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Transgender women in Europe: where your live matters

Transgender women living in Europe enjoy different levels of tolerance and acceptance. Depending largely upon which country they live in.

Europe ("EU") is an eclectic collection of countries with some similar ideals and cultures. Within the EU there are a wide variety of different views, opinions and ways of treating Trans and other non-binary people. Minority groups of the population such as Transgender women are easy targets to be marginalised.

In short, Europe is not a homogenous grouping of like-minded countries or states. Notwithstanding the European ideal promulgated by the European Parliament. The EU does not have consistent policies on how to deal with or treat Transgender women.

Transgenders from the UK to the Balkan States

As an example, place a ruler at 45 degrees across a map of Europe and run it slowly south east. Start from the UK and move it all the way across to the Balkan States, and an interesting observation can be made. Namely that, generally, tolerance and acceptance of Trans people diminishes as the said ruler moves south east.

This does not mean that UK is the best place for T-girls to live in Europe. It does, mean that it's far better to live there or in north west Europe than, say, Albania. Or, heaven forbid, Turkey or Russia (technically not Europe, I know)!

In Europe there is a wide variety of different views regarding Transsexuals and Transgender women.

Why is there such a variation in attitudes? Well, let's look at some of the reasons for the differences in tolerance, acceptance and treatment of Transgender women across some of the major European countries.

Religion and Transgender rights

Europe is roughly divided into three main religious blocks. And it is religious leaders and their dogma who shape and control the thoughts, beliefs and actions of most of the population in European countries towards gay, lesbian and T-people. First, we have the Protestant/Calvinistic/Lutheran grouping. This group dominates in the UK, Germany, Holland and Scandinavian countries. Then we have the pedantic. Conservative Catholic dominance in Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and Poland. Here religious shaped views on gay and Transgender people have not moved with the times.

Moving our ruler line further south east, we come across the eastern European countries. Most of these countries have either been afflicted by religious Christian orthodoxy. Their populations remain tied to beliefs which don't deviate from ideas drilled into them at an early age over centuries. So, no gays or Trans people welcome here!

I can go on but I'll stop the movement of the ruler here. Unfortunately, the further east we go the worse it gets for non-binary or Trans people.

Machismo culture and T-Girls

As a second point, coupled with the religious instruction in the mainly Catholic countries. We have also have a heavily machismo culture where men have to be men (think Italy). Men who were born in the wrong body and should be able to live as female have to live with the error!

Having said all this, for a Transgender woman, the outlook is getting better in most of Europe. Not all, mind you, but some countries are finally opening up to the acceptance of that gender and sexual preference are not the same. People finally understand that gender is a spectrum. And people cannot be divided into only 100% male and 100% female!

Visibility and awareness of transgender women in Europe

  1. The increased visibility, awareness and understanding of T-girls. This may be as a result of more Transgender women appearing on TV, in dramas, soap operas. Or on reality or chat shows and so on. Then there are also several cases of notable, high profile people coming out as Trans (ie the famous boxing promoter Kellie Maloney (was Frank)). Such people subsequently appear in the media and apparently are accepted for what they are;

  2. Continued acceptance from society in general that being Transgender is not a lifestyle choice. Being T is a treatable medical condition which has to be addressed for the long-term welfare of the person in question.

  3. It is well known that suicide rates amongst Trans people are 5 or 6 times the national average of other suicides in any particular country. Finally, societies are waking up to the needs to address this frightening set of statistics;

  4. Significant progress against discrimination and prejudices against Trans people. To be fair, some of this legislation has been achieved largely thanks to progress by the powerful gay and lesbian lobby to further their own rights. Yet Transgender people indirectly benefit from such changes.

As mentioned earlier, Europe is a diverse collection of countries. And people and things will move at a different pace in different countries. Or not at all in some of the more dogmatic countries.

Having said all this, for a Transgender woman, the outlook is getting better in most of Europe.

Legislation and laws to protect Trans people

Improved legislation and laws to protect Trans people and their human and social rights being implemented across Europe;

More and more long-term overt relationships between men and Transgender women. You only have to look at specialized dating sites such as MyTransgenderCupid to see how many men have enrolled and are looking for a T-girl;

The younger (Millennial) generation, growing up with worldwide social media. And instant this and instant that, are far more tolerant, accepting and understanding of Trans people. Once this generation has children and passed such views on, we may see a significant improvement in the lives of Trans in Europe

For Transgender women in Europe the next 10 years will, likely, be a watershed in acceptance terms. By then the general population might have found another minority to ostracise!

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