The Portuguese parliament approved a revision of the country’s criminal code which will ban discrimination and hate crime against transgender people.
This addition to the criminal code was approved unanimously, following a proposal by the Portuguese Socialist Party.
Hate crimes against trans people in Portugal have been recorded in the recent past, transphobic violence made headlines with the murder of Gisberta Salce Júnior in 2006.
However, gender identity was absent from hate crime legislation.
Portugal’s parliament has now added ‘gender identity’ alongside ‘sexual orientation’ to articles relating to aggravated homicide and assault.
It also stressed the reprehensibility of these acts (and consequently strengthening the penalties) in case their motivation is based on the perceived sexual orientation or gender identity of the victim.
The inclusion of ‘gender identity’ in the Portuguese criminal code was a long-standing demand of ILGA Portugal.
In a statement, ILGA Portugal said: ‘We hope that the recognition of the particular vulnerability of trans people extends to the remaining legal system, also with the broad support of various political forces.
‘We welcome, in any case, this ground-breaking recognition by the Portuguese law, following the gender recognition legislation - and we will continue to work towards the full recognition and protection of trans people’.
Portugal already included ‘gender identity’ in protection against work discrimination, which ensures no discrimination occurs to transgender people in the access to goods and services, education, health and social protection.
On 1 March 2011 the President ratified the Law of Gender Identity, said to be the most advanced in the world, which simplifies the process of sex and name change for transsexual people.