European lawmakers criticise bill which would reverse a policy allowing people to change their legal sex on key documents
By Hugo Greenhalgh
LONDON, April 15 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - More than 60 European lawmakers wrote to two senior Hungarian ministers on Wednesday warning that transgender and intersex people risked being harassed and attacked if a proposed ban on changing their sex on legal documents became law.
Under the bill introduced by the ruling Fidesz party last month, birth, marriage and death certificates would show "sex at birth" - reversing a policy that allowed people to change their legal sex to match the gender in which they live.
The bill exposes trans and intersex people "to increased discrimination, harassment and violence particularly because the production or presentation of public documents might oblige them to disclose their gender identity recurrently", the letter said.
"Its adoption will further restrict fundamental rights and civil liberties of transgender and intersex persons in Hungary."
The Hungarian government's International Communications Office and the Prime Minister's Office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Intersex people - sometimes born with a sexual anatomy that does not fit typical definitions of male or female bodies - and trans people often face abuse and denial of services if the sex on their official documents does not match their appearance.
The European Union has long condemned Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's right-wing government for its tight restrictions on civil liberties and its attitude towards gay, bisexual and trans minorities in the former communist country.
"The situation in Hungary is intolerable," said Marc Angel, a signatory of the letter, which was sent to sent to Gergely Gulyas, Minister of the Prime Minister's Office, and Justice Minister Judit Varga.
"(The proposed bill) is not acceptable in a country that is a member of the European Union," Angel, also co-president of the European Parliament's informal Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone on Wednesday.
Homophobic and transphobic rhetoric is rising across Europe, fuelled by divisive politics and socially conservative groups, according to LGBT+ rights group ILGA-Europe.
(Reporting by Hugo Greenhalgh @hugo_greenhalgh; Editing by Katy Migiro. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)
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