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The legal gender recognition for transgender people is back on the agenda of the government and parliament

On Monday, March 6th, a meeting was held in the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia between representatives of civil society organizations working on LGBTI issues and members of the inter-party parliamentary group for the advancement of LGBTI rights.

The meeting discussed the group’s draft action plan and cooperation with the non-governmental sector. It also discussed the next steps for adopting the amendments to the Law on Civil Registry, which would enable legal gender recognition.

During the discussion, activists from the civil initiative for the protection and advancement of the rights of transgender people, “TransFormA,” Lila Milikj and Daniel Prodanov, as well as Natasha Boshkova, a lawyer and advocate for the rights of transgender people from “Coalition Margins”, addressed the parliamentarians. The coordinator of the group, MP Maja Morachanin, chaired the meeting.

Photo: Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia

Civil society organizations have been advocating for years for the adoption of a law that would enable legal gender recognition for transgender people based on self-determination, without the need for surgical interventions. The government submitted a draft law to the Parliament, but due to negative reactions from the public and some MPs, it was withdrawn from the parliamentary procedure for further improvement in March of last year. This was noted by the European Commission in its report on North Macedonia. In January of this year, the Ministry of Justice announced on the website of the Single National Electronic Register of Regulations of the Republic of North Macedonia the start of the process of preparing a new draft of the Law on Civil Registry, which will include provisions, among other things, for the procedure for legal gender recognition.

As a reminder, on January 17, 2019, the European Court of Human Rights issued a judgment in the case of X v. Republic of North Macedonia, finding a violation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees the right to private and family life, due to the lack of a legal framework enabling the recognition of gender identity for the applicant (a transgender individual) through a change of the gender marker in the civil registry, thereby ensuring respect for the applicant’s private life. Following this court decision, the state is obligated to enact a law that will enable transgender individuals to have a fast, transparent, and accessible process for legal recognition of their gender.