EPATH Conference prepares for disruptions from transgender activists, issues code of conduct
April 7, 2017
The Second Biennial conference of the European Professional Association for Transgender Health (EPATH) has issued a last minute “code of conduct” as it prepares to deal with stalking, harassment, threats, and abuse of presenters from attendees following the activist hijacking of the USPATH conference earlier this year. The EPATH and USPATH conferences are regional events sponsored by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), a medical lobbying group comprised of individuals who make a living off the medicalization of sex-roles among individuals that identify as transgender.
The Code of Conduct issued for the April 6- 8th EPATH conference, being held in popular medical tourism hotbed of Belgrade, Serbia, reads as follows:
CODE OF CONDUCT
This year, in line with good governance arrangements, all attendees, speakers, sponsors and volunteers at the 2nd biennial EPATH conference are required to agree with the following code of conduct. We expect cooperation from all participants to help ensure a safe environment for everybody.
The 2nd biennial EPATH conference takes place in a friendly environment where everyone should feel welcome, safe and comfortable to share ideas and engage in open discussion without threat of intimidation or public humiliation.
We expect all conference participants to be respectful in person and online towards other delegates, speakers, organisers, staff and volunteers.
We expect all conference participants to behave and to use language that is respectful, non-pathologising and consistent with human rights standards, taking into account its shifting and complex contextual and cultural character. Ultimately this caution applies equally to transgender health and all other formal and informal settings in which human interaction takes place. Please refer to our Language Policy.
We are committed to providing a harassment-free conference and training experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion. Harassment of participants, speakers, staff or volunteers in any form will not be tolerated.
Harassment includes offensive verbal comments, and other forms of using disrespectful and pathologising language inconsistent with human rights standards, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing, photography or recording without explicit consent, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention. Conference participants asked to stop any harassing behaviour are expected to comply immediately.
These policies apply in every space at the venue related to conference, and to all participants in every role.
If a participant engages in harassing behaviour, EPATH may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender or expulsion from the conference with no refund.
If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a member of conference staff immediately. Timo Nieder of the EPATH board and Guy Bronselaer, onsite manager, are available as a first point of contact: +32 486 688 579. Conference staff can be identified, as they’ll be wearing branded clothing and/or badges.
We will be happy to assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the event, for example by providing escorts. Contacting police should be the last resource if this is required.
We expect conference participants to follow these rules at all event venues and related social events.
We trust that this code of conduct mirrors the views of the vast majority of our participants.
TPATH (Transgender Professional Organization for Transgender Health), an organization comprised of transgender medical activist members of WPATH, has issued an “expression of concern” about the code of conduct. They communicated their “alarm” that the code “might be used to curb the freedom of all participants to communicate the harm caused by certain presenters and methodologies. such as by filming for documentation or acts of protest like speeches and silent picketing. These methods, steeped as they are in the tradition of WPATH and history, may indeed be “disruptive”, but any “public humiliation” experienced by the recipients might better be attributed to their own failure to respond to more ‘reasonable’ dialogue over the years and decades that preceded these actions.”
Read TPATH’s full complaint below the fold:
EPATH Code of Conduct
by Noah | Apr 6, 2017 | EPATH, TPATH | 0 comments
To: World Professional Association for Professional Health (WPATH)
European Professional Association for Transgender Health (EPATH)
From: Transgender Professional Association for Transgender Health (TPATH)
We are writing you to express our concern about the Code of Conduct recently published to EPATH’s website. We are concerned not just with the late date at which this Code was published (Mar 22, 2017, just 16 days before the conference), or that its distribution was not widely shared beyond this site, but primarily that the content of this Code contains a number of concerning statements.
For example, we welcome the inclusion of policies that might curb the tendency of cisgender professionals to take non-consensual pictures of transgender participants (“photography or recording without explicit consent”), something that has happened all too often at past conferences; however, we are alarmed that this same set of policies might be used to curb the freedom of all participants to communicate the harm caused by certain presenters and methodologies. such as by filming for documentation or acts of protest like speeches and silent picketing. These methods, steeped as they are in the tradition of WPATH and history, may indeed be “disruptive”, but any “public humiliation” experienced by the recipients might better be attributed to their own failure to respond to more ‘reasonable’ dialogue over the years and decades that preceded these actions.
Furthermore, we find the addition of a provision for “contacting [the] police” in the event of disruption or other incidents of that nature unacceptable in any situation, but particularly in Serbia, where protections for LGB and transgender people are still developing and human rights violations by police against both transgender and non-transgender citizens are well-documented. Ultimately it appears that EPATH and WPATH are threatening to retaliate against civil disobedience and/or protest by invoking the disproportionate violence of the state.
Additionally, we are concerned by early reports that the Code of Conduct is being unevenly applied against trans participants, with cisgender professionals left to ignore it. In particular, we are alarmed by reports that the language guidelines directing presenters to use gender affirming guidelines are being flagrantly violated, as are directions to obtain permission from subjects before presenting their pictures.
We agree that a Code of Conduct for these events is advisable; however, any such Code must be created in collaboration with all affected parties. We therefore recommend both rescinding the current Code, pending the creation of a process for designing a one that is respectful and robust, and viewing any potential occurrences at EPATH Belgrade in light of the harm that may be caused by repressing them.
Going forward, TPATH would be more than happy to participate in the development and consultation processes.
The Transgender Professional Association for Transgender Health Leadership Team;
Noah Adams, MSW, Toronto, Canada
Tani Anakak, Southern Africa
Lukas Berredo, MA, Berlin, Germany
Dani Castro, MA, MFT, Oakland, California
Rense Havinga, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Ruth Pearce, PhD, Leamington UK
Cianán B. Russell, PhD, Bangkok, Thailand
Vreer Verkerke, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Reubs Walsh, MSC, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands