31 MPs in the Lithuanian Parliament registered a legislative proposal, which aims at banning legal gender recognition (i.e. change of identity documents for transgender persons) and all medical procedures pertaining to gender reassignment treatment.
This proposal stands in a sharp contrast with the jurisprudence of the national courts, granting legal gender recognition based on self-identification of a trans individual and corresponding mental diagnosis. If approved, Lithuania would become the only country within the broader region of the Council of Europe with an explicit ban on gender reassignment procedure.
The proposal No. XIIIP-1327 seeks to amend the Article 2.27 of the Civil Code and to establish the following:
1. Sex is genetically predefined characteristic of a person. Legal grounds for assigning one’s sex (either masculine or feminine) are based on genetically determined sex.
2. Pharmacological and surgical procedures, as well as psychiatric and psychological counselling, seeking to change genetically determined sex of a person (i.e. gender reassignment), are prohibited in the Republic of Lithuania.
The civil society organizations in Lithuania are of the position that this radical proposal by the group of 31 MPs has been tabled as a response to the progressive draft Law on Recognition of Gender Identity, registered by the Ministry of Justice on November 3rd, 2013.
The draft Law on Recognition of Gender Identity seeks to establish an administrative procedure, which would enable trans persons to change their identity documents based on their self-identification and corresponding mental diagnosis.
No medical intervention would be required. This progressive legislative proposal is fully compatible with the jurisprudence of the national courts on granting legal gender recognition for transgender persons.
The draft Law on Recognition of Gender Identity is fully supported by the local transgender community and human rights organizations in Lithuania.
“Transgender community and human rights organizations are terrified by this radical proposal to ban legal gender recognition procedure and all medical procedures pertaining to gender reassignment treatment,” – commented Tomas V. Raskevičius, Policy Coordination (Human Rights) of the National LGBT* Rights Organization LGL.
“One-fifth of the Lithuanian MPs have undersigned the legislative proposal, which completely disregards scientific, legal and social realities of transgender persons in our country. It is high time the elected officials stopped inciting “moral panic” and started protecting human rights of Lithuanian citizens regardless of their gender identity and expression.”
In 2007 the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in the case L. v. Lithuania concluded that legislative gap on gender reassignment in Lithuania constitutes a violation of the Convention.
Due to lack of actions by the public authorities, the case was transferred to the enhanced supervision procedure in September 2014.
In March 2017 the Lithuanian Government ordered the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Health to prepare the necessary legislation with the view of enabling gender reassignment procedure in the country.
In April 2017 the national courts in a groundbreaking decision removed the requirement for transgender persons to undergo gender reassignment surgery with the view of changing personal identification documents.
At the moment Lithuania remains one of the few European jurisdictions, where there is no administrative procedure for legal gender recognition.
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