Tuesday, 7 April 2015

IGLHRC: IGLHRC Hails Landmark Law in Malta on Gender Identity, Expression and Protections for Intersex Children 04/01/2015


Contact: Suzanne Trimel, strimel@iglhrc.org, +1-212-430-6018, @strimel
(New York)—The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) celebrates the unanimous passage of the “Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act, 2015” by the Parliament of Malta today. The new law enshrines the right to gender identity recognition and introduces anti-discrimination measures, allowing Maltese citizens to self-determine their gender identity and legally change their first name and gender marker without requiring any medical diagnosis or treatment.
The law also mandates a right to “bodily autonomy and physical integrity”—among the first of its kind—which provides children, especially intersex children and infants, protection from any “sex assignment” or “surgical intervention on the sex characteristics” until the person to be treated can provide informed consent. Notable is the law’s inclusion of refugees, instituting a process for individuals to file their application for asylum with their self-determined gender and first name.
“Malta’s new law is really the cutting-edge of human-rights legislation in the fight to fully recognize the rights of trans, intersex and gender non-conforming individuals,” said Jessica Stern, executive director of IGLHRC. “Crucially, Malta’s new law protects intersex infants from unnecessary surgeries to ‘normalize’ their bodies. I congratulate members of the parliament and civil society for their years of hard work to develop and pass this landmark legislation.”
Read recommendations submitted by local, national, and international stakeholders during the Public Consultation process for this bill.

Gender Identity, Gender Expression And Sex Characteristics Act

This consultation is closed. Visit the Parliament's website to follow the progress of this Bill.



1. Progress so Far

In 2013, following a change of government, the Maltese government reached an out-of-court settlement with Joanne Cassar who until then had no other choice but to fight a legal battle all the way to the European Court of Human Rights for the respect of her right to marry (Application No. 36982/11). Subsequently it went on to amend the Civil Code to allow trans people to be fully recognised in the acquired gender and be able to marry their opposite sex partner through the Civil Code (Amendment) Act, 2013 (ACT No. VII of 2013).
During 2014, the Maltese government adopted another three laws that directly improved the legal protection afforded to trans people, namely:
·         Constitution of Malta (Amendment) Act, 2014 (ACT No. X of 2004), which introduced the ground of ‘gender identity’ in the list of grounds of non-discrimination found in the Constitution;
·         Procedural Standards in Examining Applications for Refugee Status (Amendment) Regulations, 2014(L.N. 161 of 2014) including ‘gender identity’ within the definition of a particular social group for asylum purposes;
·         Equal Treatment in Employment (Amendment) Regulations, 2014 (L.N. 274 of 2014) including the ground of ‘gender reassignment’ for purposes of sick leave and other rights and protections afforded under theEmployment and Industrial Relations Act.

2. This Bill

The Government Programme clearly states that the government intends to introduce a law that allows trans people to have their self determined identity respected by law. The Programme also states that government wants to introduce a policy against discrimination across the whole Public Service.
This Bill was thus developed by the LGBTI Consultative Council to meet this goal. In the process, consultations were held with various local and international institutions and organisations to ensure that the law meets current standards and protects trans, genderqueer and intersex people against discrimination.
In a nutshell, the proposal:
·         Introduces a right to gender identity for all persons;
·         Regulates the procedure for change of legal gender for minors and adults alike;
·         Recognises foreign decisions regarding gender identity by a competent court or responsible authority;  
·         Allows for amendments of gendered characteristics on all official documents (such as the ID card and the passport) or certificates;
·         Provides for the privacy of the person whose gender has been rectified on official documents;
·         Introduces a positive obligation on government entities to ensure that their services meet the objectives of this Act;
·         Provides parents with the possibility to postpone the entry of a gender marker on their children’s birth certificate;
·         Introduces a right to bodily integrity and physical autonomy for all persons;
·         Makes non-medically necessary treatment on the sex characteristics of a person without informed consent unlawful;
·         Provides for psychosocial counselling, support and medical interventions related to sex and/or gender;
·         Provides for a revision of the protocol regulating sex assignment treatment and/or surgical interventions on the sex characteristics of a person;
·         Introduces ‘gender expression’ and ‘sex characteristics’ within the list of grounds for aggrevated circumstances under the Criminal Code; and 
  •     Introduces ‘gender expression’ and ‘sex characteristics’ within the scope of the Equality for Men and Women Act.

3. Consultation Documents


4. Pre-consultation Document



5. Submissions Received

a.      Local Civil Society Organisations

​i.Aditus Foundation.pdfAditus Foundation.pdf
​ii.Kunsill Nutarili ta' Malta.PDFKunsill Nutarili ta' Malta.PDF
​iii.Kunsill Studenti Universitarji.pdfKunsill Studenti Universitarji.pdf
​iv.Life Network and Gift of Life Foundation - Malta.pdfLife Network and Gift of Life Foundation - Malta.pdf
​v.Malta Humanist Association.pdfMalta Humanist Association.pdf
​vi.The Church in Malta.pdfThe Church in Malta.pdf
b.   International Civil Society Organisations      
​i.Global Action for Trans Equality (GATE).pdfGlobal Action for Trans Equality (GATE).pdf
​ii.European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe).pdfEuropean Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe).pdf
​iii.Organisation Intersex International Australia (OII Australia).pdfOrganisation Intersex International Australia (OII Australia).pdf
​iv.​​Organisation Intersex International Europe (OII Europe).pdfOrganisation Intersex International Europe (OII Europe).pdf
​v.STP, International Campaign Stop Trans Pathologization .pdfSTP, International Campaign Stop Trans Pathologization .pdf
​vi.Transgender Europe.pdfTransgender Europe.pdf
​vii.United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees- Malta (UNHCR Malta).pdfUnited Nations High Commissioner for Refugees- Malta (UNHCR Malta).pdf
c.   National Institutions
​i.Commissioner for Children and Maltese Paediatric Association.pdfCommissioner for Children and Maltese Paediatric Association.pdf
​ii.National Commission for the Promotion of Equality (NCPE).pdfNational Commission for the Promotion of Equality (NCPE).pdf
d.   International Institution​ ​ ​
​i.Council of Europe Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Unit.pdfCouncil of Europe Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Unit.pdf
e.   Individuals / Individwi ​ ​
​i.Jack Byrne (New Zealand).pdfJack Byrne (New Zealand).pdf
​ii.Kristina Mizzi and Rose Galea Testaferrata.pdfKristina Mizzi and Rose Galea Testaferrata.pdf
​iii.Louise Anne Pulis.pdfLouise Anne Pulis.pdf
​iv.Nicholas Briffa.pdfNicholas Briffa.pdf
​v.Peter Cassar Torreggiani.pdfPeter Cassar Torreggiani.pdf
​vi.Rosario Mizzi.pdfRosario Mizzi.pdf
​vii.Suzanne Vella and Martha Fitz.pdfSuzanne Vella and Martha Fitz.pdf
​viii.Tony Briffa (Australia).pdfTony Briffa (Australia).pdf
​ix.Various Signatories.pdfVarious Signatories.pdf
Please be informed that submissions were published on the webpage of this consultation at the end of the consultation. The lead Ministry has sole discretion upon the publication of comments

6. Report of the Outcomes of the Scoping Phase

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