ACCEPT-LGBT Cyprus is optimistic that a bill introducing simpler procedures to change gender identity will be ready early next year, its chairman Costas Gavrielides said on Friday.
The issue was discussed this week between Accept and the leaders of political parties Disy, Akel, and Diko as part of the 20th annual European LGBTI conference entitled ‘Power to the people’ hosted in Nicosia this week.
The promotion of the issue of the legal recognition of gender change in Cyprus has also been brought up by the Council of Europe, Gavrielides told the Cyprus Mail.
He added that the issue could also be discussed as part of Cyprus’ chairmanship of the council. Cyprus will assume the chair on November 22 from outgoing Estonia and will chair the Committee of Ministers until May 19, 2017 when it will hand over to the Czech Republic.
“We count on the technical support of the Council of Europe to prepare a bill,” Gavrielides said.
Accept, which promotes the rights of the island’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual and intersex (LGBTI) community, had announced earlier in the year that it wanted to start the discussion on the legal change of gender identity for trans people. That is, the legal procedure by which trans people may change their name and their gender, according to how they feel and not how they are being categorised by the state.
To-date there is no gender recognition law in Cyprus, Gavrielides said, but there are a number of procedures trans people are required to follow if they wish to change their gender in official documents.
He expressed optimism that the bill could be ready and tabled to parliament at the beginning of 2017.
The head of the House human rights committee, Stella Kyriakidou, pledged she would register the issue for discussion in November, Gavrielides said.
“We are pleased political leaders present at the discussion were positive as regards the bill,” Gavrielides said.
The group had said that legal recognition of gender change is very important as it will make day to day issues much simpler for trans people as at present they are treated as using fake documents when a person’s gender identity is not the same as that indicated on their ID card and they are forced to reveal they are trans without them wanting to do so.