, Ma’avarim, the Gila Project, and the "Clinic for the Realization of Human Rights in Civil Procedures" at the University of Haifa, and funded by the European Union, we have launched a project focusing on grassroots policy advocacy to protect the rights of transgender people. We believe that it is crucial to give a voice and political representation to the trans community in order to be fully equipped with the tools they need to fight social, economic, and health inequalities.
The uniqueness of the new project is the joint work with the transgender community. For the first time in Israel, the goal is to put together a professional team to work on changing policies for, and from, the transgender community.
Human rights are for everyone. Together, we will make sure of it.
Association for Civil Rights in Israel