Portugal passes law to let trans people self-identify their legal gender
Portugal has passed a law that allows transgender people to change their legal gender under a “self determination” system.
The new law, which makes Portugal the sixth European country to adopt a “self-ID” gender recognition law, passed through the country’s
parliament on Friday by a reported vote of 109-106.
It removes a medical diagnosis requirement for transgender people to have their gender legally recognised, and instead allows them to
change their legal gender through a procedure based on self-determination.
The new gender recognition law removes hurdles to transition that have faced criticism, and instead respects that trans people
themselves know best who they are and how they identify.
Legal gender recognition will also be extended to over-16s.
Malta, Norway, Denmark, Ireland and Belgium have all adopted the self-ID system of gender recognition.
Katrin Hugendubel of ILGA-Europe said: “ILGA-Europe are very relieved that the law based on self-determination was adopted and that it
will be accessible to everyone over 16.
“We are also encouraged that politicians (despite the fact that some parties’ commitment to equality seemed to be wavering in the past
few weeks) ultimately voted in favour of respect and common sense.
“We congratulate Portugal – and look forward to celebrating with our members and friends at the 2018 IDAHOT Forum taking place in
Lisbon next month!”
The country was also praised for outlawing controversial “corrective” surgeries performed on intersex babies who are born with a mixture
of male and female sex characteristics.
Ms Hugendubel added: “Portugal is really making history today – this law will make Portugal only the second country worldwide to outlaw
medically unnecessary treatments on intersex kids.”
Isabel Moreira of the country’s Socialist party told DN that the move was “a historic step towards the right to self-determination of gender
and sexual equality”.
Sandra Cunha of the Left party added that it shows “the suffering that young people suffer in their day to day life is not tolerable in this
parliament and in this country”.
The law was supported by members of parliament this afternoon, following two years of very hard work by LGBTI activists in Portugal.
Similar proposals were tabled by the UK Parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee in 2016.
But despite securing the apparent backing of Prime Minister Theresa May at the PinkNews Awards, the UK government appears to have
abandoned plans for a consultation on the issue amid a media backlash.
Prominent columnists claimed the proposals will make rape shelters unsafe for women, and lead to people with beards flashing their
penises in women’s toilets across the country.
However, evidence from other countries that have adopted self-ID laws shows that the impact has been non-existent other than granting
rights to trans people.
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