According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, the island nation of Malta is the first to add legal protections for intersex, trans and gender-diverse people to its laws to protect the bodily autonomy and civil equality of its citizens.
ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association applauds the unanimous approval of the Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics (GIGESC) Act by the Maltese Parliament. The law, which is the outcome of a long collaborative effort between LGBTIQ activists, politicians and other stakeholders was approved on Wednesday April 1st.
“This law is a great example of what can happen when equality rights and dignity are at the forefront of Political conversation,” said Helen Kennedy, ILGA Co-Secretary General. “With the crucial contribution of Ruth Baldacchino, ILGA’s co-Secretary General, Malta makes history in advancing LGBTIQ rights globally.”
As of today Malta is the first country in the world were a law affirms the right to gender identity recognition and self-determination, promoting anti-discrimination and equality policies as well as bodily intergrity and physical authonomy. Stating that “It shall be unlawful for medical practitioners or other professionals to conduct any sex assignment treatment and/or surgical intervention on the sex characteristics of a minor which treatment and/or intervention can be deferred until the person to be treated can provide informed consent” the GIGESC act represents a huge improvement in the protection of the bodily integrity of intersex children and infants in Malta.
“For Malta, this is a huge step forward” says ILGA Co-Secretary General Ruth Baldacchino, who works at the Maltese Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties, “both in terms of LGBTIQ rights but also broader human rights. Four years ago, we were still voting in a referedum that would see the introduction of divorce. Today, we have introduced a law that means so much to intersex, trans and genderqueer people in Malta and beyond.
Whilst recognising that each region and country has its own complexities and experiences, I hope that the Maltese experience and the Maltese law will inspire other LGBTIQ people around the world to use this experience and law in a strategic way. I hope that other governments are influenced positively by Malta when it comes to granting equal rights to intersex, trans and genderqueer people. At the same time, I look forward to a Malta that is influenced positively by other countries’ experiences when it comes to fully recognising more rights, particularly women and migrants rights.”