Monday, August 8, 2022
Transcending the Gender Binary under International Law: Advancing Health-Related Human Rights for Trans* Populations
Aoife O’Connor (Johns Hopkins University), Maximillian Seunik (Independent), Blas Radi (IIF SADAF – CONICET), Liberty Matthyse (Gender Dynamix), Lance Gable (Wayne State University), Hanna Huffstetler (University of North Carolina), Benjamin Mason Meier (University of North Carolina), Transcending the Gender Binary under International Law: Advancing Health-Related Human Rights for Trans* Populations, J. L., Med. & Ethics (Forthcoming):
Despite a recent wave in global recognition of the rights of transgender and gender-diverse populations, referred to in this text by the umbrella label of trans*, international law continues to presume a cisgender binary definition of gender – dismissing the lived realities of trans* individuals throughout the world. This gap in international legal recognition and protection has fundamental implications for health, where trans* persons have been and continue to be subjected to widespread discrimination in health care, longstanding neglect of health needs, and significant violations of bodily autonomy. Yet current legal frameworks constrain the advancement of health-related rights for trans* individuals, and action is required from the global community to reconceptualize international human rights law in a way that recognizes an expansive notion of gender beyond the cisgender male/female binary. This article examines the evolution of gender rights discourse under international law, analyzing the advancement of health-related human rights for trans* populations through the human right to health and cross-cutting principles of a rights-based approach to health. Drawing from recent advancements in the United Nations human rights system, this article concludes that unencumbered legal recognition of gender identity and expression under international human rights law should be central to advancing global health.