Round table on legal gender recognition organised by The Parliament of North Macedonia
Skopje, 17 November 2021 - The Interparty Parliamentary Group on advancing the rights of LGBTI, in cooperation with the Council of Europe, hosted in the Parliament of North Macedonia a round table focused on legal gender recognition.
The round table gathered all relevant stakeholders, including MPs from different political parties, State Secretary from the Ministry of Justice, representatives from the Department on Execution of Sanctions, State Agency for Civil Registry, a representative from the Department on Equal Opportunities in the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the Council of Europe, the European Court for Human Rights and Transgender and LGBTI human rights defenders. The key message of the event was that access to LGR is a universal human right. The Parliament should adopt this law sooner rather than later to prevent further violations of the rights against transgender people in the country. Even though the draft law is a compromised solution and introduces administrative obstacles, it is based on the principle of self-determination as it should be adopted.
ERA - LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkan and Turkey was represented by Biljana Ginova, our Advocacy Manager, who in their intervention pointed out the good practices in the region and EU and the documented positive impact that accessing legal gender recognition based on self-determination has on transgender people in general as well as in concrete domains of their living such as education, health care, employment, safety and civic rights.
The round table was opened by MP Maja Morachanin, the coordinator of the Interparty Parliamenbtarian group on advancing the rights of LGBTI people, by stating her gratitude to the Parliament for hosting this first event focused on the human rights of transgender people. According to her, this event will contribute towards strengthening the broader support for the protection of the human rights of transgender people.
The representatives from the state institutions stated their readiness for full implementation of the law as soon as it is adopted by the Parliament, and once again confirming the dedication of this government to the concept of equal opportunities and one society for all.
Natasa Boskova, as a National Expert of Council of Europe, presented the analysis of current legal and administrative measures available for legal gender recognition in the Republic of North Macedonia, including the criteria, limitations, efficiency and obstacles. In her report, she included the lived experiences of transgender people and the socio-political context in the country, as well as opportunities and challenges, aimed to better understand the circumstances in which the law will be implemented.
A couple of trans human rights defenders, Lila Milikj and Predrag Jovanovski, shared experiences of transgender people due to lack of legal gender recognition documented in the trans-led organisation TransFormA. They both pointed out the obstacles that transgender people face daily due to lack of adequate personal identification documents such as limited access to housing, banking, education, employment, health and safety and security.
One of the key points at the round table was brought by Bojana Nikolin from the Department of Execution of Sanctions at the European Court for Human Rights. She emphasised the obligation of the state to implement the judgement X. v. FYROM fully and to enable administrative procedures for legal gender recognition based on self-determination.
The draft law is currently in Parliamentary procedures and is expected to be included in the Agenda of the Parliament. The draft law in the current form is foreseeing a transparent administrative procedure for accessing legal gender recognition with several limitations such as mandatory divorce for married trans people, exclusion of trans youth and of gender non-binary and gender non-conforming people. Nevertheless, the transgender community in the country is supporting this legal solution as an important milestone towards improving access to human rights for transgender people in North Macedonia.