Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Independent: MGRM hands proposed Gender Identity Bill to MPs

Representatives of the Malta Gay Rights Movement on Monday were present outside parliament to distribute copies of a Gender Identity Bill for Malta to Members of Parliament as they arrived for the evening's parliamentary session. Copies of the Bill were handed to around 20 MPs including several members of the Cabinet. The Bill, which was tabled in parliament by Labour MP Evarist Bartolo on 10 December as a private member's Bill, seeks to address shortcomings in the existing legislation with regard to the rights of transgender persons that better protects their rights and dignity.

The Bill is based on the principle that the right to self-determination includes the right of a person to determine his or her own gender identity. This right should not be usurped by third parties such as doctors, judges, psychologists, politicians or government officials.

The judicial process places significant financial burdens on trans persons who are also required to cover the costs incurred by the Director of Public Registry. The process also generally involves the appointment of a court expert to conduct invasive medical examinations to ascertain that irreversible gender reassignment surgery has been undertaken.

The proposed Gender Identity Act seeks to overcome these barriers by changing the judicial process to a purely administrative one and by removing the requisite for gender reassignment surgery. The proposal suggests the setting up of a secret Register for Transgender Persons modelled on the Register for Adopted Persons, a system already available under Maltese law.

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