Gender identity legislation signed by the President

04/03/2011
Submitted by ILGA Portugal

After the initial veto by the President, the Portuguese Parliament confirmed the legislation that ensures gender recognition for transsexual persons. This confirmation in Parliament has now forced the President to sign the law into effect. Upon publication, everyone will finally be entitled to a legal recognition of their gender identity in Portugal.

The law creates a simple administrative process for a legal change of gender and name. The requirement is an application supported by a diagnosis issued by a multidisciplinary team of clinical sexology (that includes a doctor and a psychologist). After presenting these documents, the change will happen within 8 days.

Following the recommendations in the Issue Paper published by the Commissioner for Human Rights from the Council of Europe, the requirements do not include any mandatory medical procedures (and, consequently, there is no sterilization requirement as well). There is, of course, no divorce requirement (same-sex marriage is possible in Portugal). Moreover, there are also provisions to allow for changes in the documentation of the children of transsexual persons.

This law was based on two proposals, by the Government and by Bloco de Esquerda, and it was approved in Parliament by all left-wing parties and by some MPs from the main right-wing party.

After several years of campaigning political parties and Portuguese society, we are very happy about this victory: the courts and their unacceptable criteria have been eliminated from the process and we have finally achieved legal certainty about gender recognition, which is a crucial first step towards the social inclusion of transsexual persons and towards the fight against discrimination based on gender identity.
We hope that Portugal can become an example of a firm commitment to Human Rights at the European level, and that many more European countries will now recognize the importance of the right to one's identity.

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