Earlier this week, Malta was shocked at the horrific hate speech attack at a member of our transgender community – Angela Coleiro.
It all started when Angela shared some political opinions online, which led to some users who support that political party bashing Angela’s gender identity in several posts. Some attempted to reveal Coleiro’s previous identity, and use her gender identity to write some very hateful comments.
Coleiro filed a report with the Hate Crime Unit, who have been investigating the issue ever since the report was made.
Hate speech on the basis of someone’s gender identity is a breach of a person’s human rights and therefore, against the law. Being found guilty of the offence comes with a €1,000 to €5,000 fine.
“Following Angela’s call for assistance to organise a demonstration, we have reached out to her to offer her assistance to amplify her voice and those of other Trans people in Malta.
“Although our march may be cancelled this year, our pride can never be taken away,” Clayton Mercieca, ARC’s community Manager shares.
If you feel like your rights are being breached, there are various ways to go about seeking help.
So, how will I know if my rights have been breached?
As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, you have rights that you should be aware of.
HRID provided a list of rights that members of the community share. A more detailed list of such rights in Malta can be accessed from this link.
- Article 32 of the Constitution of Malta protects LGBT persons from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity
- The Employment and Industrial Relations Act protects LGBTIQ people against discrimination in employment
- The Equality for Men and Women Act also protects LGBTIQ people against discrimination in education
- All couples, irrespective of gender are able to marry or enter into a civil union or cohabitation agreement
- All couples irrespective of whether they are same-sex or opposite sex have equal access to parenting rights including third-country adoption and second parent adoption; surrogacy remains a criminal offense although Maltese persons accessing surrogacy abroad can register their child in Malta.
- Hate speech and hate crime provisions also include protections on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics
- Trans persons are able to change their legal gender through a declaration made in front of a notary if they are 16 years or over. For those under 16 years of age an application with the court of voluntary jurisdiction is required.
- Access to free health care for Trans persons is available through a referral to the Gender Wellbeing Clinic. The services available are being rolled out gradually. Currently they include psychosocial support, hormone therapies; voice therapies and some surgeries.
- Malta recognises persecution on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity when assessing asylum seeking claims;
- Normalising surgeries on intersex children without informed consent are a criminal offence; IVF services are now available to lesbian couples and single persons through a referral to the ART clinic at Mater Dei.
How do I go about seeking help?
There are various NGOs who offer help and support towards members of the community.
If you’re being virtually attacked, harassed or sent any form of hate speech, make sure to take a screenshot of the conversation or comments and send them either to MGRM or Rainbow Support Services.
In cases of incidents such as physical harassment, MGRM can help you out by accompanying you to the police station to file in your report.
They can direct you to ADITUS, in case you’re in need of legal assistance, and can also help you report the situation to the Hate Crime Unit if the need arises.
As an organisation, MGRM make sure to follow up and check in on you from time to time, see how you’re doing and how they may help, should you need it.
Rainbow Support Services are there to offer any kind of support should the need arises – you can get a hold of an RSS member via Facebook, or by calling 7943 0006