Equality and Non-Discrimination

Constitutional Provisions

Malta introduced amendments to its Constitution to include anti-discrimination provisions for the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity through ACT No. X of 2014 under the chapter on Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of the Individual, (Chapter IV, Article 32).

Other Provisions

Article 13 of the Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act (ACT XI of 2015) include anti-discrimination and promotion of equality provisions. These place an obligation on the public service to ensure that unlawful sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics discrimination and harassment are eliminated. It also stipulates that services must promote equality of opportunity to all, irrespective of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics.

Employment

Non-discrimination provisions in the field of employment on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics were introduced over a number of years through different pieces of legislation. They cover direct and indirect discrimination, harassment, and victimisation. They include:

This provides for protection against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Subsidiary legislation transposed the EU’s Employment Framework Directive (Council Directive 2000/78/EC) into Maltese law and changes to the Equality for Men and Women Act also extended the remit of the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality to cover sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics.

Discrimination cases in employment can be brought before the Industrial Tribunal or before the Civil Court. The National Commission for the Promotion of Equality can also investigate and mediate in discrimination cases that fall within its remit.

Subsidiary Legislation 452.114 of 2017 provides for a maximum 100 hours of additional leave for those accessing medically assisted procreation procedures.




Education

Anti-discrimination provisions on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics in the field of education are governed by Article 8 of the Equality between Men and Women Act (CAP 456). This bans discrimination: in access to education; in the provision of support to students; in the curriculum and textbooks and in assessments. 

The Teachers (Code of Ethics and Practice) Regulations (S.L. 327.02) states that members of the teaching profession should demonstrate respect for diversity, maintain fairness and promote equality including on the ground of sexual orientation and that they should contribute to the creation of a fair and inclusive school environment by addressing discrimination, stereotyping and bullying.

The Ministry for Education also adopted the Respect for All Framework which embraces a whole school approach philosophy. This approach is defined as a unified collective and collaborative action in and by educators, administrators, parents and students that has been strategically constituted to improve student learning behaviour and wellbeing and the conditions that support these.

The Respect for All Framework is being developed as a living document providing a planned and systematic way of how schools are to develop an environment that ensures that all students have the opportunity to obtain the necessary skills, attitudes and values to be active citizens and to succeed at work and in society (Framework for the Education Strategy for Malta 2014-2024). It highlights what can be done and why, it acknowledges the school culture and the school climate without it being constraining and prescriptive.

The Addressing Bullying Behaviour in Schools makes clear reference to homophobic and transphobic bullying as well as the increased risk of bullying faced by LGBTIQ students.

The Trans, Gender Variant and Intersex Students in School Policy aims to:

  1. ​Foster a school environment that is inclusive, safe and free from harassment and discrimination for all members of the school community, students and adults, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and/or sex characteristics. 
  2. Promote the learning of human diversity that is inclusive of trans, gender variant and intersex students, thus promoting social awareness, acceptance and respect. 
  3. Ensure a school climate that is physically, emotionally and intellectually safe for all students to further their successful learning development and well-being, including that of trans, gender variant and intersex persons.

The Policy on Inclusive Education in Schools - Route to Quality Inclusion was launched in 2019 and Revised in 2022, by the Ministry for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation . The inclusion policy framework includes Gender and Sexual Diversity and identifies four categories of students for whom inclusion efforts are required:

  • ​Learners of different genders
  • Learners with different sexual orientations
  • Learners of different gender identities and expressions
  • Learners with LGBTIQ parents





Health

Conversion Practices

In 2016 Malta banned conversion practices through the Affirmation of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression Act (ACT LV of 2016). This affirms that all persons have a sexual orientation, a gender identity and a gender expression, and that no particular combination of these three characteristics constitutes a disorder, disease, illness, deficiency, disability and, or shortcoming; and to prohibit conversion practices as a deceptive and harmful act or interventions against a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and, or gender expression.

In January 2023, the Act was amended to provide a legal definition to the advertising, spreading, referencing or authorisation of conversion practices thus closing a loop hole whereby although the actual practices and their promotion were banned, these parameters were not specifically defined. 
 
Trans Healthcare

In February of 2018, A legal notice introduced ‘gender identity and sex characteristics related conditions’ in the entitlement schedule relative to the National Health Service (NHS) (LN 44 of 2018). 

A consultation to ensure the best healthcare services on these grounds was subsequently launched and the policy document on Transgender Healthcare adopted.  

The Gender Wellbeing Clinic became operational in November 2018 providing services through a multi-disciplinary team to trans and gender variant individuals. Referrals to the Gender Wellbeing Clinic can be made through a GP, psychologist or social worker and then submitted it via e-mail on transhealthcare.health@gov.mt. One may opt to fill in the Gender Wellbeing Clinic referral form online.

A website on trans health care aimed at health-care providers has been developed in a way that can also be used by persons who are not familiar with medical terms. You can access the website providing more information on trans-specific healthcare here.

Mental Health

The Mental Health Act (CAP 525) affirms the rights of mental healthcare users and bans discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation.
 
Blood Donation

The National Blood Transfusion Service within the National Health Service adopted an improved screening system which greatly diminishes the window period during which newly contracted viruses may go undetected. As of September 2022, the blood donor policy for men who have sex with men was revised to be at par with all genders subject that all donors adhere to the prescribed criteria from a lifetime to a one-year deferral.
 
Mandate of Equality Body

The National Commission for the Promotion of Equality set up by virtue of  Chapter 456 of the Laws of Malta had its remit relating to the spheres of employment, banks and financial institutions, as well as education as well as freedom of movement of EU workers extended to include the grounds of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity through Act IX of 2012, and the grounds of Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics through Act XI of 2015​.

National Action Plan

The first LGBTIQ Action Plan 2015 – 2017 was launched in July 2015 and was the first of its kind for Malta. The Action Plan was formulated by the LGBTIQ Consultative Council in partnership with the then Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties and following consultation with various Ministries.
 
The LGBTIQ Strategy & Action Plan 2018-2022 was launched in September 2018 by the Ministry for European Affairs and Equality. It includes over 50 measures aimed at guaranteeing substantive equality for LGBTIQ persons in practice.

The LGBTIQ Strategy & Action Plan 2018-2022 was formulated by the then Human Rights and Integration Directorate (HRID) in close partnership with the LGBTIQ Consultative Council. It was subsequently discussed and adopted by Cabinet and implemented by the respective entities within the government, under the supervision of the SOGIGESC Unit as indicated in the Action Plan. Follow up reports have been published annually:

The LGBTIQ Strategy & Action Plan 2023-2027​ was launched on the 17th May 2023 by the Human Rights Directorate within the Parliamentary Secretariat for Reforms and Equality. It includes 10 areas and over 90 measures to tackle inequality, discrimination and exclusion of LGBTIQ+ people. The document builds upon the actions of the previous strategies and was drafted in consultation with the LGBTIQ Consultative Council and eventually adopted by Cabinet.