Friday, 8 June 2012

Malta Today: Transgender rights, cohabitation bills expected in coming days – MP

Labour MP Evarist Bartolo says justice minister to present two important bills for House agenda within coming days.
Friday 8 June 2012 - 07:30 by Karl Stagno-Navarra

A bill drafted by the Malta Gay Rights Movement to facilitate the legal rights and inclusion of transgender people, is expected to tabled in the House in the coming days.

Labour MP Evarist Bartolo told MaltaToday that justice minister Chris Said had informed him both the transgender bill, which he presented to the House, and the cohabitation bill are to be put on the agenda of the House in the coming days.

"It's brought me great joy learning that the transgender rights bill will be finally on the agenda, having piloted this bill," Bartolo said.

One of the biggest problems facing transgender individuals is seeking a change of their sex in birth certificates after having undergone gender reassignment surgery.

Aditus chairperson Neil Falzon, who drafted the bill for the MGRM, had said transgender individuals face an "unwarranted and unnecessary interference and imposition" in their private lives after having undergone costly gender reassignment surgery, which is not available in Malta, and does not fall under the national social security health care.

The proposed act would morph the process from a judicial one to an administrative one, as well as removing the prerequisite that the individual seeking to have their birth gender changed be unmarried.

The bill also proposes that any changes to one's gender does not influence or affect any obligations a person might have as a parent. The bill proposes a secret register of transgender people, so that the act itself does not incur legal or administrative burdens.

Transgender is the state of one's gender identity and does not imply any specific form of sexual orientation.

Gay couples are also set to have their relationship recognised at law in a cohabitation law, first promised in 1998, which will legislate for civil partnerships.

The draft law will provide legal recognition to non-married co­habiting individuals.

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