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Procedures 'based on self-determination' for changing gender on ID documents

Transgender people should be able to change their name and gender on birth certificates and identity documents, and European governments should “develop quick, transparent and accessible procedures” for this, “based on self-determination”.

In a resolution adopted today, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) called for abolition of the legal requirement of sterilisation and other compulsory medical treatment in laws regulating the procedure for changing a name and registered gender. Consideration should be given to the possibility of “including a third gender option in identity documents for those who seek it”.

In line with the proposals by the rapporteur, Deborah Schembri (Malta, SOC), parliamentarians called on member states to make gender reassignment procedures, such as hormone treatment, surgery and psychological support, accessible for transgender people and to “ensure that they are reimbursed by public health insurance schemes”. Limitations to cost coverage should be “lawful, objective and proportionate”.

The resolution stresses that national and international classifications of diseases should be amended to ensure that transgender people, including children, “are not labelled as mentally ill”, and steps should be taken to ensure “stigma-free access to necessary medical treatment”.

The text concludes that discrimination based on gender identity should be explicitly prohibited in national anti-discrimination legislation and that the human rights situation of transgender people should be included in the mandate of national human rights institutions “with an explicit reference to gender identity”.

Helena Dalli, Minister for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Liberties of Malta, made a statement in the framework of the the debate.