|SC||Variations of sex characteristics|
|GR1||Legal gender recognition without self-determination|
|GR2||Legal gender recognition with self-determination (over 16)|
|GR3||Legal gender recognition with self-determination (under 16)|
|FPN||LGBTI focal points network|
|CA||Ministerial call to action|
The General Statutory Order on preventing and combatting discrimination (2000) (“OUG 137/2000”) prohibits discrimination on grounds of sex or sexual orientation and, according to Article 3, paragraph d), it is applicable, inter alia, to all public and private natural persons or legal entities, as well as to public institutions, with competencies in the education system. This law does not explicitly establish gender identity and expression or variations in sex characteristics as protected grounds. However, article 2 states that the term “discrimination” shall encompass any difference, exclusion, restriction or preference based, among others, on appurtenance to a “disfavoured category”, defined as “the category of persons that is either placed in a position of inequality as opposed to the majority of citizens due to their social origin or to a handicap or is faced with rejection and marginalisation due to specific circumstances”. Therefore, students arguing they have been discriminated against on the basis of their gender identity or being intersex would need to agree that gender identity, for instance, is a “specific circumstance” leading to “rejection and marginalisation” within the meaning of OUG 137/2000.
Generally speaking, provisions in school regulations that prohibit discrimination usually refer to the OUG 137/2000 and omit to leave the list open for any other criteria. Even if one may argue that gender identity and expression or variations in sex characteristics are criteria to be protected from discrimination in front of the national equality body, it is more difficult to state that in front of school regulators.
Currently, there are no policies or action plans to tackle homophobic, biphobic, transphobic or interphobic bullying. In the 2016 Country Report on Non-Discrimination relating to Romania, the European Commission reports that the LGBTI minority remains the minority group most under attack in the country despite being expressly protected by OUG 137/2000, with legislative proposals aiming to restrict their rights. Notably, on 28 February 2017, a bill aiming to repeal OUG 137/2000 was tacitly adopted by the Romanian Chamber of Deputies. However, on 14 March 2017, the proposal was rejected by a strong majority of votes in the Senate, in line with the opinion of the National Council for Combatting Discrimination (“CNCD”).
In addition, the European Commission reports that acts of aggression against the LGBTI community occur every year during NGO events, these attacks remain uninvestigated and attract no sanctions, leading the European Court of Human Rights to state that there is “resultant indifference (which) would be tantamount to official acquiescence to, or even connivance with, hate crimes”.
The main framework used to support efforts related to awareness raising of sexual orientation and gender identity was that of the National Anti-Discrimination Strategy. However, Romania failed to adopt a new strategy after the expiration of the previous one, which occurred in 2014. A first draft of a new strategy was published for consultation in April 2017. It is a multi-annual policy document to be adopted by the government, following consultations between the National Council for Combatting Discrimination and civil society, including organisations of the Romanian Anti-Discrimination Coalition. However, to date, the new strategy and its annual action plan are not yet in force, and education programmes linked to anti-discrimination are therefore not implemented or monitored in schools. There may be a few exceptions, but the protection and security of certain groups, such as LGBTQI youth, remains problematic.
Romania has no comprehensive sex education course and information on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and variations in sex characteristics is rarely addressed within the school curriculum. Sexual orientation and gender identity might be touched upon in education for heath, but this is an optional subject that contains a very limited number of hours dedicated to sex education. Actually, less than 6% of Romanian learners take this optional subject and LGBTQI topics are not always included.
There is currently no mandatory teacher training on LGBTQI awareness. Occasionally, some faculties offer workshops with sensitivity to LGBT content, but it is normally through the initiative of civil society organisations.
The Romanian Civil Code (2009) makes changing both first name and gender marker possible, but there is no specific trans legislation and the conditions are unclear. According to the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, “the regulations implementing the law do not contain any express reference to this situation and do not clarify the procedures”.
Accordingly, the 2016 Human Rights Report for Romania states that the law governing the ability of transgender persons to change their identity is vague and incomplete, resulting in inconsistency in judicial practice concerning legal recognition of gender identity. In some cases, authorities denied recognition of a change in identity unless a sex-reassignment intervention had occurred. Because of the difficult legal procedure for gender recognition, it is often impossible for transgender persons to get documents reflecting their gender identity, which leads to difficulties in obtaining all services requiring identity documents (e.g., health care, transportation passes, and banking services). In addition, there are reports of transgender people facing particular difficulties in accessing health care because doctors had very limited knowledge about transgender issues and, consequently, did not know how to treat transgender patients. There are almost no doctors who had the knowledge or willingness to undertake gender reassignment surgery. Access to adequate psychiatric services is also limited because there are few specialists with the knowledge and expertise to deal with transgender issues, while others refused to accept transgender patients.
The Romanian law on civil status refers only to sex, and not gender. Gender is not a differentiated concept for civil status documents, so the lawmaker uses male or female to refer to the sex of citizens. Specifically, the relevant article of the Civil Code in this regard states that “the amendment of a reference to sex on civil status documents can be made through the decision of a court of law”. As a result, trans people must sue the municipal council of their place of domicile in Romania and need to prove in a contentious procedure that they are of the opposite gender to that which is written in their paperwork. During the trial, judges may require the individual to submit to an invasive control performed by the medical legal institute in Romania, the body of medical experts who usually check victims of violence and provide a certifying medical document. Often this procedure is humiliating and does not guarantee a favourable court decision, as many judges rule based on their prejudice.
In schools, learners have no way of asking teachers to use another name or gender on school documents. However, there are a small number of educators who use the name and pronouns requested by their students.
The government does not systematically collect data on homophobic, biphobic, transphobic or interphobic bullying. The civil society organisation, ACCEPT Romania, however, collected information during 2015-2016 to assess students’ attitudes towards LGBT people in high school. The research was based on the results collected from 613 respondents in 10 high schools across Romania, as well as 38 surveyed high school teachers and 38 youth workers. In addition, an online survey, targeted towards LGBT students in high schools was developed, and 154 valid responses were submitted from self-identifying LGBT students aged 13-19. A safe high school for all: perception and attitudes regarding LGBT individuals in education shows that, out of the biggest sample (non-LGBT students), 40% of high school students would be bothered if a teacher were gay and 35% if they were lesbian. Likewise, 61.5% of the respondents would do anything to overcome an attraction towards someone of the same sex. Out of the small sample (LGBT students), seven out of ten respondents think they are not safe at school and the vast majority of them (96%) thinks the term gay or lesbianis used as an insult in Romania.
The government does not provide adequate support systems for people who have experienced homophobic, biphobic, transphobic or interphobic bullying. ACCEPT Romania provides support for LGBTQI learners and gives advice in cases of discrimination, despite receiving no public funding.
According to the latest ILGA-Europe report, ACCEPT launched the first educational online platform with information on discrimination, sexual orientation and gender identity for learners and teachers. “The website contains information on the history of the LGBTI community, advice on how to deal with bullying or harassment and the course[s] are available to be used by students, teachers, youth workers and the general public”.
The government provides no support to LGBTQI civil society organisations working in the area of education.
– Romania has signed the Call for Action by Ministers – Inclusive and equitable education for all learners in an environment free from discrimination and violence.
– Romania is not a member of the European Governmental LGBTI Focal Points Network.