Greek parliament votes to legalise sex-change without operation

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Greek parliament on Tuesday voted in favour of a bill allowing people older than fifteen years to change their identified gender legally without undergoing any medical operations. 171 out of 285 votes favoured of the bill.

Per the earlier laws, individual had to undergo an operation, which LGBT advocacy group ILGA-Europe called "outdated and oppressive practice that violates individuals' bodily integrity". The Greek Orthodox church opposed this bill. Before the voting, prime minster Alexis Tsipras told parliament, "No tradition, no religion, no perception of family requires citizens to remain on the margins or be pushed into institutional and social oblivion".

Metropolitan Nicholas of Phthiotis said, "They have brought blasphemy upon the human body. Today they tell us that God did not create man and woman [...] every man can easily become a woman, and every woman a man. It is a satanic deed." The Church's governing Holy Synod went on to say, "The proposed Bill provokes the feelings of society, undercuts the sacred institution of the family, defies customs and common sense, and, above all, destroys people." ((el))Greek language: ‍Το προτεινόμενο Νομοσχέδιο προκαλεί το αίσθημα της κοινωνίας, τορπιλίζει τον ιερό θεσμό της οικογένειας, έρχεται σε αντίθεση με τα χρηστά ήθη και την κοινή λογική και κυρίως καταστρέφει τον άνθρωπο.

Opposition party head Kyriakos Mitsotakis raised concerns about the minimum age being just fifteen years to change one's gender identity. Mitsotakis said, "For such a decision, maturity is required which only age can guarantee" and added, "It makes no sense to us that a fifteen-year-old, who is prohibited from consuming alcohol, is allowed to take such an important decision".

Greece is largely an orthodox country, and the church has been against the idea of gender-change. In August, president Michelle Bachelet of the predominately Roman Catholic country of Chile signed a bill — which would then require approval from the two houses of congress — to grant LGBT citizens the right to same-sex marriage, and permit LGBT couples to adopt children.

Member of the Syriza party Nikos Xydakis said, "This is about human and civil rights[...] It is about humanity, solidarity and dignity. There are times when politicians have to be more progressive than society and I am delighted that Greece will now be among the most liberal EU countries on this issue." Other European countries to allow changing identified gender includes Ireland, Norway, Denmark, and Malta.