Kazakhstan must respect the right to health and sexual health for transgender people
The World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) joins TGEU, ILGA-Europe and IGLYO in
calling on the Parliament of Kazakhstan to remove the age limit in the proposed amendment
(539) to the law concerning access to health services. The proposed age limit would deny
trans-specific health care for persons under 21.
The WAS Declaration of Sexual Rights (2014) is based on the principles of equality and non-
discrimination including transgender and gender diverse persons (Preamble and Article 1).
The proposed age limit would violate the spirit and letter of the WAS Declaration of Sexual
Rights as well as other important rights documented in the international human rights law
and the Constitution of Kazakhstan.
The WAS Declaration of Sexual Rights explicitly states that everyone has “the right to the
highest attainable standard of health, including sexual health” (Article 7), which includes
trans-specific healthcare without any arbitrary restrictions of access. Legislation concerning
transgender healthcare should be always based on scientific evidence, human and sexual
rights, and the dignity of the patients.
WAS urges the Parliament of Kazakhstan to respect the human and sexual rights of
transgender persons, especially young transgender and gender diverse persons, and to
repel the proposed amendment (539). Every trans person should have full access to health
services and trans-specific care, which includes, for example, social and therapeutic support
starting from early childhood, treatment of gender dysphoria and all necessary medical
treatments in puberty and adulthood (see WPATH Standards of Care, 2012).
WAS supports the following requests to the Parliament of Kazakhstan by TGEU:
Withdraw age restriction and “behavioural disorder” restriction;
revise the terms used in the draft Code such as the “sex change” and “persons with sexual identity disorder” and replace them with “gender-affirming care” and “persons with gender incongruence” respectively, in line with ICD-11, Kazakhstani legislation, and international standards; and
increase support to the trans community with legal protections in terms of healthcare and legal gender recognition without discrimination.
WAS is an international organization, with more than one hundred member organizations
across the globe, that promotes and advocates for sexual health and sexual rights
throughout the lifespan and across the world by advancing sexuality research,
comprehensive sexuality education, and clinical care and services for everyone.
WAS Message of Solidarity
June 10th 2020
Human rights are fundamental to the WAS Declaration of Sexual Rights (DSR). Social justice is at the core of sexual health and sexual rights. Oppression and systemic racism lead to reproductive and sexual health disparities.
We call for an end to systemic racism, violence, and hatred toward historically discriminated racial and ethnic groups. WAS stands for sexual freedom and sexual well-being for all—including access to reproductive and sexual healthcare, freedom of sexual expression, and freedom from injustice.
Our Declaration of Sexual Rights recognizes and advocates for:
1 The right to equality and non-discrimination
Everyone is entitled to enjoy all sexual rights set forth in this Declaration without distinction of any kind such as race, ethnicity, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, place of residence, property, birth, disability, age, nationality, marital and family status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, health status, economic and social situation and other status.
2 The right to life, liberty, and security of the person
Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security that cannot be arbitrarily threatened, limited, or taken away…
4 The right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment
5 The right to be free from all forms of violence and coercion
We, as the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) stand in solidarity with all our allies, including the North American Federation of Sexological Organizations (NAFSO), one of the regional federations of the WAS international network. WAS supports the statements that have been issued by AASECT, SIECUS, the University of Minnesota Program in Human Sexuality, Planned Parenthood, and other organizations from North America.
WAS is an international organization, with more than one hundred member organizations across the globe, that promotes and advocates for sexual health and sexual rights throughout the lifespan and across the world by advancing sexuality research, comprehensive sexuality education, and clinical care and services for everyone.
Sexual Rights in the context of the global COVID-19 crisis
The COVID-19 pandemic has demanded extraordinary confinement and physical distancing measures that are affecting the lives of millions. In addition to increased stress and tensions, we are witnessing increases in violence, abuse, oppression, and discrimination. Sexual rights and sexual health services are in jeopardy and need to be protected and preserved.
Human rights organizations around the world have cautioned that sexual rights are in particular risk during this pandemic.
Available information shows that domestic and sexual violence increased during the first weeks of social confinement policies. Violence may be connected to stress, substance abuse, relationship conflicts, financial problems and unemployment, and difficulties accessing services and safe accommodation. As schools are closed in many countries, everyday life is disrupted at many levels. Children also suffer from the isolation from education, lack of opportunities to socialize with peers, and a heightened risk of domestic violence and sexual abuse in their families.
In addition, domestic and sexual violence may target girls and women as they may be trapped at home with their abusers. Senior individuals are exposed to risks related to their type of living arrangements. Those living independently may experience isolation and lack of daily care; those living in institutions are at heightened infection risk and finally, those living with their families may not be properly cared for or may even be abused. Their relationships, emotional security and mental health may be severely compromised.
The crisis also severely impacts sexual and gender diverse individuals. LGBT organizations report that violence against minorities has increased in many cases. The situation is especially threatening for diverse gender youth living with abusive parents or caregivers.
Reproductive health services and access to abortion and contraceptives are limited while health and social services are overburdened and resources are directed to manage the pandemic. This situation is blatantly abused and aggravated by groups, organizations, and parties that have attacked access to sexual and reproductive health services in the past.
The World Association for Sexual Health urges all states and nations to ensure that everyone’s human and sexual rights are recognized and respected, and that the rights and access to sexual and reproductive health services are not violated by new policies or measures to manage the pandemic. Human, sexual, and reproductive rights, equality, and a free and just society should not be sacrificed in the process.
The World Association for Sexual health (WAS) is a global organization with more than one hundred member organizations across the globe that promotes and advocates for sexual health and sexual rights throughout the lifespan and across the world by advancing the field of sexology, sexuality research, comprehensive sexuality education, and clinical care and services, all of these informed by evidence and scientific enquiry.
May 18, 2020