The man set to become the next president of the European Commission has been condemned for joking that he is “politically transsexual”.
According to ZEIT, former Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker told an audience earlier this week he has not decided what kind of president he would be, asking them to excuse his “political transsexuality”.
In a statement, Transgender Europe (TGEU) called on Juncker to apologise for the jibe.
They said: “It is shocking that a high-level politician like Juncker is perpetuating stereotypes and misunderstandings against transgender persons.
“Trans people are often faced with the external assumption that they are confused or not able to make up their mind. The contrary is the case. To come out and be true to your inner self needs an extra-ordinary strength in a society hostile to transgressing gender norms.
“It is sad that Juncker is using trans people as a cheap punch line, revealing a complete lack of understanding for the issues at stake.
“Should Claude Juncker become head of the EU Commission, it will be among his duties to observe and support the efforts undertaken by the European Commission to combat this kind of stereotypes.
“The Commission’s Discrimination Eurobarometer 2012 revealed that the overwhelming majority of EU citizens do not know a trans person and are ignorant about transgender discrimination.
TGEU Executive Director Julia Ehrt said: “[These kinds] of ‘mild mannered jokes’ are actually hurting feelings and create an atmosphere in which insulting a trans person is okay.
“Trans people and their families have to fight against a jungle of ridicule and disrespect on a daily level.
“We strongly encourage Mr Juncker to challenge his own stereotypes on the issue and TGEU will be more than happy to provide guidance on how stereotypes can be effectively combated.”