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Gender change legislation tabled

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Cypriots seeking to change their gender identity will soon be able to do so after Justice Minister Stephie Dracos tabled a bill enabling anyone over 16 to switch their sexual identity.

The bill was tabled by Dracos on Wednesday before the House Legal Committee, with the minister expressing her satisfaction.

“This is a pioneering bill, which was a commitment of the government and established a clear legal framework, with transparent and easily accessible procedures for the legal recognition of a person’s gender identity,” she said.

She said the bill’s purpose is to secure every person’s right to legal recognition of their gender identity, without the need for invasive procedures, but based on self-determination.

Dracos noted that the law’s introduction is an obligation as a member of the European Union and the Council of Europe under the European Convention for Human Rights.

“With the term “gender identity” we mean how the person experiences their gender, regardless of their assigned gender at birth, based on their biological characteristics.”

A person is not required to provide proof of a surgical procedure for total or partial genital reassignment, hormone therapy or any other psychiatric, psychological, or medical treatment.

The bill provides for changing registered gender details on all official documents, including identity cards, passports, voter books, and birth certificates, so that they correspond to the gender experienced by the person in question.

A written application is needed for issuing a legal gender identification certificate to the Registrar (Cypriot citizen) or the Director of the Population Record Department (Cypriots born abroad or refugees residing in the Republic).

The application is accompanied by an affidavit signed in person before a District Court Registrar, indicating the desired gender and first and last name while declaring they submit the application of their own free will and understand the consequences of the procedure.

It is a condition, however, that the applicant is not married.

The right to legal gender identity recognition is granted to (a) Cypriot citizens, including minors over the age of 16, (b) Cypriots born abroad but registered in the Population and Migration Register and (c) refugees.

In the case of underaged teenagers, the parents or legal guardians must appeal to the Family Court, which will refer the case to a special committee.

The bill makes any intervention surgery to reassign the gender of a minor illegal, with the exemption of cases where the child’s life is at risk.