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    New campaign against transphobia asks “M, F, X? So what?”

    Belgium on Thursday launched a campaign aimed at fighting the prejudice and discrimination transgender people still face despite legislative advances in this regard. The “H, F, X? Et alors?” campaign, whose name which could be translated into English as “M, F, X? So what?”, was launched by the Minister in charge of Equal Opportunities, Kris Peeters. It includes short video clips featuring the daily lives of transgender persons, under the theme of “Teasing? Subway, work, sleep: their lives are the same as other people’s” .

    Starting on Thursday, the clips will be sent out on social networks and other media. They also include links to an Internet site that provides further information on transgender persons and tips for victims of transphobia on where to seek assistance.

    A survey by the Institute for the Equality of Women and Men, conducted 10 years after a similar study, shows that being a transgender person today is totally different from in the past. In 2007, only 50% of such persons lived according to the gender identity they felt, as against 70% today. People are also coming out earlier, at about 17 years old. Previously, they generally made their identity public at about 30.

    The amendment of the Law on Transsexuality, which took effect on 1 January 2018, also gave a major boost to name and sex changes at the Civil Registry. Between 1993 and 2017, a total of 1,054 people made such changes, whereas from January to September 2018 alone, close to 600 did so.

    This is proof, if any was needed, “that this law responded to a real need”, said Liesbet Stevens, deputy director of the Institute for the Equality of Women and Men, which is collaborating with the campaign.

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times