Malta Pride is the annual reminder that everyone merits to be included and welcome, and that no-one is an outsider simply because some of their personal characteristics are less common.
Over the years, us Maltese were confronted with the impact that certain of our social and legal mores had on members of our families and communities. Past derision, discrimination and exclusion on the basis of sex, sexuality and gender were scrutinised and we chose to act to rectify them.
Change is never easy, but at the end love must always win over prejudice.
Today lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, non-binary, intersex and queer people are in a better place than before. Malta’s public policy for equality and inclusion is supported by most of the population, and LGBTIQ people can partake in all social activities in ways that previously they could not.
The past decade was marked with several leaps forward, with the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity as grounds of anti-discrimination in our Constitution, the introduction of marriage equality, the right to gender identity and bodily autonomy, and protection against conversion practices.
The debate on these laws and their implementation was mature and the accompanying social transformation mirroring the spirit of the law is captured in surveys that measure the experiences of LGBTIQ people.
Progress is hard won, but easily lost. Therefore, we cannot rest on our laurels and must continue to address emerging issues.
We must ensure that the life course of an LGBTIQ person can be marked by the same freedom and support as the rest of us, and that discrimination becomes a thing of the past. This means that we must be equally vigilant to minor aggressions as we are to more blatant forms of discrimination.
Likewise, we must ensure that the coming out process is stress-free, while no one doubts whether they can be themselves at certain moments or with certain people. Equality and inclusion start with us and have to be an everyday reality.
I wish everyone a Happy Pride.
Commissioner for Equality