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MEPs Praise Portugal but Condemn Lithuania on Gender Identity Laws

MEPs Praise Portugal but Condemn Lithuania on Gender Identity Laws

Members of the European Parliament recently welcomed a new transgender rights law in Portugal, but at the same time have raised serious concerns about Lithuania’s move to prevent trans people from accessing gender reassignment treatment.

Portugal’s New Trans-Friendly Identity Record Amendment Law

March 16 saw a law that establishes clear guidelines on how Portuguese citizens can change their name and sex come into effect. Unlike many laws concerning amendments to civil identity records, this new law only stipulates a need for an official medical diagnosis and does not require the applicant to divorce a spouse, to have gone through or be going through hormonal treatment or gender reassignment surgery, and does not require the applicant to undergo sterilization. 

From UK Gay News:

The new law is fully in line with the Yogyakarta Principles, a set of authoritative guidelines for the application of internal human rights standards in the field of gender identity and sexual orientation.

“I am proud that colleagues in Lisbon ended the legal uncertainty surrounding gender reassignment procedures,” commented Rui Tavares, Member of the European Parliament from Portugal and  a vice-president of the LGBT Intergroup, commented.

“Portugal keeps leading the way as a progressive country for LGBT people in Europe, and transgender citizens can now benefit from one of the most progressive laws in the world.”

Lithuanian Proposal to Ban Gender Reassignment Surgery Condemned

In stark contrast, legislation that would prohibit gender reassignment surgery as proposed by Lithuania’s Antanas Matulas, Chairman of the Committee on Health Affairs, has drawn pointed criticism.

The move, in direct defiance of a 2007 European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling that said trans citizens must be given access to gender reassignment surgery, is designed to prevent future involvement from the ECHR in this matter by amending Lithuania’s civil code to explicitly prohibit gender reassignment. This, lawmakers believe, will shield them from further court intervention.

While the legislation has yet to be voted on, MEPs are, understandably, concerned.

Again, from UK Gay News:

“Some Lithuanian Members of Parliament make it sound as if they are under siege by transgender people, when all they need is accessing essential healthcare to protect their human dignity,” said Raül Romeva i Rueda, an MEP from Spain and a vice-president of the LGBT Intergroup

“How the European Union can intervene is currently unclear, but we will use of our mandate to the greatest possible extent to stop this ban from becoming law,” he added.

You can read more on Lithuania’s proposed ban on gender reassignment here.


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

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19 comments

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11:44AM PDT on Mar 29, 2011

Im hetero , and respect gays if they respect me also, this law will not make a real change in the minds of the people, is acepted but not in all countrys not in all minds , its another stupid reason to be racist or a bully to other just because we are not equal in every aspect . thank God that is impossible in this present time, peace and keep up to good work

6:34PM PDT on Mar 24, 2011

I don't think a person just find out he/she want to change sex. They are just born in the wrong body and should be allowed to be the person they feel they are. Denmark is very liberal about that, but it takes a lot of physical and mental examinations before they can get a sexchange.

11:04AM PDT on Mar 24, 2011

Not all is bad in my small country! =)

10:47AM PDT on Mar 24, 2011

EU is well known to waist ...time,energy and tax payers money!

9:07AM PDT on Mar 24, 2011

We should not change sexual life. We're already setup by the life purpose.

8:19AM PDT on Mar 24, 2011

just let people be.

6:43AM PDT on Mar 24, 2011

Come on, Lithuania, do the compassionate thing!

5:25AM PDT on Mar 24, 2011

Thanks for the article.

7:27PM PDT on Mar 23, 2011

This may be a great test of the strength of the European Union, as it involves human rights & dignity. Opposition is always based on the lack of understanding that comes with rigid religion. In many of the eastern European countries that were part of the USSR, clergy have no qualms about telling people who to vote for from the pulpit.

5:51PM PDT on Mar 23, 2011

How sad that anyone sees the need to interfere with someone's quest to become a whole, self-actualized person. If someone undergoes a sex and gender change, there's a good reason for it and it's THEIR business, not anyone else's.

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