Portugal’s parliament approves new gender identity bill

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From the age of 16, Portuguese citizens will be able to choose their gender without a “gender disruption” diagnosis. The bill also prohibits surgical procedures on inter-sex babies, so they can choose their gender later.

The Portuguese parliament on Thursday approved a bill that will allow citizens to change their gender and name from the age of 16 without a medical diagnosis of “identity disruption.”

Until now, people who wished to change their gender had to be 18 years old.

Portugal follows in the footsteps of Denmark, Malta, Sweden, Ireland and Norway to become “the sixth European country to grant the right to self-determination of transgender identity … without the guardianship of a third party and without a diagnosis of identity disruption,” said Sandra Cunha, a lawmaker from the Left Bloc party.

“Nobody needs a third party to know if they are a man or a woman, a boy or a girl,” she said in the parliamentary debate ahead of the vote.

The bill also bans surgical procedures on inter-sex babies, who are born with male and female reproductive organs, so that they can choose their gender later in life.

Minors still need medical report

A Portuguese law that has been in place since 2011 required transgender citizens to have a medical diagnosis that established gender dysphoria, a name given to cases where one’s gender identity does not correspond to their biological sex.

The final step is for the new bill to be signed off by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who vetoed the first version of the text adopted by parliament in mid-April.

 

Rebelo de Sousa said he was in favor of no longer considering transgender identity as “an abnormal pathology or mental situation,” but he had wanted a medical report for cases involving minors aged 16 to 18 showing support for their decision.

Instead, the section of the law concerning minors has been amended and a medical report “which attests exclusively to the capacity of decision and informed will, without reference to a diagnosis of gender identity” will be required.

The approval of the law comes just weeks after the World Health Organization removed transgenderism from its list of mental disorders and instead categorized “gender incongruence” under “conditions related to sexual health,” rather than “mental, behavioral and neurodevelopmental disorders.”

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