Civil liberties minister launches Gender Identity Act

Government launches draft law that allows trans people to have their self determined identity respected by law 

Helena Dalli minister for social dialogue and civil liberties (Photo by Ray Attard)
Helena Dalli minister for social dialogue and civil liberties (Photo by Ray Attard)

The Gender Identity Act was tonight presented in Parliament by social dialogue and civil liberties minister Helena Dalli who also launched a one-month public consultation process.

In a press conference held before the start of today’s sitting, Dalli said that the law will allow transgender people to fulfil their potential” at all levels especially in their careers.

“I know many transgender people who are very talented but are forced into living an invisible life, they have a right to a normal life like anyone else,” she said.

Dalli explained that the law will allow transgender people to change their birth certificates which will mean that all other documents, including ID Cards, passports, driving licences and academic certificates will change accordingly.

Transgenders will no longer have to go through gender reassignment surgery to change their birth certificate but requests to the Director of Public Registry can be submitted through a notarial deed including a clear and unequivocal declaration by the applicant that one’s gender identity does not correspond to the assigned sex in the act of birth.

The draft law regulates the procedure for change of legal gender for minors and adults alike and  introduces “a positive obligation on government entities to ensure that their services meet the objectives of this Act.”

Moreover the act provides parents with the possibility to postpone the entry of a gender marker on their children’s birth certificate.

The bill also proposes the introduction of ‘gender expression’ and ‘sex characteristics’ within the list of grounds for aggravated circumstances under the Criminal Code and  within the scope of the Equality for Men and Women Act.

If the bill is approved as is by Parliament, non-medically necessary treatment on the sex characteristics of a person without informed consent will become unlawful.

The minister said “the law does not guarantee a change in attitude or culture” and when asked whether the bill includes measures to address discrimination Dalli said “we are in talks with education ministry over measures to address bullying.”

According to international statistics, gay and lesbian teens are two to three times as more likely to commit teen suicide than other youths while around 30% of all completed suicides have been related to sexual identity crisis.

Moreover, students who fall into the gay, bisexual, lesbian or transgendered identity groups report being five times as more likely to miss school because they feel unsafe after being bullied due to their sexual orientation. 

“We need to work with children from a very early stage to eliminate bullying,” Dalli said.

She called for “common sense and humanity” in every sphere of life, adding that the law’s only aim was that of making people’s life better.

“It will not change our lives but it means the world to transgender people because they will no longer be invisible. We’re talking about equality, to ensure that every human has the same rights and opportunities in life.”