Nationalist MP Hermann Schiavone has issued a public apology after warning that male politicians might be tempted to legally change their gender to benefit from the new quota law for MPs.
“My intention was to academically explain how this new mechanism can be abused,” Schiavone wrote on social media yesterday.
“After discussing this issue with FOIPN [the PN’s equality forum], I realised that while I never intended to offend anyone, far less the LGBTIQ community, my comments could have been misinterpreted in a way that offends trans and non-binary people.”
“This saddens me and I apologise to people who felt offended. I recognise the particular challenges that LGBTIQ face in society and I didn’t intend to undermine the realities of these challenges.”
Schiavone’s warning was lambasted by the gay rights lobby group MGRM as a “pathetic comment that strips trans people of their dignity”.
“This trivialises the suffering of people who have long had no legal protection, and who are in greater risk of poverty, as well as stigmatisation, insults, discrimination, and violence,” they said. “Educate yourself and apologise.”
The new gender quota law will assign a maximum of 12 additional seats to the underrepresented gender, to ensure a minimum 40% representation.
Gender-neutral people will be included in the underrepresented gender.
The system will only kick in if only two political parties, ie. PL and PN, are elected, with seats shared equally between them, and will automatically not function at all if a third party is elected.
All PL and PN MPs, including Schiavone, voted in favour of the law, with only independent MPs Marlene Farrugia and Godfrey Farrugia voting against it.