The government’s efforts to protect and further promote the rights of the LGBTQ+ group have gone from words to deeds, said Justice and Public Order Minister, Stephi Dracou during her speech at the 8th Pride Parade in Nicosia on Sunday.
At the same time, she added, the Cabinet has approved a bill to legally recognize gender identity for transexual persons.
She said Cyprus is moving closer to the standards for Equality and Human Rights as set out by European and international organizations. She also said that in 2021 the government prepared the first national strategy with the sole aim to improve the quality of life for LGBTQ+ persons in all aspects of life, in education, workforce, health, culture and sports. In February 2022, she added, a memorandum of cooperation was signed with the UK to undertake common initiatives and actions to protect and further promote the rights of LGBTQ+ persons, concentrating on the workplace.
Another step forward is the approval by the Cabinet of the bill to legally recognize gender for the trans community. The bill was signed on 14 September and has been forwarded to the House of Representatives for discussion and approval. “Thus, one of the most important commitments in our national strategy is becoming a reality”, she added.
This bill, she said, is innovative and in line with the principles of the Council of Europe and the EU and was a government commitment. Transgenders, she added, will be able to initiate procedures to change their official gender and name without having to undergo surgical procedures or psychiatric assessments. This can be done with fast, transparent and easily accessible procedures.
However, she said despite the positive developments, “we are aware that a great deal of work is pending to put an end to all forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity”.
She also expressed the view that tackling prejudice and discrimination is not only a matter of legislation but also a cultural issue. Concluding, she said that the aim is to have a society that will not exclude or discriminate against persons, and all individuals will enjoy equal rights.