Portugal passes law easing sex change

From now on people over the age of 16 in Portugal can change their name and gender without a medical diagnosis certifying a gender identity disorder. However, up to the age of 18 they must present a medical report on their decision-making ability. Portugal's press welcomes the new law even if it says that some questions remain open.

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Público (PT) /

An important milestone

Despite its shortcomings the law is a major achievement, Público comments:

“The president justified the decision to maintain the requirement that 16 to 18-year-olds present a medical report [certifying their decision-making ability] with reference to sex change surgery at a later date. However, there are transgender people and there are transexuals. The former feel the need to change their gender and name [in official documents] and physical appearance, while transexuals need a broader transformation. ... So these are different problems that require different solutions. Nonetheless, the passing of this law is an important milestone. ... It makes Portugal a more inclusive, more free and more democratic society.”

Sábado (PT) /

This is not just about personal freedom

Sábado also welcomes the new law but asks what impact changing one's gender identity will have on other people's lives:

“The problem is that, contrary to what people like to argue, changing sex is not just an act of personal freedom. ... If a simple declaration is enough to change your gender before the law this can have a clear impact on the lives of other people, and in particular women. Because it means that anyone can have access to spaces traditionally reserved for women, for example women's toilets or refuges for victims of domestic violence. How can we guarantee that this carte blanche isn't abused? And how can we guarantee that women's achievements - competitive sport, scholarships, quotas of all kinds, etc. - aren't distorted by this?”