Ireland’s government has put its revolutionary new Gender Recognition Act to come into effect – meaning transgender people can gain legal recognition from next week without seeing a doctor. Until now, the Republic of Ireland has provided no legal recognition for transgender people at all – but following a protracted legal battle with trans woman Dr Lydia Foy, the government committed to passing a trans recognition law.
The bold new Gender Recognition Bill, which passed through Parliament in July without issue, includes sweeping changes to allow transgender people to gain legal recognition without seeing a doctor or requiring medical treatment. Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) Joan Burton today signed a commencement order – giving the go-ahead for the law to come into effect next Tuesday, September 8. This means that from next week, trans people will be able to obtain Gender Recognition Certificates from the Irish Government, as well as amended birth certificates in their preferred name and gender.
Broden Giambrone of the Transgender Equality Network Ireland said: “The wait for legal recognition is finally over. The practical and symbolic importance of being recognised in the eyes of the State cannot be underestimated.
“This is a turning point for trans rights in Ireland and I hope this leads to further positive changes for our community. “This is also the end of a very long journey for Dr Lydia Foy who will soon have her correct birth certificate.” “Today also marks the end of Dr Lydia Foy’s twenty-two year journey to be legally recognised. I want to commend her courage and tenacity. “TENI would also like to thank Tánaiste Burton and Minister Humphreys for their leadership and vision. This legislation is compassionate, progressive and affirms our human rights. We must also thank all of our allies in the Dáil and Seanad for their support and hard work to get this legislation passed.”
Ireland follows Argentina, Denmark, Malta and Colombia in allowing transgender people to self-determine outside of the medical process. This means that rather than requiring the intervention of doctors, people can be recognised as their actual gender through a simple statutory process.
Broden Giambrone continued: “Self-determination is critical to trans people and we must be able to affirm our own identities and have our rights vindicated. “As a trans person, I believe this legislation marks an incredible shift in Irish society and that it will go a long way in protecting and honouring trans identities.”
In the UK, a transgender person is required to get opinions from two medical professionals for a Gender Recognition Certificate. The country has also passed same-sex adoption laws this year, and the Irish public overwhelmingly voted for same-sex marriage in a referendum.