Monday, 20 December 2010

Times: Draft Bill proposes legal simplification of sex-change registrations

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20101210/local/draft-bill-proposes-legal-simplification-of-sex-change-registrations

Labour MP Evarist Bartolo is to present a Private Member's Bill that would make it easier for trans-gender people to change the gender annotation on their official documents, without having to undergo a lengthy and intrusive court process.

The draft Bill was prepared by the Malta Gay Rights Movement and announced this morning by its president, Gaby Calleja.

The Gender Identity Act, as the draft bill has been called, aimed to minimise the legal problems which trans-gender people have, Ms Calleja said.

At present, anyone who wishes to change the gender shown on his birth certificate must file an application in court. Such persons must be single.

The draft bill proposes the replacement of the court process by an administrative procedure.

Ms Calleja said that gender re-assessment surgery must not be a pre-requisite for the authorities to accept a request to amend legal documents. It all depended on what a person felt and how he/she acted.

Nor should people applying for such a change need to be single or have to go through a marriage annulment, if they were married. However parental duties would still apply, Ms Calleja said.

Furthermore, once changes were accepted by the authorities, the documentation on the gender-change should feature in a new, secret register, as in the case of adopted children, to respect confidentiality.

Dr Neil Falzon, who helped the movement in the drafting of the Bill, said the new procedure would be faster, less intrusive and less expensive.

He said the current legal regime recognised gender change but in many cases, it was not enough. A recent example was how Joanne Cassar, despite having undergone a legally recognised gender change, still had a legal mountain to climb before finally being granted the right to marry a man.

Mr Bartolo said he would present the Bill as a private member's motion with the backing of Labour leader Joseph Muscat.

Nationalist MP Karl Gouder, who attended the press conference, said he had not read the bill but agreed with the principle behind it.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

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