Gender activists want law change in Italy

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A national campaign is underway to change the law defining the right to change transgender identity in Italy's civil registry. Photo: David Goehring/Flickr
18:34 CEST+02:00
Italy’s Movement of Transexxual Identity (MIT) is fighting to allow sex change without surgery in state civil records.

 With the motto “Another kind is possible”, MIT is launching a national campaign to change the law defining the right to change transgender identity in Italy's civil registry.

The movement intends to change Constitutional Law 162 from 1982, which allows transgender people to “bureaucratically” change sex only after a surgical operation.

“If a person demonstrates that he or she is fully living their gender even without surgery, why force something that they don’t want?” Cathy La Torre, an activist and legal expert in rights for gender identity, was quoted on as saying.

Civil registry gender changes for those who haven’t undergone surgery have already seen precedent in the European Community. Countries including Spain, Portugal, Austria, Germany and the United Kingdom, allow gender changes on civil records, regardless of whether or not the person has had surgery.

Additionally, the Council of Europe has advised all of its member states to do the same, so as not to leave its citizens in gender purgatory of sorts.

MIT simply wants a more fair interpretation on an already existing law.

"Literally, surgery is not 'obliged' but rather it expressly says that if in the case it is necessary, it is authorized," said La Torre.

"But what if it doesn’t turn out to be necessary? In past cases, we've managed to get favourable outcomes by insisting on this interpretation."

MIT’s campaign should also bring back in the spotlight the ongoing appeal of Alessandra Bonaroli, a transgender woman who was forced to divorce her wife after officially updating her gender in Italian civil registry.

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In October 2013, Bonaroli said she “planned to take the case to European Human Rights Court should the Italian Constitutional Court decide not to recognize our marriage”.

La Torre added that “sexual identity is a right and can not be influenced by the operating room”. 

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