Tuesday, 19 February 2008

MGRM presents petition to AD


MGRM presents petition to AD

The Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) launched a petition yesterday requesting that the following issues be adequately addressed by all political parties:

• Formal recognition of the rights of same-sex couples;

• The inclusion of an article in the Criminal Code regarding homophobic and transphobic violence, and a clear strategy addressing homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools;

• Legal protection against discrimination in the delivery of goods and services expressly referring to the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression;

• The formal extension of the remit of the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality to cater for the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression;

• And the inclusion of gender reassignment surgery and hormone therapy for transgender persons as part of the public health services.

MGRM’s petition has been signed by 1,068 people since last October 2007, including Alternattiva Demokratika’s chairman Harry Vassallo, and AD is the first among the various political parties to have accepted the presentation of this petition yesterday at their offices in Sliema.

“As a party our message has been clear and we do not have any difficulty with any of the five requests listed in MGRM’s petition. Even with regards the public health services, we agree that trans-people should have free health treatment to enable their transition, and we doubt that the number of people requesting this service will be so exorbitant as to have an effect on the other free health services given, although we do think other priorities at Mater Dei Hospital need to be taken into consideration,” said Dr Vassallo.

“However, AD has always been clear that the word ‘civil marriage’ should not be used in the case of gays and lesbians,” he said.

Unlike AD, MGRM would like to see the institution of marriage for gays accepted legally since the recognition of marriage would give them true equality, however they are welcoming the acceptance of “civil unions” as this would be a step forward in the right direction said the movement’s coordinator Gabriella Calleja.

MGRM have 300 registered members although they do not feel that this is representative of the number of LGBT’s (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals & Transexuals) in Malta and Gozo since according to international research it was found that between 5-10 per cent of voters in any given population is usually gay which would mean that on average there would be between 15,000 to 30,000 gay members within our voting community, although most of them would not have “come out” due to fear of being discriminated against.

“AD is the only party consistently in favour of our rights, within which a candidate is an openly declared gay. However AN have also agreed to meet us and we are also waiting for a reply from the MLP and PN,” concluded an MGRM spokesperson.

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