Gender minorities in the work of the Ombudsman for Equality

The Ombudsman for Equality has been working to improve the status of gender minorities in Finland. The status of gender minorities has also been discussed in the international cooperation which the Ombudsman for Equality has participated in.

Human rights and fundamental rights are emphasised strongly in the work of the Ombudsman for Equality. The Ombudsman has been active in calling for statutory-level regulations to protect gender minorities against discrimination and promote their equality. The changes to the Act, which took effect on 1 January 2015, included a specific prohibition of discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression, as well as the obligation to prevent discrimination.

In their work the Ombudsman for Equality has tried to reduce the invisibility and discrimination that gender minorities are still subjected to. The Ombudsman for Equality has e.g. guided people suspecting discrimination, requested reports, given statements on the status of gender minorities and negotiated with authorities and other parties.

In 2012 the Ombudsman for Equality published a report on the status of gender minorities. Apart from the general lack of awareness and factual information, many other problems also came to light: discrimination, injustices in the Trans Act (the Act on Legal Recognition of the Gender of Transsexuals) such as the sterility requirement, population register and name matters, health insurance compensation practices, outdated disease classifications, and care practices for intersex children. The Ombudsman for Equality has worked to change discriminatory practices.

In 2012, Seta ry presented Ombudsman for Equality Pirkko Mäkinen with the Asiallisen tiedon omena ("the Apple of Objective Information") award. The award was given to the Ombudsman for Equality for pioneering work done by an authority for the rights of transgender and intersex people.

Cooperation with organisations promoting the rights of gender minorities is important for the Ombudsman for Equality, so that the Ombudsman can obtain information about their status. The Ombudsman for Equality works with Trasek ry, DreamWearClub ry, Seta and Intersukupuolisten ihmisoikeudet ISIO ry, in particular.