Words: Emily Maskell; Image: Vanessa Nunes / Alamy Stock Photo
Malta’s prime minister, Robert Abela, has confirmed the country will offer free gender-affirming surgery for trans people.
These far-reaching reforms are the next steps in the aim of LGBTQ+ equality in Malta and were announced by Abela at Malta’s Pride event in Valetta on Saturday (10 September).
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Speaking with a local radio station, ONE Radio, the PM said: "I believe that social reform gives the Labour Party its identity."
“My presence yesterday, as well as that of ministers and MPs, symbolises the messages that while we have done a lot, more is yet to come,” he continued. “While we’re proud of what we did, more needs to be done.”
Abela promised that free gender-affirming surgery "will be placed on the national health service, which means the state will finance the procedure,” as laid out in the Labour Party's manifesto.
Under Abel's leadership, Malta has made several significant steps toward LGBTQ+ equality including the announcement that they would be lifting of a ban on gay men donating blood.
In a Facebook statement about the news, Abel detailed: “Pride Week should serve not only to remember with pride what we have achieved in recent years, but also to understand that the work in favour of equality can never stop.”
“Today we will fulfil another electoral promise with new protocols for donating blood," his statement continues. "That way we will have fairer protocols that remove any form of discrimination with LGBTIQ+ people where the parameters for a person to be able to donate blood will be equal for everyone.”
He concludes: “Reforms remain at the top of this Government’s agenda. Not least in the equality sector.”
As of 2021, Malta continued to holds its top spot on The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association's (IGLA-Europe) ranking of LGBTQ+ rights in Europe for the sixth year in a row.
On the IGLA-Europe ranking the UK fell from ninth to tenth place.
The Attitude September/October issue is out now.