Irish trans people will be given the freedom to choose for themselves when they can legally change their gender under a new bill.
The updates to the Gender Recognition Bill will allow without trans people to change their gender without having to submit medical evidence; instead, the application process will be based on self-declaration by way of statutory declaration.
The decision comes just weeks after Ireland voted overwhelmingly for same-sex marriage equality in a referendum.
Ireland’s deputy Prime Minister, or TÃ¡naiste, and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, T.D. announced the changes on Wednesday (3 June).
‘I have listened carefully to the views of individual citizens, representative groups and public representatives. It is essential that this important legislation is in line with international best practice,’ she said when speaking after the Cabinet meeting.
‘That is why we are moving to a self-declaration model for people aged 18 and over. This approach will have no impact on the treatment pathway which is completely separate from the civil registration process.’
The Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) applauded the government on the ‘hugely significant’ move.
‘Ireland has now taken its place as an international leader in this human rights area,’ said TENI Chief Executive Broden Giambrone.
‘The Government has shown great vision and conviction in ensuring the rights of trans people. This legislation will significantly improve the lived realities of trans people in Ireland.’
In light of the landslide win in last month’s referendum on marriage equality, the Bill will also no longer contain the ‘forced divorce’ clause which required people wanting to transition to decide between their families and legal recognition.
Applicants aged 16 and 17 will still require a court process, involving medical statements, before they can apply for a gender recognition certificate.