Category: News

Malta scores well in LGBTQI report

The report focused on anti-discrimination law applicable to education

The Ministry for European Affairs and Equality has welcomed the ‘LGBTQI Inclusive Education Report’ conducted by the International LGBTQI Youth and Students Organisation, which has ranked Malta first among Council of Europe countries when it comes to providing inclusive education.

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Malta Becomes First European Nation To Ban Gay Conversion Therapy

The practice is now deemed a “deceptive and harmful” act.

Malta has made history.

The island nation has become the first country in Europe to ban gay conversion therapy.

On Dec. 5, the Maltese parliament approved the Affirmation of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression Bill, which criminalizes so-called “gay cure” therapy as a “deceptive and harmful” act.

The bill defines the practice as any “which aims to change, repress or eliminate a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”

It also affirms that “no sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression constitutes a disorder, disease or shortcoming of any sort.”

Counselors, therapists or religious leaders prescribing or advertising the therapy will be fined between €1,000 and €5,000 (roughly $1,075 to $5,377 USD) or receive five months in jail, Malta Today reports.

Catholicism is the official religion of Malta and the religion plays a major role in the passage of the country’s laws. For instance, the country didn’t legalize divorce until 2011.  

In 2013, however, voters brought a social democratic government, the Labor Party, to power. The party is liberal, enabling the government to pass more progressive laws.

In 2014, Maltese parliament approved a bill that grants marriage rights to LGBTQ couples, including the possibility to adopt children.

A spokesperson from the Malta Chamber of Psychologists, which played a part in drafting the recently passed bill, told Malta Today that it is proud of its role in helping to outlaw a practice it considers inhumane.

“As a body we promote respect and equality for all persons, and are determined to continue working towards ensuring our clients can enjoy as safe a therapeutic experience as they deserve.”

In the same session, Parliament also passed amendments to the country’s Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act. The changes made will now allow anyone who is 16 years or older to have their gender legally changed without parental approval or having to file an application in court.

Source: huffingtonpost.com

Bill outlawing gay conversion therapy approved

Parliament approves Bill presented by the ministry for civil liberties which criminalises conversion practices

The Maltese parliament has approved the Affirmation of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression Bill, which will see conversion practices criminalised and categorised as a deceptive and harmful act.

Amendments to the Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Acts were also approved.

Under the Affirmation of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression Bill, conversion practices, and their advertising, will be met with fines and the potentially a prison sentence.  

In addition to this, the Bill affirms that no sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression constitutes a disorder, disease or shortcoming of any sort.

The changes to the Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act, will allow non-Maltese individuals who are detained to have their lived gender recognised. In addition to this, the bill will also lower the age at which persons may request a change in gender. The amendments will allow anyone who is sixteen years or older to have their gender changed without needing to file an application in Court and will not require parental approval.

The Malta Chamber of Psychologists (MCP) welcomed the law banning the “inhumane” gay conversion therapy. 

The Bill, which enjoyed the unanimous support of all MPs, will see people who attempt to change, repress or eliminate a person’s sexual orientation receive a fine ranging between €1,000 and €5,000 or a jail term of five months.

A spokesperson for the MCP said “the Malta Chamber of Psychologists (MCP), The Maltese Association of Psychiatry (MAP), The Malta Association of Family Therapy & Systemic Practice (MAFT–SP), as well as the Malta Association for the Counselling Profession (MACP)are together, very proud to have played an integral part in the drafting of this bill, which openly disapproves of practices which are harmful to people in our community.”

Describing gay conversion as “inhumane,” the MCP said “not only does it reject a group of individuals on the basis of unfound prejudice and lack of tolerance for diversity, but also because it impinges on the international recognition of LGBTIQ rights; also supported by progressive trends to depathologise such individuals from mental health statistical manual classifications.”

“As a body we promote respect and equality for all persons, and are determined to continue working towards ensuring our clients can enjoy as safe a therapeutic experience as they deserve,” the statement added.

Source: maltatoday.com.mt

Psychologists welcome criminalisation of ‘inhumane’ gay conversion therapy

The Malta Chamber of Psychologists proud to have played central role in the drafting of bill banning gay conversion therapy

The Malta Chamber of Psychologists (MCP) welcomed the law banning the “inhumane” gay conversion therapy. 

The Bill, which enjoyed the unanimous support of all MPs, will see people who attempt to change, repress or eliminate a person’s sexual orientation receive a fine ranging between €1,000 and €5,000 or a jail term of five months.

A spokesperson for the MCP said “the Malta Chamber of Psychologists (MCP), The Maltese Association of Psychiatry (MAP), The Malta Association of Family Therapy & Systemic Practice (MAFT –SP), as well as the Malta Association for the Counselling Profession (MACP)are together, very proud to have played an integral part in the drafting of this bill, which openly disapproves of practices which are harmful to people in our community.”

Describing gay conversion as “inhumane,” the MCP said “not only does it reject a group of individuals on the basis of unfound prejudice and lack of tolerance for diversity, but also because it impinges on the international recognition of LGBTIQ rights; also supported by progressive trends to depathologise such individuals from mental health statistical manual classifications.”

“As a body we promote respect and equality for all persons, and are determined to continue working towards ensuring our clients can enjoy as safe a therapeutic experience as they deserve,” the statement added.

Source: maltatoday.com.mt

Five Major Gains for LGBTQ Rights in 2016

From bathrooms and beauty pageants to diplomatic disputes and Donald Trump’s U.S. presidential victory, 2016 was a turbulent year for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people worldwide.

Gay and transgender rights took more prominence than ever in the global media spotlight after several high-profile legal battles, and celebrity and cultural endorsements.

Yet LGBTQ people worldwide still face discrimination in many aspects of life such as employment, education and health care, and are subjected to widespread violence, advocates say.

However, gay and transgender rights groups are being increasingly backed, and are fighting to change policies and laws to protect LGBTQ people from violence and discrimination.

Here are five of the biggest gains for LGBTQ rights in 2016:

1) UNITED NATIONS APPOINTS FIRST LGBTQ RIGHTS INVESTIGATOR

The United Nations in September appointed its first LGBTQ rights independent investigator to help protect sexual and gender minorities worldwide from violence and discrimination.

Vitit Muntarbhorn’s three-year role was created by the U.N. Human Rights Council amid objections by Muslim countries, and several African states who sought to have his work suspended.

Yet Muntarbhorn told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that even those countries perceived as the most virulent opponents of LGBTQ rights may in fact have pockets of openness and tolerance.

RELATED: United Nations Narrowly Votes to Keep LGBTQ Envoy

Muntarbhorn, an international law professor who has served on many U.N. bodies, including inquiries on Syria and as a special rapporteur on North Korea, also said he does not see his task in terms of how many people he might represent worldwide.

“One person might be affected 10, 20, 100 times … bullied at a young age, can’t go to toilet, laughed at, tortured, ultimately killed and defamed at the same time,” Muntarbhorn said. “How many violations can you count?”

2) MALTA BANS CONVERSION THERAPY TO LEAD WAY IN EUROPE

Malta became the first country in Europe to ban conversion therapy, a much-criticized and discredited practice that aims to change sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

The southern Mediterranean island nation criminalized conversion practices — often referred to as “gay cure” therapies — with its parliament calling it a “deceptive and harmful act”.

Those who prescribe or perform the therapy can be punished with fines of up to 10,000 euros ($10,400) and one year in jail.

Malta is widely considered as one of the most progressive nations in Europe when it comes to LGBTQ rights, having made a raft of legal and social changes in recent years.

It has introduced LGBTQ-inclusive education, passed same-sex civil unions and allowed transgender people to change their legal gender without any medical or state intervention.

Conversion therapy is still legal in most countries worldwide, but has been banned in several American states.

3) U.S. CELEBRITIES, CORPORATIONS BOYCOTT NORTH CAROLINA OVER TRANS BATHROOM LAW

Entertainers such as Bruce Springsteen and companies ranging from PayPal to Deutsche Bank have pulled events and jobs from North Carolina to protest a law restricting bathroom access for transgender people in government buildings and public schools.

North Carolina in March became the only state in the country to require transgender people to use state-owned public restrooms and changing facilities that correspond with the sex on their birth certificate rather than their gender identity.

Transgender rights have become an increasingly divisive issue in the United States, and the use of public bathrooms has been a flashpoint in the controversy over the past year.

Republican lawmakers cited privacy and security concerns when they passed the law, but critics say the bill, which also blocks local measures protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination, is stigmatizing, insulting and unconstitutional.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory earlier this month conceded the state’s contested gubernatorial race to Democrat Roy Cooper, four weeks after the Nov. 8 election that many saw as a referendum on the transgender bathroom law.

4) BELIZE SCRAPS COLONIAL-ERA ANTI-HOMOSEXUALITY LAW

Belize’s Supreme Court in September ruled that a colonial-era law criminalizing homosexuality was unconstitutional, in a judgment LGBTQ activists say will boost efforts to abolish anti-gay laws in other former British colonies in the Caribbean.

The law, which punished gay sex with up to 10 years in prison, was scrapped after years of advocacy by the gay rights activist Caleb Orozco of the United Belize Advocacy Movement.

RELATED: Belize Supreme Court Overturns Anti-Gay Law

Belize became the third country to decriminalize gay sex in 2016, along with the South Pacific island of Nauru and the Seychelles, an Indian Ocean archipelago, according to the U.S.-based Human Rights Campaign.

Yet it remains illegal in more than 70 countries worldwide, most of which are former British colonies, the gay rights group said.

5) BEAUTY PAGEANTS, FILM INDUSTRY SHINE SPOTLIGHT ON LGBTQ ISSUES

From the first openly lesbian Miss America contestant and Israel’s inaugural transgender beauty pageant to Emmy awards for the hit transgender TV series “Transparent”, the entertainment industry is shining a bigger spotlight on LGBTQ stars and issues.

The popularity of shows in recent years like “Orange Is the New Black” and movies such as “The Danish Girl”, which feature transgender stars or focus on issues facing gay and transgender people, have seen LGBTQ rights become mainstream in the media.

Yet this success comes amid controversy within the LGBTQ community over how transgender people are portrayed, and over the casting of straight men and women in transgender roles.

“I would be happy if I were the last cisgender male to play a transgender female,” actor Jeffrey Tambour said in September in his acceptance speech after winning an Emmy for his portrayal of transgender woman Moiré Pfeiffer in “Transparent.”

Source: nbcnews.com


Id-dinja tirrapporta dwar bidla f’Malta

Aġenziji tal-aħbarijiet u ġurnali elettroniċi madwar id-dinja qed jirrapportaw b’mod propminenti dwar kif Malta saret l-ewwel pajjiż li għamlet illegali dik li jingħad li hija terapija biex tinbidel is-sesswalità ta’ persuni gay.

The Guardian, Reuters, il-BBC, Russia Today u l-bosta siti elettroniċi dwar id-drittijiet ta’ persuni gay kollha qed jiktbu bi prominenza dwar il-liġi li approva l-Parlament Malti. Jirreferu għal kif diversi rapporti jħarsu lejn kif assoċjazzjonijiet psikjatriċi f’diversi pajjiżi, fosthom fir-Renju Unit u l-Istati Uniti jemmnu li din it-tip ta’ terapija hija waħda perikoluża.

Il-Kulleġġ Rjali tal-Psikjatri fir-Renju Unit u l-entitajiet li jirrappreżentaw psikologi u counsellors ffimaw dikjarazzjoni fejn iddeskrivew din it-tip ta’ terapija bħala perikoluża u mhix xjentifikament pruvata.

L-istess qalu l-esperi fl-Istati Uniti. Peró minkejja dawn id-dikjarazzjonijiet ċari huma ftit il-pajjiżi li ħadu l-pass li ħa l-Gvern Malti meta ressaq din il-liġi. Liġi li permezz tagħha saru reat kriminali dawk li jissejħu ‘conversion practices’.

Huwa reat kriminali wkoll li titratta lejn l-orjentazzjoni sesswali bħala xi ħaġa li għandha bżonn trattament mediku, jew li hija medikament jew psikoloġikament mhux normali.

Source: one.com.mt

Malta Outlaws ‘Conversion Therapy,’ a First in Europe

The Mediterranean island nation of Malta has become the first European country to criminalize therapeutic methods that purport to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, the government and activist groups said.

That measure was one aspect of far-reaching legislation approved by Parliament on Monday that also includes provisions that support transgender rights. In a statement, the government said the two bills “prohibit the pathologization of any sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”

The first bill focused on so-called conversion therapy, a discredited collection of quasi-psychoanalytic methods that aim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It is also sometimes known as “reparative therapy” or, when religious methods are used, “ex-gay ministry.”

Conversion therapy has been increasingly in the spotlight in the weeks since Donald J. Trump won the United States presidential election because of speculation that his running mate, Vice President-elect Mike Pence, supports the practice. Mr. Pence has denied that is the case.

In Malta, the new law imposes fines and jail terms “on those advertising, offering, performing or referring an individual to another person which performs” any practice “which aims to change, repress or eliminate a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.” It said “no sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression constitutes a disorder, disease or shortcoming of any sort.”

Malta Today, a local media organization, reported that violators would face fines as high as $5,383 or five months in jail.You have 2 free articles remaining.Subscribe to The Times

The second act focused on gender identity and the rights of transgender people.

It lowered the age at which people can change their gender on government documents without the consent of a parent or guardian to 16 from 18.

The measure also allows what the government called “non-Maltese individuals who are currently detained in gender segregated facilities” to secure an affidavit attesting to their gender identity which can then be used to request housing that accords with that identity instead of the gender on their birth certificate.

Malta is the smallest European Union member state by population, with just over 420,000 people, and it has been praised for its record on gay and transgender rights before.

In a report issued in May, the European arm of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association called the country, which lies in the Mediterranean between Italy and Libya, the most gay-friendly in Europe.

“With the adoption of these bills Malta continues to be at the forefront of trans rights in Europe,” Transgender Europe, an advocacy group, said in a statement.

Graeme Reid, the director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch, said he believed Malta was the first European country to enact a ban on conversion therapy, although he said others regulate the practice through other means, including professional medical associations.

“Any psychiatric treatment that sets out to change sexual orientation or gender identity is not only wrongheaded, but harmful,” he said.

Both measures were supported by a range of mental health organizations in Malta, including the Malta Chamber of Psychologists and the Maltese Association of Psychiatry.

In a statement, the groups said they were “very proud to have played an integral part in the drafting of this bill, which openly disapproves of practices which are harmful to people in our community.”

Source: nytimes.com



Malta becomes first European country to ban ‘gay cure’ therapy

Under new law anyone found guilty of trying to change, repress or eliminate a person’s sexual orientation faces fine or jail

Malta has become the first country in Europe to ban gay conversion therapy after the parliament in Valetta unanimously approved a bill outlawing attempts to “cure” homosexuals of their sexuality.

Under the new Affirmation of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression Act, anyone found guilty of trying to “change, repress or eliminate a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression” will face fines or a jail sentence.

Practising medical professionals who prescribe “gay cure” therapies could face fines of up to €10,000 (£8510) and a jail term of up to a year, with lesser fines of €1,000 to €5,000 and shorter sentences available to judges in other cases, Malta Today reported.

The Mediterranean island nation has launched a number of progressive social reforms since its Labour government was elected in 2013, and has twice been named the European country that best respects the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people by the advocacy group ILGA-Europe.

The new law also decrees that “no sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression constitutes a disorder, disease or shortcoming of any sort”, and lowers to 16 the age at which people can request a change in gender without their parents’ approval. 

Supporters of gay conversion therapy argue it uses common psychological or counselling techniques to help people voluntarily change their sexual orientation, but the practice is widely condemned. 

In Britain, the NHS, Royal College of Psychiatrists and all leading counselling and psychotherapy bodies have signed a joint statement describing it as unethical, unscientific and potentially dangerous. 

According to the LGBT rights group Stonewall, a 2009 survey of 1,300 mental health professionals in the UK found that more than 200 had offered some form of conversion therapy to patients referred to them by GPs and NHS practices.

In the US, where the practice is banned on minors in several states, the American Psychiatric Association has said it opposes any treatment “based on the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or … that a patient should change his/her homosexual orientation”.

Professional bodies representing Malta’s psychologists, psychiatrists, family therapists and counsellors welcomed the bill barring what they called an “inhumane” practice, saying in a joint statement that they were “very proud to have played an integral part” in drafting it. 

Gay conversion therapy “not only rejects a group of individuals on the basis of unfounded prejudice and lack of tolerance for diversity, but also impinges on the international recognition of LGBTIQ rights”, the associations added.

“As a body we promote respect and equality for all persons, and are determined to continue working towards ensuring our clients can enjoy as safe a therapeutic experience as they deserve,” their statement said.

Source: theguardian.com