Malta scraps surgery and sterilisation measures and passes protections for intersex people
Intersex advocates have welcomed the passage of groundbreaking new legislation by Maltese parliament offering protections to the country’s intersex people.
Malta’s parliament passed the Gender Identity Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act in the early hours of this morning. The Act passed with cross party support without a vote.
The Act includes recognition of the right to bodily integrity and physical autonomy that protects infants and children from non-necessary medical interventions.
“To say that this Act is a groundbreaking human rights milestone is almost an understatement,” said the co-chair of the European branch of the International Lesbian and Gay Association, Paulo Côrte-Real, in a statement issued following the vote.
“It provides an inspirational benchmark for other European countries that need to improve their own LGBTI equality standards. The Act is a beacon of hope — and bears testament to the political leadership and hard work of the LGBTI movement in Malta.”
Organisation Intersex International Australia (OII) has also welcomed the passage of the Gender Identity Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act.
OII said the Act contains key improvements from all existing Australian legislations surrounding intersex issues. The Act also provides for a simple, administrative mechanism for the recognition of gender identity, and protection from discrimination for intersex and trans populations.
Under malta's new law, applicants can change gender identity documents by simply filing an affidavit with a notary, eliminating any requirement for medical gender reassignment procedures.
Morgan Carpenter, president of OII Australia, commented:
"We warmly congratulate the Maltese government and parliament, and commend this Act to Australian governments. This is legislation that Australian governments should be enacting, to implement the recommendations of the 2013 Senate committee report on the involuntary and coerced sterilisation of intersex people.
"Non-necessary medical interventions still take place on infants and children with intersex variations, across Australia, for rationales that include managing parental distress, social stigma and even ‘improving marriage prospects’. These violate international human rights standards and Australian governments must act.”
Image: Minister Helena Dalli introduces the Gender Identity Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act. Source Silvan Agius Twitter