Monday, 20 December 2010

Di-ve: Gender Identity Act proposed


The Malta Gay Rights Movement has drawn up a proposed Gender Identity Act to facilitate the change in legal sex for transpersons and tackle the limitations of the current legislation, which is to be tabled in Parliament by Labour MP Evarist Bartolo.

The proposed act was drawn up by Neil Falzon and was made possible through funding received from the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

At the launch of the proposal, MGRM coordinator Gabi Calleja drew attention to the discrimination and violence often experienced by transpersons due to the difficulties they face in accessing the treatment that they need and in changing their legal sex. She appealed to all politicians to seriously discuss and take into consideration the proposed Act so that needless suffering and violence may be avoided.

Lawyer Neil Falzon explained that the proposed Gender Identity Act emphasises fundamental human rights without these impinging on the rights of others. The proposal changes the judicial process to an administrative one that is open to all transgender persons. It removes the requisite that a person be unmarried, as well as the requisite that a person have undergone reassignment surgery.

To safeguard more effectively the privacy regarding the gender history of the person, the proposal looks to set up a Transgender Persons Register, that would be a secret register that functions in the same way as the adopted persons register, which is also a secret register. The idea behind this proposal is to avoid creating unnecessary legal and administrative burdens, and so incorporates a system already existent in Maltese legislation.

At the launch, Mr Bartolo expressed his support and that of the leader of the Labour Party, Joseph Muscat, for the proposed act based on real life experiences of transpersons he has encountered over the year. He announced his intention to table the Bill in Parliament. He emphasised the importance that both sides of the house come together to seriously discuss the proposed legislation that could make a significant impact on the lives of one of the most vulnerable groups in Maltese society.

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