Government working to promote LGBTQ+ rights

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Government efforts to protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ group have gone from words to deeds, argued Justice Minister Stephie Dracou at the 8th Pride Parade in Nicosia.

She said the Cabinet had approved a bill to legally recognise gender identity for transexual persons.

And Cyprus is moving closer to the standards for Equality, and Human Rights set out by European and international organisations.

Dracou also said that in 2021 the government prepared the first national strategy to improve the quality of life for LGBTQ+ persons in all aspects of life, including education, work, health, culture and sports.

In February, a memorandum of cooperation was signed with the UK to undertake common initiatives and actions to protect and further promote the rights of LGBTQ+ persons, concentrating on the workplace.

Another step forward is the approval by the Cabinet of the bill to legally recognise gender for the trans community.

The bill was signed on 14 September and forwarded to the House of Representatives for discussion and approval.

“Thus, one of the most important commitments in our national strategy is becoming a reality”, Dracou said.

“This bill is innovative and in line with the principles of the Council of Europe and the EU and was a government commitment.

“Transgender people will be able to initiate procedures to change their official gender and name without having to undergo surgical procedures or psychiatric assessments.

“We know a great deal of work is pending to end all forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity”.

She argued that tackling prejudice and discrimination is not only a matter of legislation but also a cultural issue.

“The aim is to have a society which will not exclude or discriminate, and all individuals will enjoy equal rights.”

Hundreds of activists turned the streets of Nicosia into a sea of rainbows on Sunday on a pride march in a push for equal rights irrespective of sexual orientation.

“Marriage for all” was the slogan of a parade through the capital Nicosia.

Marriage of same-sex couples is not permitted in Cyprus, while same-sex civil partnerships with limited rights are legal.

Activists say a lack of a family law framework for same-sex couples deprives them of the right to adopt children or give equal parental rights to a couple in a same-sex civil partnership.

Other concerns included legal gender change recognition on state documents, which has been pending since 2015.