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Portugal: Change of Gender in the Civil Register for Certain Minors Vetoed by the President

(May 31, 2018) On May 9, 2018, the president of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, vetoed a decree that had been approved by the Portuguese Parliament allowing a change of gender to be entered in the civil register for minors aged 16 to 18. (Decreto No. 203/XIII; Marieta Cazarré, Portugal Veta Mudança de Gênero no Registro Civil Antes dos 18 Anos, AGÊNCIA BRASIL (May 10, 2018).) The law had been passed on April 13, 2018, by a divided Parliament with 109 votes in favor and 106 against. (Cazarré, supra.)

In a letter sent to the Assembly of the Republic, Rebelo de Sousa requested that the Assembly consider requiring that a medical report on the minor be reviewed before a decision on entering a change of gender in the civil register is made. (President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Veto Letter to the President of the Assembly of the Republic, May 9, 2018; Cazarré, supra.)

According to Agência Brasil, “the decree does not concern change of gender, which would imply surgeries and medical procedures, but rather about the right to self-determination of gender identity, gender expression and protection of the sexual characteristics of each person.” (Cazarré, supra (translated by author).) For lawyers, what is at stake is the possibility of changing the gender in the civil registry. (Id.)