Planet Transgender was quick to take Ireland to task after Irish citizens overwhelming approved by popular vote same-sex a marriage a couple of months ago. The disparity between Irish LGB rights and T demanded it. Gay people were enjoying a life full of possibilities while trans people continued to suffer without the most basic of rights.
Then apparently out of nowhere the Gender Recognition act was approved by both houses and presented to the president for his signature.
But the timing wasn’t serendipitous. This win was the result of efforts by human rights groups, the Transgender Education Network Ireland (TENI), legislators, attorneys and most notably Lydia Foy, whose 25 year battle to have her gender recognized finally bore results.
The Gender Recognition Bill has now passed through the Oireachtas. Trans people are now legally recognised in Ireland!
— TENI (@TENI_Tweets) July 15, 2015
“For Lydia Foy, it is the end of a long drawn-out struggle for the right to be recognised in the gender in which she has lived for the last 25 years,” commented Michael Farrell, Senior Solicitor with FLAC. The organisation has represented Dr Foy throughout her legal battle for recognition which began with High Court proceedings in 1997 and finished with a settlement earlier this year, when the Government promised to introduce this legislation and bring it through the Oireachtas as quickly as possible.
Ireland has become the fourth country in the world to specifically introduce legislation based on self-determination. Ireland has joined Argentina, Denmark, Malta and most recently Colombia, in removing all medical criteria from the legal recognition process according to the TENI press release. This means there is no requirement for medical interventions or diagnosis of a mental disorder. Trans people over the age of 18 will be able to self-declare their gender by way of a statutory declaration.
“Trans people should be the experts of our own gender identity. There is a clear legislative trend towards self-determination and Ireland is taking its position as a global leader in the area of trans rights. Self-determination is at the core of our human rights,” said TENI Chair Sara R. Phillips.
Other good news, Irish trans people will no longer have to divorce their partner prior to correcting legal document, but the act isn’t without serious flaws.
The act does not include youth under 16 years of age and puts serious burdens on 16 to 17-year olds who wish their authentic gender to be legally recognised. The act also doesn’t have provisions for non-gender binary people.