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Greek parliament to pass new laws on gender identity

Allowing for people to legally change gender in official documents without requirement of prior medical procedure

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22 September 2017

One of the most important pieces of legislation regarding human rights in Greece will be presented for discussion by a parliamentary committee next week.

The bill, the 'Legal Recognition of Gender Identity and the National Mechanism for the Development, Monitoring and Evaluation of Action Plans for the Rights of the Child' defines gender identity "as the esoteric way a person experiences their sex, regardless of the sex registered at birth on the basis of their biological characteristics; it also includes the personal sense of the individual's body, as well and the social and external expression of gender, which correspond to the will of the person."

The proposed legislation is the outcome of lengthy consultation with the transgender community in Greece and the collaboration of human rights experts. In drafting the bill, the Greek Ministry of Justice also took into consideration the broader European experience and know-how.

The bill grants people with gender dysphoria the right to change their gender through a simple legal action, without any obligation to present any kind of medical certificates (either by psychiatrists or by surgeons), unlike the current situation. The proposed bill has been met with opposition from certain conservative groups within the community, with the bishop of Thessaloniki, Anthimos, declaring that he will not consent to transgender people getting married in church. It is yet unclear if the bill will get the votes of the Independent Greeks party, Syriza's conservative, far-right partners, but it will most probably pass with the support of the Democratic Alliance (PASOK) and the votes of the MPs of Potami.

Analysts believe that the Opposition will stand against it, despite the fact that Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has previously met with representatives of the transgender community and expressed his support.

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