Portugal’s parliament recently approved a new law, which makes it easier for citizens to legally change their gender.
Per the law, people from the age of 16 can now legally change their gender and name on various documents without a medical report.
The 230-count legislative body approved the law with 109 votes.
Previously, the law applied only to people 18 and over. It also required a medical report. Critics of the law cited these two facts as reasons to not change the law.
‘We disagree with this law,’ said Vânia Dias da Silva, of the right-wing party CDS-PP. ‘[Those who are] 16 years old can’t marry, drink, or drive, so they shouldn’t be able to make a decision with such definite and serious consequences.’
People aged 16-18 will still need the approval of a parent or legal guardian under the new law.
Honoring trans people
Many LGBTI activists applaud the new law.
Portugal first passed a law recognizing transgender identity in 2011. According to the Ministry of Justice, a total of 485 people have changed their name and gender since then.
Isabel Moreira, an MP from the Socialist Party, called today a ‘historic day that honours every trans person and their families’.
It also follows previous progressive laws passed by the country’s parliament.