First country in Europe protects trans people in constitution

Malta parliament also voted to give same-sex couples civil unions and adoption

First country in Europe protects trans people in constitution
15 April 2014

Malta has become the first country in Europe to protect trans people in the constitution.

On 14 April, as the Maltese parliament voted to give same-sex couples civil unions and adoption.

The entirety of the Labour party, 39 members of parliament, voted in favor of legalizing same-sex unions. The opposition, the 30 members of the Nationalist party, abstained.

The small, largely Catholic country is now the first European nation to have gender identity anchored in its highest legal text.

It was only in 2011 that Malta legislated in favor of divorce.

But with three years of changes in law, trans people who have changed their gender are now able to legally enter into a marriage.

Julia Ehrt, executive director of Transgender Europe, described it as ‘fantastic news’.

‘It has been a long way for Malta, and we congratulate the activists who have fought over all the years for the recognition and protection of transgender people,’ she said.

Richard Köhler, a policy officer at TGEU, said we need more ’trans champions like Malta’.

’It is also a signal also for other countries to uplift transgender identities out of the shadows of prejudice and misconception and say loud and clear: we stand proudly by our transgender population.’

Following the civil unions bill, the next step for activists to take is to build on their transgender victory.

A proposal to allow trans people to just declare their gender identity, and that to be enough with the requirements of surgery.

It is believed it will be based on the Argentinian Gender Identity Act.

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