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Lithuanian law reform may worsen situation for trans people

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI – Lithuania is seemingly giving with one hand and taking away with the other. 

Proposed Ministry of Justice legislation that would allow for the issuance of new ID cards to people who have undergone sex reassignment surgery, minus a protracted court proceeding, would also remove current provisions for state-sponsored gender reassignment surgery, according to a Gay Star News report.

According to the report, Lithuania had promised to bring in law reforms regarding new documentation for transgender people following a Geneva meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Commission where the country's legislation governing gender identity was criticized.

Moreover, the European Court of Human Rights also ruled that Lithuania must enact a law regulating "the procedure and conditions of gender reassigment," Gay Star News reports. The solution to the ruling, according to the country's vice-minister of justice, is to remove state funding for sex reassignment surgery. 

Gay advocates say the proposed law exacerbates the position of trans people in the country. 

Gay Star News quotes Vytautas Valentinavicius of the Lithuanian Gay League as saying, "This proposal by the Ministry of Justice would not implement the decision of the [European Court of Human Rights] and instead would restrict people's legitimate expectations."

"This would create a precedent in Lithuania to 'implement' the [court's] decision by worsening the actual situation — eliminating provisions that allowed people to reasonably expect proper regulation of gender reassignment."

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