The Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement (MGRM) alongside Allied Rainbow Communities, Drachma, LGBTI+ Gozo, Aditus, Checkpoint Malta, Moviment Graffitti and MMSA gathered in front of The Honorary Consulate of The Slovak Republic in Valletta on Thursday 4th May 2023 to show solidarity with the transgender community in Slovakia and to express concern about the proposed bill that would make legal gender recognition impossible in Slovakia. MGRM co-coordinator Cynthia Chircop spoke out against the bill, which would require transgender individuals to undergo a genetic test to prove that their gender was incorrectly determined at birth, a test that would be virtually impossible for most transgender individuals to pass.
Chircop emphasised that the proposed bill would not only deprive transgender people of the opportunity to have their gender identity recognized legally but also goes against the right to self-determination and international human rights law. “The intention of this law is clear; to dehumanise, oppress and erase the transgender community,” said Chircop. “It will increase the risk of bullying, discrimination and violence that they already face. Everyone should be treated equally in front of the law, regardless of their gender identity.”
MGRM called on the Maltese government to put pressure on the Slovak government to reject this bill. “Malta has been a leader in LGBTIQ rights in Europe with the most progressive laws protecting the LGBTIQ community for the past seven years,” said Chircop. “These laws and policies have allowed the transgender community in Malta to live their lives openly, access healthcare and support to affirm their identity, and contribute to society.”
Chircop also highlighted the negative consequences of anti-trans legislation and policies in countries like the US, Hungary, and Poland. “We know what hate and intolerance lead to; violence, erosion of democracy, and destruction. We need to take action today,” said Chircop.
MGRM invited Maltese MEPs and elected officials to take action to support transgender rights in Slovakia, including urging the Slovak government to withdraw the bill. “Being a passive bystander is being complicit to oppression, even if it’s not in our own country. Silence is not an option because transgender rights are human rights. And human rights belong to everyone,” said Chircop.
MGRM believes that the Maltese government, which is responsible for the world’s most progressive LGBTIQ laws, has an important story to tell about how Malta’s laws have led to a better quality of life for LGBTIQ people. By bringing forward tangible impacts that trans legislation in Malta has had on the LGBTIQ community, MEPs and the Maltese government can use their influence and legal powers to persuade the Slovak government to withdraw the bill.
MGRM and other LGBTIQ rights organisations will continue to monitor the situation in Slovakia and call for the protection of transgender rights.
“ACTIVITIES: ought to involve sunglasses.” Well, that’s what it says on Will Grayson’s IM page.
Will Grayson has three rules. Rule 1: Shut up 2: Don’t care too much 3: Never kiss a girl you like. Being prone to not following these rules, he reminds himself of them walking out the school doors swung open by the hip of his not-so-tiny friend Tiny. The brisk chill of Chicago slivering up the sleeve of his jacket after being sat for hours watching rehearsals for Tiny’s musical that he has to witness ever since Tiny roped him into joining the gay-straight alliance club. Tiny’s flamboyancy is typically a great deal of annoyance for Will, especially when it includes serenading him at his locker for the whole hall to hear or when he sets him up with Jane – the “straight” side of the gay-straight alliance… though he might have been right in the end about that one.
In the meantime, Will Grayson, a self-identified depressive fuck up who runs on coffee he stole off his friend Maura, sits at his computer in his room in the suburbs waiting for a very specific person to go online. Will doesn’t get excited about much, yet when the clock on the classroom wall strikes 2pm, he lets himself be hopeful that the school day is coming to an end, nearing him closer to his only solace, Isaac. Will only knows Isaac though IM – messaging in spurts between Isaac using the computer at the music shop he works at and late into the night. Admittedly, he’s fallen for Isaac, which brings me to the one rule that Will Grayson has: Never wish for things. A rule learnt soon after his dad left when he was a kid. His only exception to this rule is his wish to meet Isaac face to face.
Then one cold night, when Will finds himself in a most unlikely corner of Chicago after being left by his friends for a concert he couldn’t get into, he crosses paths with a stranger brimming with the nerves of supposedly finally meeting the person he’s fallen for.
Told in alternating voices from two award-winning authors, John Green and David Levithan, this unique collaboration features two teens with the same name unbeknownst to the other’s existence who soon find their lives going in unexpected directions.
Each alternate chapter is either written from the perspective of either Will Grayson, or will grayson, defined by the latter Grayson having no capitalisation throughout the entire chapter, easily keeping the reader knowing from who’s perspective it is they’re reading.
Included in the pages are some very gay lyrics from Tiny’s musical and thoughts of the teens that will make you, quite literally, laugh out loud.
Culminating humour, and the most fabulous musical ever to grace the high-school stage told in a lively and light-hearted manner, this novel is surely an interesting adventure to read.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson is available to loan at our Rainbow Library. Open every Tuesday & Thursday from 3-6pm excluding public holidays.
Alongside a publication, this year we will be celebrating Katya Saunders’ life through an exhibition, visualizing her story through her fashion, photographs and mementos.
Being one of the first trans women in Malta, Katya Saunders was a trailblazer and an icon for Malta’s LGBTIQ+ movement. Katya was better known for her iconic fashion, modelling experience and cabaret performances but when she passed away in 2019, it quickly emerged there was more than meets the eye.In absence of voluntary organisations, and at a time when trans identities remained controversial, Katya quickly created her own support system, sheltering friends and young people who became homeless. Through her actions, her friends insist that Katya metaphorically laid down the red carpet for today’s LGBTIQ scene, to be able to safely come out and live their lives.
MGRM has also secured the support of Katya’s friends and family, which will give this project a complete picture.
Aims of the project
The exhibition aims to celebrate and immortalise Katya’s life and fashion, whilst unveiling the story of an important figure in local LGBTIQ history. Friends and family of Katya donated her belongings to MGRM, including photographs, several gowns, jewellery, shoes, and accessories. While doing so, the exhibition will also highlight the impact she left on the local LGBTIQ+ community.
Terms of Reference
– To determine, after consulting the MGRM’s team, the content and form of the exhibition.
– To collect and gather material from Katya’s loved ones, and suggest new content when needed.
– To work closely with the author of the publication, and any videographer or photographer, in order to strengthen the curatorial concept, interlinking both aspects of the project.
– To bear in mind the context of the exhibition and where it is to be held.
– Coordinate with MGRM’s team and provide critical input to the exhibition project as well as collect key information and media materials.
– Attend openings and assist with set up/takedown, greet visitors, and communicate about the exhibition.
– Attend discussions/talks in order to bring more online visibility to the exhibition
– In this and all of its projects, MGRM prioritises sustainability and would request that choices and decisions made are not detrimental to the environment.
Bidders must submit a CV, a quotation, and portfolio with relevant curatorial experience while also demonstrating the ability to produce the work being contracted to the high quality being sought.
– Quality of Portfolio presented
– Knowledge of LGBTIQ issues and LGBTIQ affirmative approach
– Technical and Financial Bid
Maximum funding available is of Eur 1,000 inclusive of VAT.
All intellectual property rights belong to MGRM, and the respective donors of Katya Saunders’ materials.
Individuals may propose working jointly with one or more persons given the tight deadlines envisaged. This must be clearly stated in their submission. Bidders are to attach CV’s of each expert.
Following the adjudication, any subcontracting to third parties other than the selected service provider/s needs to be approved in writing by MGRM other than for technical elements such as translations or proof reading.
Bids are to be sent to MGRM on email@example.com. For any queries, please contact Robert Attardon +356 99255559. Deadline is 1st April 2022.
Call Deadline Application
1st April 2022
Contract of selected service provider
8th April 2022
Gathering data and merging of data
29th April 2022
Presentation ideas of a possible artistic concept for the exhibition
6th May 2022
Final draft/ decision of the artistic concept
17th June 2022
Selection of resources
8th July 2022
Printing and framing
5th August 2022
Exhibition set up
30 – 31st August 2022
2nd – 11th September 2022
This project has been funded through the Voluntary Organisations Project Scheme managed by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector.
As LGBTIQ persons, we are defined by more than our sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics. Being an LGBTIQ organisation, we sought to highlight those proposals made by all parties* in their electoral manifestos which directly impact LGBTIQ rights, or which formed part of the Coalition’s Election Proposals.
This document emphasises proposals made, and is not an endorsement of any political party.
Finally, we feel that casting our vote in general elections brings our year-round activism to a full circle. We urge you to do the same.
Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2021. To celebrate this significant moment, an exhibition was held showcasing MGRM’s activism throughout the past 20 years, and to show its contribution to the transformation seen in the LGBTIQ+ rights in Malta over the last two decades.
Besides the exhibition, MGRM published a book to celebrate and document the work we have done in the past two decades. The book celebrates the advocacy, support and power of volunteering, and the role that volunteers have in making Malta a more inclusive society.
The book includes pictures from the early years of MGRM, to moments of supporting the community and a timeline of key dates in Malta’s Road to LGBTIQ equality. Although most of the work MGRM does is not recorded, these moments are. And we are very excited that these moments will forever be available to share with our members.
If you would like to get this book, you can pick it up for free at the MGRM library (open every Tuesday & Thursday from 3 pm-6 pm), or we can send it to you for €20,- (only delivering in Malta)
Trans weightlifter Laurel Hubbard has met the strict eligibility standards set by the International Olympic Committee and the New Zealand Olympic Committee, and was selected to compete at the upcoming Olympics. This created an international debate on whether trans people, particularly women, hold an unfair advantage. Science shows that this advantage does not exist. We will try to explain why.
A familiar topic
What we are seeing around us mirrors what happened decades ago. Rooted in racism, everyone was fed the belief that white people were intellectually superior, and black people (with all the different ethnicities that fall under it) had an athletic advantage. A self fulfilling prophecy that was created not because black people in general had a genetic advantage, but brought about due to the limited opportunities that such communities had. Throughout the years, even up to this day, people have justified the success of black people in certain sports disciplines by saying that they have a biological advantage. The socioeconomic situation that led to that success is ignored. And as happened in the past, nowadays we see that any success enjoyed by a trans woman athlete is attributed solely to their supposed genetic advantage.
In the meantime, the International Olympic Committee set its first guidelines for trans athletes back in 2003. Between 2003 and now, there were minor changes, the last being in 2015. It took eighteen years for a trans athlete to both meet the criteria and qualify. This is an indication that the argument might be much smaller than it seems.
DNA and XX/XY chromosomes
All these things determine the sex that you’re born as, but they don’t really do much else. They have no effect on our everyday life, because biological processes are mostly determined by the endocrine (and nervous) system. And these hormones released by the endocrine glands can generally be ‘controlled’.
Referring to a trans woman’s body as a male body is incorrect. Uninformed people vastly underestimate how significant these hormones are. Biologically, a trans woman’s body (who undergoes medical transition) functions as a female body. In trans women, if testosterone is properly suppressed, attributes that are generally associated with male strength are very quickly lost, and other things like fat percentage increase in line with female values. Within a few months, bodybuilders can look like they barely ever stepped inside a gym, even if they maintain a certain level of training. And that muscle mass isn’t getting rebuilt as long as hormone levels are maintained. However, in some people it can take longer for muscle mass to significantly diminish, and this is where it might be fair to examine whether the current IOC guidelines should be amended. At the moment, with our limited level of research in this field, it seems like the current framework is correct, as the athletic ability of trans women is far closer to that of cis women than cis men.
Bone structure and other things that do not change with the suppression of testosterone
Firstly, women (and people in general) come in all shapes and sizes. There are cis women with narrow hips, wide shoulders, tall women, short women, and the list goes on. Do we exclude certain cis women from sports because of their shape? Bone density is higher in trans women who have had the effects of testosterone, but those bones need muscle to move, muscle which is diminished through a lack of testosterone. Not only is this not an advantage for trans woman, but it could potentially be a disadvantage when compared to cis women. Hating on a trans woman because they have a deep voice, body hair, and look more masculine (permanent effects of exposure to testosterone) only shows that people are afraid of anyone who doesn’t fit their gender stereotypes.
But VO2 max and lactate threshold and…
Back to our historical context. All of these little arguments was made about black people so you are likely falling in the same trap. We all know that was not right now. or so we hope.
Being trans is unnatural
Instead of producing sex hormones themselves, trans people have to get theirs from an external source. The food we eat, medicines we take, and pretty much everything we do in life is unnatural. Trans people are just as natural and biological as everyone else, and claiming otherwise is dehumanising.
Place trans people in a different category
Sports have never been fair. This is a ridiculous suggestion as human physiological and morphological variance has always been an accepted part of sport. No two people are the same, so should we have categories for age, height, weight, limb length, and whatever else people want to categorise? That’s how you can eliminate unfairness in sport, and it’s also how you end up with no competition as every single person will fall under a different category. Or do we only want to exclude an already marginalised and misunderstood population because we dislike anyone who’s different?
Enough with the hypotheticals
Stop reading (and sharing) disingenous articles about trans athletes who’s main purpose is to create an unfounded fear of trans people. Stop cherry-picking research that you didn’t even read (or understand). Stop claiming that trans women are or will be dominating women’s sports. Where do you see this happening? Trans people have been around and allowed to compete (following certain rules) for many years now. Every few years, whenever a trans athlete makes the headlines (because we only care about trans people when they win something), everyone starts heralding the apocalypse, and yet, we’ve never seen a trans woman be the best in any sport, let alone dominating enough that no other woman has a chance at competing. Men do have a significant advantage over women in pretty much every sport. Trans women, however, do not.
Trans male athletes exist, but we hear less about them for various reasons. Firstly, society and media is obsessed with women and their bodies. Trans women have always received much more attention because we still live in a misogynistic society where being male is superior. Secondly, environmental effects, wherein trans men who grew up as girls are less likely to take sport seriously because of gender stereotypes. Thirdly, nowadays most people transition in their 20s, and then they have to wait for the effects of testosterone, train, and bulk up, always playing catchup with cis men, so they don’t win (also because men’s sports are much more saturated). Comparatively, trans women are ‘going backwards’ in athletic ability, which is easier.
Fear and prejudice
For the vast majority of people, when they think of a trans athlete, they think of a hulking testosterone filled man who one day just decides to compete against women because it’s easy. Whenever anyone does that, all they’re doing is showing how uninformed and hateful they are, because to them, a trans person will never be anything but their assigned gender. This is an issue that goes beyond sport, and the topic of trans athletes is used to disguise general transphobia.
Having different opinions about this topic and discussing the research related to it is good. However, most people I’ve seen commenting about it are unable to do so without resorting to insults and misgendering of trans people.
Remember that typically, trans women use the female pronouns She/Her, whilst trans men use the pronouns He/Him.
Whether you like it or not, trans people are here to stay, in sport and every other aspect of society.
MGRM and HIV Malta in collaboration with a research team from the University of Malta is conducting a study that aims to explore the stigma of people living with HIV in Malta and in this way, demystify issues related to HIV. The main objective of this study is to increase awareness of this significant social issue through collaboration with MGRM, people affected with HIV and artists.
You are invited to complete an anonymous online survey, which is expected to take approximately 10 minutes. Your participation in this study is voluntary, and does not involve any known or anticipated risks. You are free to stop participating at any time without any consequences. You may also choose to partially complete any question before moving on to the next one. Before you submit the survey, you may review and modify your answers.
You will find information on further participation in this study at the end of the survey.
Please complete the survey by 25th August 2020
Please click on this link to take the survey LINK: