Transgender individuals victims of intrusive police interrogations
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    Transgender individuals victims of intrusive police interrogations

    © Belga
    Transgender individuals are suffering illegal treatment by the police, when applying to change gender.
    © Belga

    Arc-en-ciel Wallonia, RainbowHouse Brussels and çavaria, the three LGBTI+ regional umbrella organisations, and the multi-gender association, Genres Plusieurs, are criticising the non-compliance by the police of the law facilitating the administrative procedure for a sex change. Several transgender individuals have been subject to intimate and intrusive questioning by the police, following their initial statement wishing modify their “gender records.”

    Such meetings are thought to have taken place in Wallonia, notably within the judicial districts of Liège, Le Hainaut and Luxembourg.

    Tom Devroye, the Coordinator of Arc-en-ciel Wallonia, indicated that during these interrogations, questions of an intimate and medical nature were asked, such as “Have you been this way for a long time?”, “Are you following a course of hormone treatment?”, and “Do your family know?”.

    It emerges from accounts gathered that people’s private lives were also targeted. Devroye stated, “These individuals were asked whether they were attached, if they slept in the same bed as their partner and other similar questions. Such lines of questioning covered all such issues but did not focus upon the actual police record required. The questioning in such form goes against respect for individuals’ private lives.”

    The associations mention that under the law, which came into force on January 1st, 2018, public prosecutors have three months to produce a positive or negative opinion, following the given request to change gender. They further state, “The public prosecutors must simply ascertain that the given change of gender is not contrary to ‘public order’.

    They have no other responsibilities to determine through the police interrogations, such as whether a transgender individual ‘genuinely’ identifies with a different gender to that assigned to them at birth, and whether this individual is or is not being monitored by the medical profession.”

    The communiqué criticises, “Once again, despite legal progress in this domain, transgender individuals are condemned, their identity and their life histories questioned and subjectively assessed by a self-proclaiming authority.”

    However the associations are fairly optimistic about “moving forward” in this arena. Following the request for dialogue, the Liège Public Prosecutor has, for example, already committed to ensuring that transgender individuals will no longer be systematically convened after their initial request. Moreover, the College of Public Prosecutors will tackle the subject on Friday.

    Lars Andersen
    The Brussels Times