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Ireland to finally recognize trans people in law

While trans people are thrilled they will finally be identified as their proper gender, they are not happy you have to be over 18, single and have a doctor's support
Joan Burton: Ireland's Minister for Social Protection.
Photo by William Murphy.

Ireland is set to officially recognize trans people in law, but not all trans people are entirely happy.

If enacted, the legislation will give transgender people the right to a new birth certificate, the sex they identify as, and the right to marry or enter a civil partnership.

Six years ago, Ireland was declared in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights as they did not legally recognize trans people.

Joan Burton, Social Protection Minister, said: ‘Since becoming minister, I have engaged with the groups representing transgender people and I am very aware that the long-standing lack of legal recognition has caused on-going hurt as well as real practical difficulties.

‘I believe that this bill will go a long way towards addressing those concerns. It again shows that this Government is prepared to resolve issues left unaddressed for far too long.’

Burton believes the application process will be ‘fairly straightforward’ and purely administrative.

In comparison, the UK passed the Gender Recognition Act in 2004. It allowed trans people to be recognized in the law, but as long as they were not married.

Transgender Equality Network Ireland said while the bill is a ‘positive step forward’, there are three big problems with the legislation as it stands.

‘There are three elements of the draft legislation that are cause for grave concern,’ said Broden Giambroone, director of TENI.

‘The age barrier, the requirement to have a doctor’s supporting statement, and the requirement to be single. We work with families whose hearts will break reading these draft Heads of Bill. ‘

BeLonG To, an LGBT youth organization based in Ireland, said they were ‘very disappointed’ the bill will exclude trans people under the age of 18.

‘For trans young people in Ireland, this restriction will have a devastating impact’’ Michael Barron, executive director of BeLonG To said. ‘It will completely reinforce the extreme isolation, invisibility and vulnerability of Trans young people.’

The bill will now go to the Committee for Education and Social Protection for review.

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