Legal gender change set to get easier in Portugal under new law

Legal gender change set to get easier in Portugal under new law
Copyright  REUTERS/Eloy Alonso
By Alice Cuddy with Reuters
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The new legislation makes Portugal only the sixth European nation to allow a change of gender without medical or state intervention, according to activists.

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Portugal has approved a new law making it easier for people to change their legal gender, becoming one of only a handful of European nations not to require medical or state intervention.

The law, which was approved by parliament on Friday, means people over the age of 16 will be able to change their gender and name in documents without a medical report.

Several European nations require transgender people to undergo medical procedures, be diagnosed with a mental disorder, or get divorced to have their desired gender legally recognised.

The new legislation makes Portugal the sixth European nation to adopt a "self-determination" policy, along with Malta, Norway, Denmark, Ireland and Belgium, according to ILGA-Europe, a network of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) groups.

The new Portuguese legislation also bans unnecessary surgery on intersex infants.

The law now needs to be signed by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa before it comes into effect.

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