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Lithuania Proposes Ban on Gender Reassignment in Defiance of EU Court

Lithuania Proposes Ban on Gender Reassignment in Defiance of EU Court

Lithuanian lawmakers recently introduced a draft proposal that would amend the country’s Civil Code to prohibit gender reassignment surgery, in defiance of a 2007 European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling.

In the decision, the Court affirmed the rights of a transexual plaintiff to say that, under current laws, citizens must have access to gender reassignment surgery, finding that the State had violated the claimant’s liberty. The court said that lawmakers should pass a law regulating the procedure and conditions for gender reassignment. No law has been passed.

Instead, lawmakers led by the country’s chairman of the Committee on Health Affairs, seem keen to prevent future involvement from the ECHR by amending the Civil Code to explicitly prohibit gender reassignment. This, they believe, will shield them from further intervention.

From UK Gay News

At present, the Civil Code provides that an unmarried adult is entitled to undergo gender reassignment surgery if it is possible medically, while the conditions and procedure of gender reassignment are set by legislation. However, no such legislation has been passed.

The initiators of the draft amendment propose that the aforementioned provisions be deleted and replaced by the provision that gender reassignment surgery is prohibited in Lithuania and that civil registry entries concerning gender reassignment surgeries performed abroad be amended by court decision only.

Vladimir Simonko, chair of the national LGBT advocacy organisation Lithuanian Gay League, today expressed strong concerns about the legislative initiative which if adopted would clearly contravene the Lithuania’s obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights.

“Trans people are already suffering from discrimination because [the] national equal treatment law does not explicitly include gender reassignment,” he told UK Gay News.

As pointed out above, how much this will in fact guard against Court involvement remains to be seen.

Recently, the European Parliament adopted two resolutions on Turkey and Montenegro’s progress towards joining the European Union wherein the Parliament said that it needed to see further progress on issues of non-discrimination, particularly concerning LGBTs, before the nations would be allowed to join. Given that Lithuania is already a memberstate, this little bit of chicanery seems suspect at best.

It is, however, in keeping with the Lithuanian parliament’s anti-LGBT stance.

For instance, in the last year the EU Parliament has condemned Lithuania’s censorship law that bans the so-called “propaganda of homosexuality or bisexuality” in schools and any place easily accessible to children such as on television, radio and the internet, saying that it violates EU and international policy as well as breaching several anti-discrimination texts. Read more on that here.

An LGBT rights group was also recently barred from participating in a discussion on human rights issues held by the Lithuanian Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee. Read more about that here.

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Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to brainchildvn.

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10:31AM PDT on Aug 18, 2012

Let the legislators pass a law to prohibit it, if doing it keeps them (the legislators) off the street and away from decent people. When I was growing up, our village of 4000 had 31 bars. My father always told me that during prohibition, there were at least twice as many.

3:11AM PDT on Apr 26, 2011

this is a biggest throw back to the dark ages for Lithuania. I am Lithuanian and been living in Australia for most of my life.I and very embarrassed over this issue and feel very strongly about it. Homosexuality is not a choice. I not sure if i can ever live in Lithuania after reading what is happening. Obviously this is just the surface of things and there are Lithuanian gay communities, but it definitely paints a nice picture for the rest of the world. I really hope that people will wake up and join the rest of the world.

1:18PM PDT on Mar 22, 2011

Lithuania, like many placing comments about this issue; have absolutely no understanding of what is behind the demand for gender reassignment.( I am not one, but as a man of science; i realize what is involved.) we are composed of two separate entities, physical & psychological. They do not always jive. I'd advise doing some reading on the subject before making uninformed decisions on the lives of others.

8:40PM PDT on Mar 21, 2011

Thanks for sharing this.

5:34PM PDT on Mar 21, 2011


4:33AM PDT on Mar 21, 2011

I agree, the government shouldn't fund it...I mean, the right to be who you are is one thing, the right to change who you are is another, but the right to get people to pay for you to change who you are because they dont accept you? It's just one form of conformity and fear after another, and I think acceptance is more important than funding something to make it easier to accept, but harder for the unaccepted.

4:14AM PDT on Mar 21, 2011

Gender reassignment surgery is an optional surgery. People should learn to love their bodies (and who they are) and stop trying to be something else. Well done to Lithuania for refusing to fund such nonsense. Government funding should be reserved for essential treatments only. If a person can not live with their body and can't afford to get a new one they should not be so selfish as to even desire let alone attempt to waste hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on non-essential cosmetic surgery. That goes for any cosmetic surgery, not just gender reassignment. If you hate your own body you are psychologically imbalanced and need counseling, not surgery. There is enough need and disaster in the world without having to waste time and taxpayer funds on a few selfish individuals.

Having said that if they can afford it and wish to go abroad for the surgery they should not be able to be stopped from doing so except in the most strictest of circumstances, e.g. their family proves they are seriously mentally unwell (judged on issues OTHER than their desire to change gender) and insist on their getting approved by a counselor first.

Learning to live with yourself is the hardest skill to learn in this day and age. Instead of rallying on about the "rights" of this extreme minority to waste taxpayer dollars you should be teaching your kids to love themselves just the way they are, even if they feel different to the traditionally assigned gender roles.

11:57PM PDT on Mar 20, 2011

kick them out of the eu!

1:30PM PDT on Mar 20, 2011

I think most European countries will have to rethink spending public funds on these medical treatments. It's not banning the operation, just the funding. As for the anti discrimination, they should put in place mechanism to stop it.

1:16PM PDT on Mar 20, 2011

For a country like Lithuania to come out on this issue , is very impressive.

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