Senators have celebrated the passage of Ireland’s revolutionary new Gender Recognition Act – which allows trans people to legally change their gender without seeing a doctor.
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 completed its smooth journey through the Irish Parliament yesterday, and will now head to Irish President Michael D Higgins.
As the bill – which is far more progressive than the UK’s 2004 Gender Recognition Act, as sweeping changes have been made to allow people to change legal gender through a statutory declaration – passed through the Seanad, the present Irish Senators gave it a standing ovation.
Senator Katherine Zappone said: “A round of applause in the Seanad to mark the Gender Recognition Bill 2014 being passed!”
As the bill makes gender recognition statutory, it allowing transgender people to gain legal recognition without getting medical treatment.
Evelyne Paradis, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe said “This is a great moment for trans people living in Ireland.
“From having virtually no points in the Legal Gender Recognition section of our Rainbow Map at the start of 2015, Ireland has taken a huge leap forward. Hopefully the legal change introduced by countries such as Denmark, Malta and Ireland can inspire their European neighbours.”
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.”