Trans* people are marginalized – often in extreme forms – in virtually all societies, in all parts of the world. In the last few years, a new generation of trans* activists have started to build a political movement on the grassroots level. These groups, however are often not linked amongst themselves yet, and most of these activists have little experience or knowledge of activism, let alone the financial resources that are needed to be successful. Funders are only now starting to ‘discover’ trans* issues, and most have no coherent policy yet.
Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) are reviewing the International Code of Diseases (ICD), and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which gives activists the unique opportunity to work for changes of the current (mental health) pathologization of trans* identities. There is also an urgent need for information on trans* issues, especially the legal, medical and social situation for trans* people in all countries of the world.
Many trans* activists feel ‘left out’ by so-called LGBT groups. Having reached a level of dissatisfaction with the representation of trans* people at the international level, trans* activists felt the need to create an independent structure, which focuses on trans* issues.
What is GATE – Global Action for Trans* Equality
GATE is a trans* network coordinator, facilitator and advocate to the ‘outside’ world. GATE works to unite trans* movements for common goals, while developing trans* agendas on a conceptual policy level.
We assist trans* movements and structures at the local, national and regional level, in order to facilitate the development of a new global networks of trans* organizations. Important to the work of GATE is its support of constructive communications between existing groups and new audiences.
We have started a dialogue with the WHO, the UN and other international actors about the urgently needed reform of medical classifications of trans* identities, which is erroneously referred to as a ‘personality disorder’.
- Believes that the respect and celebration of gender diversity is an integral part of a society that is based on the fulfilment of human rights.
- Aims to protect the Human Rights of trans* people worldwide.
- Works for the empowerment and self-determination of all trans* people and aims to increase the visibility and respect of all trans* people.
- Opposes the continued exotisation of trans* people and the persistent pathologisation of gender variance as a mental disorder.
- Works to combat the violence, discrimination and unequal treatment experienced by trans* people.
- Regional and international lobby on trans* issues
- Help build trans* movements and structures in all parts of the world
- Make critical knowledge and resources available to trans* activists
GATE is a group of activists working for trans* equality worldwide. GATE works on the basis of the expertise and knowledge of its associates, while cooperating with existing national, regional and international structures. GATE is more think-tank than membership-driven organization.
Relation to other groups
GATE is born out of the need for lobbying at global level, especially with UN system institutions, mechanisms and agencies. There is a clear need for better networking between different regions to exchange ideas and experiences of trans* groups. GATE thus fills a gap in the existing national and regional structures. Existing international/global LGB organisations often lack specialized knowledge about trans*-specific issues. GATE aims to fill this gap and provide strong advocacy for the rights of trans* people.
GATE works in partnership with Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, which functions as a fiscal sponsor.
Who is GATE?
Mauro Cabral became the co-director of GATE – Global Action for Trans* Equality in January 2010. He has been involved with trans and intersex activism since 1995. From 2005 to 2007 he was in charge of coordinating the Trans and Intersex Area at IGLHRC Latin American Office. The following three years he worked at Mulabi – Latin American Space for Sexualities and Rights, starting as its Watchdogs Officer and occupying the Executive Director position during 2009.
During the last fifteen years most of Mauro Cabral’s work has been focused on lobbying, training and writing. Since 2004 he has regularly participated in political initiatives at the UN and in 2006 he was part of the expert’s group that elaborated the Yogyakarta Principles. In 2009 he compiled the book “Interdicciones. Escrituras de la intersexualidad en castellano”. This year he will finish his dissertation on juridical aspects of transsexuality and intersexuality within Argentinian Law.
Justus Eisfeld is co-director and co-founder of GATE – Global Action for Trans* Equality since January 2010. He was the first co-chairperson of TransGender Europe and initiator of Transgender Netwerk Nederland. As an experienced lobbyist for the Dutch national LGBT organization COC and assistant to member of the European Parliament Emine Bozkurt, he knows trans/LGB politics inside out. Justus Eisfeld is the author of a recent report on Transphobia for the EU Fundamental Rights Agency and is advisor to the Human Rights Watch LGBT Program and the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia Committee (IDAHO). He has been a speaker at many international events, including the first-ever high-level panel discussion on LGBT rights with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Pillay. In a previous life as a lesbian activist since 1994 he was chairperson of IGLYO (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Youth and Student Organisation).
International Advisory Board
Andrés Rivera Duarte (Organizacion de Transexuales por la Dignidad de la Diversidad, Chile)
Julia Ehrt (Transgender Europe, Germany)
Liesl Theron (Gender DynamiX, South Africa)
Nicolas Beger (Amnesty International EU Office, Belgium)
Paisley Currah (City University of New York, USA)
Susan Stryker (Indiana University, USA)
Tamara Adrián (International Lesbian and Gay Law Association, Venezuela)
What do we do
Activities for the first year were:
- Writing, editing, publishing and distributing a critical compilation of trans* issues at the European level.
- Travelling to different regions in order to meet regional activists and build a network of trans* activists.
- Organizing an international trans* conference.
- Advocacy at the global level and starting and maintaining a durable relationship with UN Special Rapporteurs, member states and global NGOs.