The Malta Independent 22 October 2020, Thursday

Gender neutral people can change identity documents to X, replacing male or female

Helena Grech Tuesday, 5 September 2017, 12:48 Last update: about 4 years ago

As from tomorrow, anybody who does not identify with the traditional male or female classification on their IDs, passports or residence permits can now opt for the gender neutral ‘X’ grouping.

Minister for European Affairs and Equality Helena Dalli and Parliamentary Secretary for reform Julia Portelli Farrugia this morning addressed a press conference where they announced this change will be in effect from tomorrow and also detailed the practical aspects of the process.

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Dalli said that she is proud of how in the first 100 days of this legislature, concrete steps have been taken to strengthen the right of the individual.

“This is a licence that allowed you to be whoever you want to be”, she said.

It is a way for government to recognise and legally acknowledge the differences in people who do not identify themselves with a specific gender. In the past, Dalli said that without this availability, Maltese society had 1st class citizens – those who transcribe to traditional gender forms, and 2nd class citizens, those whose differences are not legally recognized by the state.

“No legislature should impose their views on an individual’s right to choose,” Dalli said.

On her part, Portelli Farrugia explained that in order to effect the change on official documentations such as ID cards, passports or residence permits, one has to make a sworn statement before a notary. The statement must then be presented to Identity Malta, where the normal procedures to acquire a new document is then employed.

She thanked the legal and technical team within Identity Malta for working tirelessly over the past few weeks to bring everything ready for this big move.

Asked about the international recognition of the gender neutral X marking, policy advisor Silvan Agius from Dalli’s ministry explained that Malta is not the first country to do this, and that international systems in place already recognise it.

Dalli jumped in to highlight how Germany has gone so far as to not have any gender markings for any documentation, meaning there is no ‘M’ for male, ‘F’ for female or X for gender neutral.

Minors would require a signature from their parents as is standard practice to get any form of identity documentation under more traditional circumstances.

 

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