5 February 2021

Changing gender in Malta: Mediterranean self-id against women

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Few will be aware of this, but from 2015 in Malta you can change your gender (masculine to feminine or feminine to masculine) with a simple self-declarationi.e. without diagnosis, expertise, drug therapy or surgery. Among the countries where self-id is in force Malta is the one geographically and culturally closest to Italy. (assuming that Spain does not soon approve the Ley Trans).

Gender identity is the lintel of Zan's law on homobi-transphobiawhich has already been approved by the Chamber of Deputies: Zan does not introduce self-id, but creates the premises for it. A bill drafted by the Trans Identity Movement is already ready., you can read it here. It should also be remembered that self-id was recently rejected in the UK.

Maltese friend Rosa Borg tells us how things are going in that country. A country already afflicted by very heavy machismo: backward, therefore, on the women's rights front, but apparently 'very advanced' on the LGBT+ rights front.. And women caught in the pincer


Since when has gender self-identification (self-id) been law in Malta? Which groups have supported the passing of the law? And have there been any alternative proposals?

Malta is a bipartisan and highly polarised country. As with other highly controversial issues, this issue has been used for political gain. After the electoral victory of the ruling party (PL) in 2013 the Constitution was changed and now gender identity' is a protected category.  Thanks to the "Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act'. of 2015, anyone can change their gender identity without the need to take hormones, have surgery, etc. He simply has to sign a declaration and a registered deed. For young people under the age of 16, parental consent is required. Since this act and the "Civil Unions Act of 2014'. regulating civil unions became law almost at the same time, the objections of the Catholic Church and other bodies focused on same-sex marriage, and particularly on adoption by same-sex couples rather than gender self-identification. The Labour Party and LGBT organisations were infiltrated by the state, particularly the ruling party, and did everything they could to ensure that gender self-identification became law. 

How does the Gender Self-Identification Act affect women's and girls' rights and spaces, sports, participation in politics and so on? Has this law had any effect on violence against women and especially lesbian women? 

Since the law has been in force, our spaces are accessible to anyone who says she is a woman. We have the first male candidates claiming to be women in national and European elections. In general, violence against women is a serious problem in Malta. In 2017 Daphne Caruana Galizia, investigative journalist, was assassinated by a car bomb. Activists demonstrating for justice for Daphne were harassed verbally and physically and their personal details were leaked online. A member of the government compared the demonstrators to prostitutes, an MP threatened to 'smash' a colleague (in Maltese when those words are addressed to a woman they have a meaning of sexual assault)but instead of sanctioning him, he was given an award, a medal. Is it not necessary to get justice for Daphne? IIt is not easy to be a woman in Parliament, instead of constructive debates, sexist insults abound. A recently proposed law to reduce the representation gap between elected men and women excludes smaller parties, so it does not affect women who are not members of the two main parties. A member of the government said that in order to reduce this imbalance popular and unpretentious' female candidates are needed. It is therefore not surprising that out of 67 parliamentarians only 9 are women. In Malta abortion is illegal. The wage gap between men and women is about 15%. Prostitution is about to be decriminalised and according to the latest analysis by GREVIO (expert group on domestic violence, part of the Council of Europe) there is still a lot to be done regarding the domestic violence. There have also been several incidents of violence against men who identify themselves as women, so qhis law does not even help those it is supposed to protect, and it certainly does not benefit women. Lesbian and bisexual women are particularly vulnerable, both because many of those who are directed to take hormones or undergo surgery are lesbian or bisexual, and because the LGBTQI+ organisations that should be their point of reference and support repeat the mantra of Stonewall and other similar organisations, focusing their work on the 'trans' agenda.

What do the statistics show since the law on gender self-identification has been in force?

As far as is known the number of women who are using 'gender clinic' services has quadrupled. I say as far as we know because the publication of statistics is sporadic. Last year's statistics have not yet been fully published. Judging by the number of women who regret taking hormones and the hasty way in which they were directed to take them, I am afraid we are in for a shock. 

Who opposes gender self-identification in Malta?

Here in Malta the "misgendering'. (referring to the biological sex of the person identifying with the opposite sex) is an offence, so there is not much opposition. One last law that came into force allows parents not to specify the gender of newborns on birth certificates, confusing sex and gender. Some of the most conservative politicians have opposed this law. I'm glad they're finally seeing what's happening, seeing people regretting taking hormones or having surgery. Unfortunately, this is sometimes generically homophobic resistance, directed against all LGBTQI+ people and not specifically against gender self-identification. 

What is happening in the education system? Are children and young people being taught that men can become women and vice versa?

Yes, the educational focus is on identity rather than gender and sexual orientation, and this is happening in schools of all levels, from primary school to university level. Obviously this is a state initiative, but it is also widespread and supported by so-called LGBTQI+ organisations. 

What was your 'peak trans' moment? 

I have been reading and informing myself for some time, I was 'educating' myself as we are told to do. In the end I couldn't stand seeing hateful language, misogyny and violence against women that they were just saying that sex is an immutable biological fact. I couldn't keep quiet any longer. Since then every day is a series of peak trans moments: see men telling lesbians they are phobic because they are exclusively attracted to other women; mothers who are referred to as 'pregnant people'.; boys who are told they are girls because they love the colour pink and glitter. I've been reading up on "trans widows" (wives of men undertaking the MtF transition) and how ex-husbands use them as a parody of what it means to be a woman. I have read about women survivors of sexual violence who can no longer choose to be visited and cared for by women. I see far too many politicians or celebrities who trample on our rights as if nothing had happened.. There are even so-called feminists who use expressions such as "organic women"when we know very well that there is only one type of woman, that women are born. In the meantime this ideology is making people dependent on drugs for life and slaughtering healthy bodies. It is a relentless assault, but we will not stop either. 

Rosa Borg


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