Photographs: Mina Tolu
The consultative council for LGBT people will be set up by the government on Monday, said Jonathan Brimmer, a spokesperson for the Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties Ministry.
The council will be composed of NGOs who work for LGBT rights, and will be making proposals to the government on addressing issues and bullying. It will also be preparing Bills including that on civil unions and the gender identity Bill, which will follow.
Mr Brimmer was speaking during a debate entitled ‘Breaking the Silence’, held yesterday afternoon at the University Quadrangle.
April 19th is the annual Day of Silence - a day of action in which various schools around the world take a day-long vow of silence to call to attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools.
The European Parliament Information Office in Malta teamed up with 'Studenti Ħarsien Soċjali' and 'We Are' to organise a debate aimed at raising awareness about the Day of Silence while bringing to light the issues conditioning LGBT persons in the context of Maltese societal challenges. The debate will also seek to explore the EU effort to strengthen the fight against homophobia and transphobia.
Education Minister Evarist Bartolo said this is all about human rights so discussions in favour of LGBT rights are in favour of society.
“This is not about minority rights but about full human rights and it is society’s duty to ensure that all people who form part of it enjoy full rights,” he said.
Dr Peter Agius, Head of the European Parliament Representation Office in Malta said the office is in charge of sensitising the Maltese public on matters taking place at the EP.
It is impossible to distance one’s sexual orientation with oneself as a citizen. Consequently, bullying affects the person as a whole.
The LGBT Intergroup at EP in fact focuses on making sure that policy and legislation does not negatively affect people.
On 14 March, the EP adopted a resolution condemning hate crime and hate speech on the basis of racism, xenophobia, homophobia and transphobia. It is also urging member states to take stronger action in case of homophobia and transphobia.
A survey among 93,000 LGBT people is assessing the difficulties people face and results will be presented on 17 May – the European day against homophobia.
He also highlighted this is the European Year of Citizens. All citizens have rights and obligations and these must not be hindered. The dimension of human beings is unique.
He meanwhile expressed his intention to draw up a report on the debate and sending t to the Maltese MEPs and the LGBT Intergroup.
Gabi Calleja, coordinator of the Malta Gay Rights Movement, Mario Gerada, a representative of the Christian group Drachma, lawyer David Camilleri and psychologist Bernard Caruana, also participated.