Labour pledges free hormone therapy for trans people

Joseph Muscat claims to have internal information from PN that the Egrant allegation was a coordinated lie orchestrated by the Nationalist Party

Joseph Muscat made his announcement at a press conference in Valletta
Joseph Muscat made his announcement at a press conference in Valletta

A Labour government will offer free hormone replacement therapy for transgender individuals, Prime Minister and Labour leader Joseph Muscat has announced.

The proposal was included in a Labour policy document launched this afternoon at a press conference in Valletta that outlines Muscat’s plans for Malta to take a “liberal leap forward”.

Muscat also pledged gender balance on government boards, meaning that representation of both males and females on boards must not be lower than 40%. It will also introduce guidelines for TV stations to encourage them to ensure a gender balance amongst participants in debates on current events.

As already announced, it will also introduce gay marriage before Parliament breaks for summer recess and start a public consultation on recreational marijuana by the end of the year.

Throughout the legislature, the government will also launch a debate on the possible regularisation of prostitution.

Muscat made it clear that he was not seeking to “open a market” in the sector but rather to safeguard prostitutes, who are often victims of sex trafficking.

Indeed, he suggested that Malta could adopt the Nordic model that criminalises clients of prostitution but not the prostitutes themselves.

“These women are emarginated, exposed to the worst sort of abuse, and are considered as slaves,” he said. “International reports often cite Malta as a location for the trafficking of young women and the time has come to address this issue.”

He reiterated his pledge to push for gender quotas in Parliament, which he insisted will be a temporary measure until the country “gets used to the idea” of equal gender representation in the House.

“The idea we have in mind is not a punitive one that will replace elected male MPs with women, but rather to add women MPs over and above the elected MPs,” he said.

Muscat cast doubt on PN leader Simon Busuttil’s pledge to introduce gay marriage and retain all the pro LGBT+ legislation introduced by the current Labour government.

“His promise is of small consolation; after all, the PN have retained the same people within the party who were against civil unions and indeed added people with more extreme views,” he said.

Specifically, he called out former justice minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici for refusing to allow trans-person Josanne Cassar to marry her partner, PN deputy leader Beppe Fenech Adami for threatening to resign from the PN if the party voted in favour of civil unions and divorce, and PN candidate Josie Muscat who had said it is not natural for two people of the same sex to be in a relationship.

“Now they want us to believe that they have converted, but the public will realize that this is nothing but political desperation.”

‘I have information from PN that Egrant story was a co-ordinated lie’

Responding to questions from the press, Muscat also claimed to have internal information from within the Nationalist Party that the allegations that his wife owns the Panama company Egrant were part of a coordinated lie.

On Tuesday, Muscat told a political activity that Busuttil had known from beforehand that Daphne Caruana Galizia had planned to publish the Egrant allegations on her blog.

“I have internal information from the PN that what I said is true, and I even know the name of the person who was coordinating it all,” he said.

Muscat also played down comparisons between his pledge to resign if an ongoing magisterial inquiry links him with Egrant and his resistance to remove Konrad Mizzi from his Cabinet and Keith Schembri as chief of staff.

MaltaToday asked the Prime Minister the same question a student asked him at today’s university debate: “If you see something wrong in owning a Panama company, then why didn’t you take action against Mizzi and Schembri?”

Muscat responded that the two issues were separate and that, in Konrad Mizzi’s case, a problem would have only arose had he not declared his offshore Panama company in his declaration of assets.

“If he hadnt declared his company it would have meant that he was trying to hide it from the public,” he said. “If he hadn’t declared it before the Panama Papers story broke out, then it would have been a different story altogether.”