LGL welcomes Government’s decision to reject a proposal to ban gender reassignment

In November 2012 three members from the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats (i.e. A. Matulas, V. M. Čigrijienė and A. Dumčius) submitted a draft amendment to the Civil Code, prohibiting gender reassignment surgeries in Lithuania.

According to the Civil Code, an unmarried adult person is entitled to undergo gender reassignment surgery if it is medically possible. At the moment, gender reassignment surgeries not performed in Lithuania due to the absence of specific legislation regarding the conditions and procedure of gender reassignment.

The initiators of the draft amendment state that this draft amendment seeks to rebute “unfounded expectations” and to prevent physically healthy people from “being castrated”. The text also claims that “gender reassignment is associated with a change of internal and external sex organs, but even after a gender reassignment surgery, gender itself does not change, however, as it is determined genetically from the very moment of conception”. Furthermore, “natural-gender” cannot be established after a gender reassignment procedure. Due to the fact that transexuality is considered as a personality and gender identity disorder, only psychotherapeutic methods should be used to assist transsexuals. The parliamentarians point to ethic problems as the Lithuanian society is extremely hostile to accept gender reassignment procedures as well.

At the moment Lithuanians wishing to change their gender must address gender reassignment clinics in the foreign countries, where the prices are considerably higher. Moreover, all Lithuanians are assigned a “unique and unchangeable” gender-specific personal code upon birth that can be modified only by a court decision. A person who has undergone through the gender reassignment procedure but still has not new personal code, can experience problems in the daily life (applying for a job, travelling), thus violating his/her right to privacy.

The representatives of the LGL welcomed the official Government´s position and considered it being the first step towards elimination of human rights violations and implementation of gender reassignment legislation. As gender reassignment procedures are not properly recognized by the national law, the European Court of Human Rights in the case L v. Lithuania in 2007 obliged Lithuania to pay the applicant for pecuniary damages and legal expenses for the applicant and enact legislation regarding the procedure and conditions of gender reassignment. LGL declares that Lithuania as a state has a positive obligation to implement measures of equal treatment, rights and freedoms of transgender people as long as they are citizens and tax payers as the rest of the society.

By clicking on the following link, you can access a TV3 news video, broadcasted on 16 October, where the representatives of the LGL expressed their position on the proposed amendment to the Civil Code.