Amnesty International has attacked the first draft of Ireland’s new gender recognition bill.
At present, Irish law has no process for recognising that transgender people do not identify as their birth gender, but the Irish government finally published a long-awaited bill today which will recognise the gender of trans people.
The bill, which was first announced in June, will bring Irish law in line with that of other countries, by legally recognising the gender of trans people in all dealings with the State, public bodies, and civil and commercial society.
However, activists have reacted with dismay to some of the proposals, which they say impose a number of unrealistic conditions.
Firstly, the bill forces married transgender people to divorce in order to gain gender recognition, in accordance with the country’s ban on same-sex marriage.
Additionally, while the bill allows for 16 and 17-year-olds to obtain legal gender recognition, they require a court order and parental consent to do so, which campaigners warn could cause further harm.
Denis Krivosheev of Amnesty said: “This is a missed opportunity to enshrine the rights of all transgender people in Irish law.
“This bill will require substantial changes if it is to tackle the serious issue of discrimination against transgender people.
“Rather than making it as easy as possible for all transgender people to obtain legal recognition of their identity, there are several groups that will be short-changed by the bill – in particular those who are married or in civil partnerships, minors, and those who do not wish to undergo medical treatment.
“The bill completely overlooks the needs of those who may wish to remain married, or who are going through divorce proceedings, while obtaining legal recognition of their gender. This is a violation of their human rights.
“Instead, the bill cruelly forces transgender people to separate from their loved one – and then spend years in limbo without either a partner or the legal recognition of their identity.
“Their only alternative being to sacrifice their gender identity in order to stay together.”
“Rather than enforcing a blanket age restriction, a case-by-case approach should be applied towards children, in which the child’s views and best interest are taken into account, as outlined by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child,” said Denis Krivosheev.
“Ireland’s Gender Recognition Bill is a welcome piece of legislation, but it requires several amendments to fulfil its potential as a truly progressive move by the authorities.”