The Malta Independent 10 December 2018, Monday

How the gender neutral ‘X’ option and the gender identity law work together

Helena Grech Thursday, 7 September 2017, 09:15 Last update: about 2 years ago

Through the introduction of the gender neutral ‘X’ marking on official identification documents, together with changes from the newly introduced Gender Identity Act, some considerations must be made on how these two legislative changes work together.

The Gender Identity Act saw changes in regulation surrounding identity registration. For instance, prior to this Act, the state required parents to register the name and gender of their child in the first 15 days of their birth. Now however, the state merely requires you to register the name of your child, and allows the option of leaving the gender blank.

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As from tomorrow, a person over the age of 18 may freely make a sworn statement before a notary, and present that statement to Identity Malta in order to change the ‘M’ or ‘F’ gender category to an ‘X’, reflecting a gender neutral identification.

Prior to the introduction of the gender neutral ‘X’ marking on passports, ID cards and residence permits, for those who choose to do so, a situation existed where a gender had to be declared when the parents needed to register their child for a passport or ID card, as minors.

With this change to the law, all parents who choose to register the name of the child and not the gender, will automatically have that child’s passport or ID card marked with an ‘X’, to denote gender neutral.

Between the ages of 16 and 18, Policy Advisor Silvan Agius says that this is a “hybrid period”, but that ultimately the youngster can apply to be gendered is they already have an ‘X’ in their identity documents.

The law is crystal clear in that after the age of 18, the state requires you to have a registered gender, be it male, female or X.

Malta was the first country to have the law affirm the right to gender identity recognition and self-determination. This was intended to promoting the polices of anti-discrimination and equality.

Under the PL government, the country has made significant strides in legally acknowledging the LGBTQI community.

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