Gender Identity in the Portuguese Criminal Code
The Portuguese Parliament approved a revision of the Criminal Code which finally enshrines "gender identity" as a category of discrimination that requires attention by the law.
Hate crimes against trans people in Portugal have been recorded in the recent past - and a particularly striking case was the death of Gisberta Salce Júnior in 2006. However, gender identity was absent from hate crime legislation.
Alongside "sexual orientation", the term "gender identity" has now been added to the articles relating to aggravated homicide and assault, setting up the special perversity or reprehensibility of these acts (and consequently strengthening the penalties) in case their motivation is based on the perceived sexual orientation or gender identity of the victim.
The inclusion of "gender identity" in the Criminal Code was a longstanding demand of ILGA Portugal, along with the inclusion of the same category in the Labour Code and Article 13 (Principle of Equality) of the Constitution, and together with the protection against discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity in the access to goods and services, education, health and social protection.
This addition to the Criminal Code was approved unanimously, following a proposal by the Socialist Party. We hope that the recognition of the particular vulnerability of trans people extends to the remaining legal system, also with the broad support of various political forces.
We welcome, in any case, this groundbreaking recognition by the Portuguese law, following the gender recognition legislation - and we will continue to work towards the full recognition and protection of trans people.