LGBTQ+ rights reform in Malta to include free gender-affirming surgery

Malta's Prime Minister confirms that, in the future, the State will cover the costs for those who wish to have gender-affirming surgery.

Photo of a nurse holding a
Image: Karollyne Hubert via Unsplash

During a radio interview, the Prime Minister of Malta, Robert Abela, confirmed that free gender-affirming surgery is part of their LGBTQ+ rights reform. To date, the government has legalised marriage equality, criminalised conversion therapy, added non-binary as a gender option on official documents and more.

On One Radio, Abela discussed the promise of free gender-affirming surgery, confirming that those seeking it “will be placed on the national health service, which means the state will finance the procedure.”

“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.”

“While we’re proud of what we did, more needs to be done,” he added, while discussing his appearance at a Pride event that took place on Saturday, September 10.

Abela’s statement came less than two weeks after the government effectively lifted the ban on blood donations for queer men.

In a Facebook post about the lifted ban, he acknowledges that “the work in favour of equality can never stop”. Therefore, following the Labour Party manifesto, free gender-affirming surgery for Trans people in Malta will be the next step.


Malta has been internationally recognised for its initiatives to make the country safer for the LGBTQ+ community. As a result, Rainbow Europe named the country the top queer-friendly holiday destination.

During an interview with Gay Times, Malta’s Equality Minister Helena Dalli said: “When we came to power in 2013, equality wasn’t on the front-burner of the previous government. We had a case at the European Court Of Human Rights whereby a Trans woman who had won her case in a Maltese court but the government didn’t amend the law so she could marry her male boyfriend. When I was given the portfolio for civil liberties I thought ‘This is not acceptable to have one of our own going to the European Court to get the rights she’d actually won in Malta’.

“That started a raft of legislation that has put us in the number one position in Europe. Nobody chooses how they are born so how can we as legislators penalise somebody because of that? That’s not acceptable in any society. I’m happy that more people in Malta are living better lives, at least in the eyes of the law. But then when it comes to practicalities there is some more work we have to do because it’s not so easy to change attitudes and culture.”

Robert Abela continued in a Facebook post: “Reforms remain at the top of this government’s agenda. Not least in the equality sector.”

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