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LGBTIQ issues at the centre of the Maltese Presidency: Malta’s work in this area lauded by the Vice-President of the European Parliament

Reference Number: PR170450, Press Release Issue Date: Feb 23, 2017
 
While addressing a high-level conference on LGBTIQ Equality Mainstreaming, Minister for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties Helena Dalli announced that, following a recent cabinet decision, Identity Malta is working on the internal system to roll out non-binary X gender passports and ID cards in the coming weeks.
 
This will be further facilitating the lives of trans and intersex people as they would no longer be restricted to identifying themselves as male or female on their official documents.
 
Minister Dalli said that this decision follows various initiatives that have been introduced by the government in the past three years after the enactment of the Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act in April 2015. These include a trans-intersex policy in schools, a policy for trans prisoners, and gender neutral toilets across all ministries, Parliament, and the law courts.
 
Helena Dalli said that through this law, the government will secure rights for trans and intersex people for the first time. Trans persons are now free to change their legal gender on official documents following a public deed, and will be able to rectify it on all documents, ranging from passports to ID cards, to educational certificates and any other official documents. To date, 67 trans persons have benefitted from this measure.
 
Minister Dalli said that since the adoption of civil unions in April 2014, 169 couples have tied the knot and became officially recognised under this law, 22 of which have converted their foreign marriage certificates into domestic ones. In addition, Malta has also witnessed the first joint adoption by a gay couple, with five other couples now in the process of doing the same.
 
“Us politicians are here to help shape public opinion and not be led by it. Countries that are often discounted as not ripe for progress can change, and can change fast the moment that there is the political will and a strong civil society”, emphasised Helena Dalli.
 
Vice-President of the European Parliament and Co-President of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBTI Rights Ulrike Lunacek praised Minister Dalli and the Maltese Presidency for putting LGBTIQ rights at the centre.
 
“What you are doing here, with the successes you have had and you have fought for, and with civil society here, is really something that I strongly appreciate and thank you for, especially coming from a very Catholic country myselfAustriathat has not achieved as much as you have been doing during the past years”, stated Vice-President Lunacek.
 
The conference was also addressed by various speakers including Director of the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency Michael O'Flaherty and Director-General, European Commission DG Justice and Consumers Tiina Astola.
 
In a number of different panel discussions, the conference discussed LGBTIQ equality mainstreaming in healthcare, education, and in the context of public safety.