Evaluating the Operation of Malta's Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act 2015: To What Extent Has it Enhanced the Bodily Integrity of Intersex Infants?

In 2015, Malta introduced groundbreaking legislation in regards to intersex rights through the Gender Identity, Gender Expressions and Sex Characteristics Act (2015). Section 14 was specifically designed to protect the bodily integrity of intersex persons (those with a combination of masculine and feminine sex characteristics) by prohibiting unnecessary medical interventions on intersex infants. The international reception to this was overwhelmingly positive with the GIGESC frequently depicted as the ‘gold standard’ in terms of intersexspecific law reform.

However, little is known about s.14’s actual impact and commentators have begun to identify potential flaws in the legislative framework (Garland and Travis 2018). As States are beginning to look to Malta to inform their legislative agendas on intersex-specific matters, this project uses doctrinal and empirical methodology to evaluate the operation of s.14 GIGESC and considers what lessons States can learn as they begin to give serious thought to medical standards in this area.

Led by Dr Fae Garland (University of Manchester) this BA/Leverhulme Small Grant (SRG19\190990) will include a number of semi-structured interviews with intersex individuals, parents/carers and gender law/policy experts.