A recent decision by the Montenegrin Ministry of Interior, which prohibits trans person from changing their personal name in the name of “the opposite sex”, is a big step backwards in the respect of human rights, and a step back for this Ministry. LGBT Forum Progress is unpleasantly surprised by this decision, especially considering the good cooperation that has been built between the Ministry and the LGBTIQ community so far.
Let us recall that, at the beginning of 2013, LGBT Forum Progress has tested the Law on Personal Name in practice. At that point, the person who was still in the process of gender confirmation (sex change) has successfully changed the name, without any complications and problems. Having this case in mind, and many others which have successfully resolved since then, we are very disappointed with such behaviour of the Ministry official and the obvious violation of the Law on Personal Name.
“The Law on Personal Name does not, at any point, state that there are “male and female names”. In addition to this, in the Article 2, the Law states that “the right on free choice of a personal name must not be restricted”, and that the limitation to changing the name only exists when a person is being prosecuted or serving a punishment for a criminal offense. Besides that, there are no and there should be no limitations. So far, there was no requirements for any medical documentation to be attached, unless it is a provision that has been brought up secretly”, Bojana Jokic, the President of the organization said.
We are convinced that this situation is the result of transphobia of certain officials who made decisions in this case, and that it is not something that the Ministry consciously and intentionally did. Whatever the matter, we invite the Ministry to investigate the complaints of NGO Queer Montenegro, and approach this problem in all seriousness.
We point out, once more, that the good practice in this field already exists, that the Ministry should not allow this and similar basic violations of human rights and freedoms, and that it is of the utmost importance to examine all the circumstances of this case and trans person from this case should, by the Law and as soon as possible, be allowed to change their personal name. Additionally, the LGBT Forum Progress team is at the disposal of Ministry and colleagues from the NGO sector, for the sake of prompt resolution of this unpleasant situation.