After voting for gender quotas, Schiavone conjures transphobic bogeyman

Nationalist MP Hermann Schiavone raises unrealistic prospect of male election candidates listing their gender as X to gain advantage from gender parity mechanism • MP defends comment

PN MP Hermann Schiavone (Photo: James Bianchi)
PN MP Hermann Schiavone (Photo: James Bianchi)

Updated at 6:10pm with Labour Party statement

Hermann Schiavone has cast doubt on the gender parity law he voted for just 24 hours ago by conjuring a transphobic bogeyman.

The Nationalist MP said he could not exclude that male candidates with little prospect of getting elected listing themselves as gender-neutral on the ballot sheet to benefit from the mechanism.

Schiavone insisted the law presented by government was “half-baked” and could be “abused”.

The gender parity mechanism is intended to boost the number of MPs from the “under-represented gender” after the election result is known.

Il-Gvern ipprezenta ligi nofsha misjura u li tista tkun abbuzata. Ma neskludix li xi kandidat ragel waqt li qed...

Posted by Hermann Schiavone on Thursday, 15 April 2021

The PN agreed with the mechanism and when the law was debated at committee stage earlier this week, Schiavone fronted the PN’s amendments.

However, none of the amendments he presented included the issue he is flagging now.

The government side rejected all the PN’s amendments apart from the one that called for the mechanism to be entrenched in the Constitution.

The law was approved in parliament with the support of both parties in its final stage yesterday and will be in place for the forthcoming general election.

Taking to Facebook on Thursday, Schiavone raised the unrealistic prospect of male candidates changing their gender to gain an electoral advantage.

“I cannot exclude that some male candidate while submitting his nomination for the next general election, will indicate his gender on the nomination as (X) instead of (M) and will thus require fewer votes to be elected… and nobody can stop him,” Schiavone said.

Electoral nominations are based on the individual’s ID Card, which excludes the possibility of someone deciding on the spot to adopt a gender-neutral marker unless the official document would have been changed.

When contacted Schiavone acknowledged that the issue he is raising was not one of the amendments the PN presented at committee stage. He defended his stand, disagreeing this was an unrealistic prospect.

“It is not an unrealistic prospect. A person can decide to change his ID Card and given that the mechanism does not provide any safeguards against this abuse, I trust the political parties to be the gatekeepers to ensure no such thing happens,” Schiavone said.

He said that along with the rest of his party, he voted in favour of the law but insisted it could be improved.

Will politicians put a stop to trivialising trans realities in order to make a political point that is neither here nor...

Posted by MGRM on Thursday, 15 April 2021

Reacting to Schiavone's comment, the Malta Gay Rights Movement called on politicians to stop "trivialising trans realities".

The Labour Party also hit out at Schiavone's remarks, accusing him of trying to ridicule the reform in question.

"His transphobic comment shows a lack of appreciation and sensitivity towards sensitive issues. Above all, it also proof of politicians who do not understand the realities of certain lives."