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Gender Bill of Rights

This historical document was written by JoAnn Roberts, PhD in 1990 and is reprinted with her permission.  The document was offerred to the community at large in 1990 and was the basis for the International Bill of Gender Rights, which was developed and maintained by the International Conference on  Transgender Law  and Employment Policy. 

It is time for the transgendered community to take a stand, a strong stand, against all gender-based discrimination simply because some people are different and simply because some people do not fit into current social norms of gender roles. It is time the gender-based community articulate this stand in words that clearly define exactly what our gender rights are. It is time to stand alongside other minority rights movements to declare these gender rights as follows:

 

The Right To Assume A Gender Role
Every human being has within themselves an idea of who they are and what they are capable of achieving. That identity and capability shall not be limited by a person's physical or genetic sex, nor by what any society may deem as "masculine" or "feminine" behavior. It is fundamental, then, that each individual has the right to assume gender roles congruent with one's self-perceived identity and capabilities, regardless of physical sex, genetic sex, or sex role.

 

Therefore, no person shall be denied their Human and/or Civil Rights on the basis that their gender role or perceived gender role is not congruent with their genetic sex, physical sex, or sex role.

 

The Right To Freely Express Gender Roles
Given that each individual has the right to assume gender roles, it then follows that each individual has the right to freely express gender roles in any manner that does not infringe on the freedom of another individual.

 

Therefore, no person shall be denied their Human and/or Civil Rights on the basis that a private or public expression of a gender role or perceived gender role is not congruent with their physical sex, genetic sex, or sex role.

 

The Right To Make One's Body Congruent With Gender Role
Given that each individual has the right to assume gender roles, it then follows that each individual has the right to change their body or alter its physiology so it better fits a gender role. These changes may be cosmetically, chemically or surgically induced, provided these changes are supervised by an appropriate licensed professional and the individual accepts sole responsibility for their actions in this regard.

Therefore, no person shall be denied their Human and/or Civil Rights on the basis that they changed or wish to change their body, cosmetically, chemically, surgically or any combination of these, to better fit a gender role.

 

The Right To Sexual Expression Congruent With Gender Role
Given that each individual has the right to assume gender roles, it then follows that each individual has the right to express their sexuality within a gender role.

Therefore, no person shall be denied their Human and/or Civil Rights on the basis of sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation. Further, no individual shall be denied their Human and/or Civil Rights for expressing a gender role through private sexual acts between consenting adults in any manner that does not infringe on the freedom of another individual.

 

Written by Dr. JoAnn Roberts, December 1990.

Reprinted with Joann's permission.