After the president had vetoed the parliament's decision las year, he now signed the law coming into force on March 15th. Thus, Portugal has finally a law regulating the legal gender recognition. It is filling a legal gap human rights activists have been pointing out for a long time. With the new law, the preferred gender can be obtained using a standardized administrative procedure within 8 days. Besides the application a certificate from a medical multi-disciplinary team is necessary to fullfil the pre-conditions. The procedure is only open to individuals of Portuguese nationality and above 18 years of age.
TGEU welcomes this legislative step as it ends a long period of legal uncertainty for trans people in Portugal. Portugal joins also the progessive club of Spain and the Uk, the only countries in the European Union, where sterilisation is not mandatory in legal gender recognition legislation. It sends also an important signal to other states in Europe to reconsider pre-conditions and remove abusive elements ub gender recognition legislation as recommended by the Council of Ministers in 2010.
"The right to documents corresponding to the identity of a person is a basic citizen right. We congratulate ILGA Portugal and other human rights activists in Portugal to this success." says Richard Köhler, Co-chair of Transgender Europe.
With regard to the economic crisis, those suffering diametral from discrimination and social exclusionneed special attention.
Köhler comments further "We are confident that this law improves the lifes of trans people in Portugal significantly. After clarifying this aspects, other questions need to be tackled as well. Access to adequate health care and the job market as well as guaranteeing a life free from discrimination now need to be prioritized for both trans citizens and residents of Portugal."
Portugal had gained sad prominence when Gisberta was brutally murdered in 2006 and only upon local and international pressure the purpetrators were brought to justice.
The legislative process was initiated by Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner, who had visited Portugal earlier in 2010.
The text of the law can be found here: http://dre.pt/pdf1sdip/2011/03/05200/0145001451.pdf