WAS Position Statements

WAS supports this statement from our secretary Transgender Day of Rememberance


Today is the transgender day of remembrance. Those of us who belong to this group of indigenous people know that we have been and still are, discriminated and pathologized in many societies, and that this has been apt to take the dignity away from many of us.

The same forces of discrimination and pathologization have induced shame, depression and suicide among us. Likewise these attitudes have in outermost consequence justified hate-crimes against us.

Far too many transtalented and transgifted individuals have died from own or others’ hands because of this.

We shall always and especially today remember all those who have left us on grounds that do not reflect true humanity, but intentional or non-intentional evil.

We shall also remember all those whose life has been reduced in quality, whose talents were not cultivated, whose education was haltered, whose love life was dismissed, whose families rejected them, whose happiness was out of reach.

We shall encourage those who stand against us, to learn to know us and value our gendered talents that, when welcomed both by us who have them and by those around us, evolve into gifts for all.


Prof. Esben Esther Pirelli Benestad

WAS secretary of TGD affairs

August 10, 2021

WAS Statement concerning actions to support
gender diversity worldwide

The World Association of Sexual Health (WAS), formerly World Association for Sexology, recognizes that sexology is a developing field where theories and ideas are constantly evolving and changing while being subjected to scientific scrutiny. Moreover, WAS, has since its foundation, endeavoured to work within a human rights framework moving along with the times, seeking always to build respect towards different human communities such
as women, gay and lesbian individuals, members of the trans and gender diverse communities (TGD), and intersex individuals among other stigmatized and discriminated communities.

WAS has, along these lines, proclaimed its Declaration of Sexual Rights which: “STATES that equality and non-discrimination are foundational to all human rights protection and promotion and include the prohibition of any distinction, exclusion or restriction on the basis of race, ethnicity, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, including disability, age, nationality, marital and family status, sexual orientation and gender identity, health status,
place of residence, economic and social situation.
RECOGNIZES that persons’ sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions and bodily diversities require human rights protection”.

WAS’s member organizations have, over the years, worked consistently in producing evidence against the pathologization of TGD persons, as well as collaborating with other organizations on this task.

WAS, however, acknowledges:
• that it has not engaged sufficiently with TGD communities
• It has Invited speakers to its Congresses, whose theories about gender
development have been perceived as pathologizing, without sufficiently paying attention to narratives and theories shared by affected communities.
• Ignored some insights about the consequences of pathologizing practices for health and well-being of TGD persons.

In response to demands from both individuals, groups and organisations representing the TGD communities, WAS, intending to increase its knowledge of advances recently made in furthering the self-determination, dignity, and integrity of TGD people, called for a consultation.
Through this consultation:
• WAS recognizes the dignity and integrity of those of us who identify as TGD persons and the need to work with them, include their voices and recommendations to strengthen WAS as an inclusive organization where all people can feel recognized, respected, and included, along with their families, friends, and allies,
• Expresses its regret for having given access in some of its Congresses, to presenters whose opinions may be openly in conflict with the latest WPATH Standards of Care for TGD people. This may have contributed to strengthen the stigma, discrimination, and trauma that TGD persons have been and are subjected to,
• Realises that TGD people are still under attack and their lives remain at stake because of ideologies that exist within cultural, political, religious, and scientific contexts, which reinforce the pathologization and fetishization of TGD people in the medical and other professional fields.
• Recognises that contributions offered by the field of sexology carry potential to alleviate or perpetuate the marginalization of TGD communities. In the latter case, this may negatively affect efforts directed towards the protection and inclusion of TGD people, for instance, within state laws and affect efforts towards decriminalisation; non-discrimination; legal gender recognition; and equitable access to resources and opportunities as well as access to adequate gender affirming health care.

Therefore, WAS commits to:

A. Contextualise and address the need for research; resource; material and guidelines development; and stakeholder education on gender affirming care.
B. Consult with TGD representatives in its Scientific Committees on invitations, choice of presenter, and titles of invited lectures regarding TGD communities. Related to this, WAS has already changed the name of the Sexual and Gender Health Lecture.
C. Include, at least one individual from the TGD communities to assist in the review papers/abstracts relevant to issues and topics that may concern the community. WAS Scientific committees, will apply in Congresses and meetings, its standards of acceptance, including reconsideration of work which entails violation of human rights, unethical research, or lack of scientific rigor.

D. Promote improved community representation by strengthening policies and practices which can result in TGD persons being added to and enabled to optimally participate in the governance of WAS.
E. Acknowledge that there are organisations whose attitudes and policies represent a serious setback in access to health care for TGD persons. WAS therefore pledges to consult with organisations and networks of TGD individuals affiliated to WAS to provide scientific information that affirmingly connects with diverse experiences and constructive feedback that contributes towards transformative gender and human rights initiatives.
F. Endeavour to take an active stand in supporting events that recognize and affirm gender diversity beyond the cisgender gender binary system within regions where WAS, through its member-organizations, is present.
G. Commit to taking more active stances by issuing relevant statements on
discrimination, fetishization, pathologization, and unscientific ideologies concerning issues regarding gender diversities. These will be developed by the WAS Scientific, Sexual Rights, and Media Committees and other relevant Committees and task forces.


A. WAS will strive to support information and projects which inform critical knowledge systems and outputs, and which can potentially lead towards the desired inclusion and access to sexual health and the rights therein. As well as to disseminate information that supports initiatives directed to decriminalization efforts, access to health care, and the legal recognition of TGD persons in member countries affiliated to WAS.
B. WAS recognizes the importance of not misgendering and demeaning TGD persons regardless of what is indicated on an identity document and to this extent commits to continue aligning its organizational processes to recognize TGD persons using peoples’ preferred names and pronouns. This will be reflected on (online) registration forms, attendance registers, nametags, and other administrative forms for all its organizational processes including conferences and meetings. WAS will consult with local organizations and activists about the best practices to create and enabling environment by being conscious and sensitive about the way it actively
creates or maintains gender segregated spaces, including the use of toilet facilities at WAS organized meetings.
C. WAS is a global entity, that can influence, but not control and hence not ensure the safety and security of trans and gender diverse persons during their official travels to and from venues, especially in geo-politico-legal contexts that criminalize or do not legally recognize trans and gender diverse identities. However, WAS commits to prepare documentation in cooperation with the individuals in question, apt to assist safe travel.
D. WAS condemns any kind of conversion or reparative therapy.
E. WAS will continue to promote research, education, and training on the specific sexual and reproductive health needs of TGD community members.

Approved by the WAS Advisory Committee on August 10, 2021.


The World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) is proud to acknowledge the recent policy development in the United States, signed as Presidential Executive Orders on March 8th, (International Women’s Day), that established a new White House Gender Policy Council and policies addressing sexual violence in education. As CNN stated, “The White House Gender Policy Council will be specifically tasked with combating systemic bias and discrimination, including sexual harassment…”, reduction in violence, equal rights for women, and health care concerns. At WAS our mission is the promotion of sexual health and sexual rights. This new initiative is in line with our mission and should be a model for future directions for the world.

WAS is an international organization with 63 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.

March 15, 2021

A call to the Russian Federation to protect the rights of trans people and non-heterosexual people

The World Association for Sexual Health (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.

According to the WAS Declaration of Sexual Rights (2014) everyone is entitled to the same rights and protections (Article 1). Legislation must not discriminate against citizens and residents on the basis of “marital and family status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression”, and any promotion of traditional families and values should not violate the rights of others.

The Russian Federation Constitution states that:  “The recognition, observance and protection of the rights and freedoms of persons and citizens shall be the obligation of the State” .Therefore it must safeguard the rights and security of all of its citizens and residents regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. 

Proposed changes to the Family Code of Russian Federation (July 14, 2020) threaten the rights, security and wellbeing of trans people and limits the right to marry for non-heterosexuals.

The proposed amendment would prohibit changing the birth certificate during transgender transition, and all transgender people who already changed their documents would be required to restore old birth certificates, which would make them more vulnerable for discrimination and violence, and block them from marrying. The changes would also explicitly block same-sex marriage.

WAS states that such legislation would be a direct infringement of human rights and sexual rights of trans people and non-heterosexual people. 

The WAS Declaration of Sexual Rights includes the right to marry and form relationships equally for everyone (Article 11). One’s gender assigned by birth, gender identity or sexual orientation should not obstruct the right to marry with the person of their choice in any way in local legislation.     

WAS urges the Russian Federation to stop discrimination of trans people and non-heterosexual people by legislation and other measures by the state. All citizens and residents of Russia must be equally free from discrimination and given equal rights and protections by the law.


August 7, 2020


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

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