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Portugal adds gender identity as protected category to criminal code

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — International Gay and Lesbian Association–Europe (ILGA)reports that Portugual has revised its criminal code to include gender identity as a protected category, a move that was proposed by the Socialist party and unanimously approved by parliament.

"Alongside 'sexual orientation,' the term 'gender identity' has now been added to the articles relating to aggravated homicide and assault, setting up the special perversity or reprehensibility of these acts (and consequently strengthening the penalties) in case their motivation is based on the perceived sexual orientation or gender identity of the victim," ILGA notes in a statement about the change.

"We hope that the recognition of the particular vulnerability of trans people extends to the remaining legal system, also with the broad support of various political forces," the group says.

The criminal code revision follows the 2011 ratification of a law that eases the process of changing one's gender and name. "After several years of campaigning political parties and Portuguese society, we are very happy about this victory," ILGA said at the time. "The courts and their unacceptable criteria have been eliminated from the process and we have finally achieved legal certainty about gender recognition, which is a crucial first step towards the social inclusion of transsexual persons and towards the fight against discrimination based on gender identity."