Portugal's president vetoes legal gender change law
11 May, 2018
Portugal's president Marcelo Rebelo (pictured) vetoed last week a bill that would have allowed citizens as young as 16 to change their gender identity without needing a medical report as long as they had parental consent. The President sent the bill back to parliament, which passed it on 13 April, asking that lawmakers include a mandatory medical report for minors wanting to change their gender on official documents. In a letter to the head of parliament, sent last Wednesday, Rebelo said he understood the reasons for the proposed law but argued that “it seems reasonable for there to be a medical evaluation early on”.
According to Portugal's constitution, lawmakers can either include the proposed change, or they need an absolute majority to pass it as it stands.
Several European nations require transgender people to undergo medical procedures such as surgery and sterilisation, be diagnosed with a mental disorder, and get divorced if married, to have their desired gender legally recognised by government, Reuters recalls.
The law makes Portugal only the sixth European nation to allow a change of gender without medical or state intervention, according to ILGA-Europe, a network of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) groups. It follows Malta, Norway, Denmark, Ireland and Belgium. The law also means Portugal will become only the second nation in the world, after Malta, to ban medically unnecessary surgery on the genitals of intersex infants, activists said.