Compiled by Dawn Wolfe Gutterman
Spain seeks to ease identity changes for transsexuals
MADRID, Spain – Transgender persons who wish to change their legal gender identity under Spanish law could do so without sex-change surgery under a plan passed June 2 by the government.
The bill says transsexuals can change their gender listing and name in Spanish civil registries without undergoing surgery, but on several conditions. A doctor must certify they were born the wrong sex and have been living for an extended period as their true gender, and the person must undergo hormonal or other medical treatment to encourage the change of identity.
Spain’s state-funded health care system is run by regional governments, two of which pay for sex-change operations.
Russian authorities urged to prosecute anti-gay attackers
MOSCOW – A U.S-based human rights group on June 2 called on Russian authorities to launch a full investigation and prosecute those responsible for violent attacks by nationalist protesters on participants in a gay rally last month.
Human Rights Watch also urged Russian prosecutors to drop charges of holding an unsanctioned demonstration against gays who took part in the May 27 event.
Activists were pummeled by right-wing protesters and detained by police, preventing them from putting on a display of gay pride. Police detained the rally’s main organizer as he tried to lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a symbol of the Soviet victory over fascism in World War II.
Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov had banned the gay pride event and has blamed the victims of the anti-gay attacks.
Japan’s transsexuals gain freedoms
TOKYO – Japan’s first sex-change operation was performed in 1998, and its first transsexual and gay politicians were elected to office in 2003. A groundbreaking legal reform allowing some transsexuals to change their officially registered sex took effect the following year.
Aya Kamikawa, Japan’s first and only transsexual politician, has played a key role in lobbying for changes at both the national and local levels, including the sex-change law. She has also successfully lobbied to eliminate unnecessary mentions of gender in public documents.
Under the 2004 law, only unmarried, childless applicants can change their official gender. Applicants also must have had a sex-change operation and been diagnosed by two doctors as having gender-identity disorder.
Romanian activists begin new drive to legalize equal marriage
BUCHAREST, Romania – Romanian human rights activists launched a new campaign May 30 to legalize equal marriage aimed at opening talks with the government on revising marriage laws.
The government decriminalized homosexuality in 2001 to bring its laws in line with European Union countries, which Romania hopes to join in 2007. Romania also passed an anti-discrimination act which bans discrimination on the basis of sex, age, ethnicity or sexual orientation.