The Irish Parliament has today successfully passed a progressive new gender recognition law.
The Republic of Ireland currently does not legally recognise transgender people at all – but following a protracted legal battle with trans woman Dr Lydia Foy, the government last year committed to passing a trans recognition law.
The Gender Recognition Bill has had a smooth journey through the Irish Parliament, and sweeping changes have been made to allow transgender people to gain legal recognition without seeing a doctor or getting medical treatment.
The bill, which is one of a number of landmark LGBT reforms set to become law in Ireland this year, today headed back to the upper house (Seanad) for the Report and Final Stages – and passed through without controversy.
Sara R Phillips of the Transgender Equality Network Ireland said: “This is a momentous occasion for the trans community in Ireland.
“Dr Lydia Foy’s twenty-two year journey is finally coming to an end. The Government’s formal recognition of the trans community means that we will finally step out of the shadows. I will be recognised for who I truly am.”
The bill headed will now await the signature of Irish President Michael D Higgins.
It does have some critics, with one Senator calling for changes to recognise children who are transgender on an interim basis, instead of just over-16s.
Sara R Phillips added: “This is not the end of our work. We will continue to lobby and advocate for young people to be meaningfully included in legal gender recognition legislation.
“We’ve come a very long way. The passage of the Gender Recognition Bill signals a new era for trans rights in Ireland.”
As Ireland’s new law will allow self-determination, it will be more progressive than the UK’s 2004 Gender Recognition Act.