GATE Message on the International Day of Action for Women’s Health

On the International Day of Action for Women’s Health GATE joins the international community in the struggle to affirm women’s right to health.

In his last report, the former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture called for human rights violations to be addressed through a gendered and intersectional lens. We share that call today by affirming the need of extending it to all women -including trans and gender diverse, and intersex women.

Trans and gender diverse women’s health needs and rights are frequently ignored or denied. This situation affects with particular virulence: trans women of color , those who are migrants, who are incarcerated, who are sex workers, those living in poverty and those living with HIV. Transphobic violence affects not only the physical and mental health of those lucky enough to survive it; it also has pervasive negative effects on the health and wellbeing of entire communities. Trans and gender diverse girls and teenagers may also be subjected to family and institutional violence from early in life, posing a major threat to their health.

Intersex women are often rendered invisible as a population, yet an overwhelming number of intersex women have been subjected without their consent to medically unnecessary procedures to “normalize” their appearance -including clitoridectomies, vaginoplasties and other genitoplasties, and gonadectomies-. Those procedures have lifelong consequences, including sterility, genital insensitivity, loss of sexual function, chronic pain, massive internal and external scarring, metabolic imbalances, depression and trauma, among others. These procedures are still being performed around the world; with a single exception, in all places where healthcare systems are accessible. In some countries, the use of pre-natal interventions with “normalizing” purposes affects the health of both mothers and daughters.

We are particularly concerned by the persistence of human rights violations perpetrated in medical settings. Trans and gender diverse women, and intersex women, are frequently exposed to such human rights violations, aggravating any health conditions they may have, and making consequential access to healthcare challenging or impossible.

On this May 28, GATE calls for the depathologization of trans and gender diverse, and intersex people; for the decriminalization of trans and gender diverse people. We call for gender identity, gender expression and bodily diversity to be fully included in all programs focused on women’s health; for the full investigation and prosecution of human rights violations perpetrated in medical settings, and for action to ensure that victims have full access to adequate reparations.

In solidarity

The GATE Team