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Irish trans woman wins EU prize after 17-year battle for gender recognition

Nick Duffy October 19, 2015

An Irish trans woman who spent nearly two decades suing the Irish government for her right to gender recognition has been awarded a European honour.

Dr Lydia Foy spent over 17 years in the court system arguing for her right to gender recognition in the Republic of Ireland – which until this year did not recognise trans people at all.

However, after a string of court victories for Dr Foy, the government committed to passing a gender recognition law to finally grant rights to trans people – and did so earlier this year,

The progressive new law, which came into effect last month, includes sweeping changes to allow transgender people to self-declare their gender, by filling out a simple form.

The new process has been hailed for its lack of bureaucracy and medical requirements- the form to change legal gender is is shorter than the one to renew a passport.

Dr Foy was awarded the European Parliament’s Citizen’s Prize in Brussels this week, in recognition of what she achieved.

She said: “I feel now that with the endorsement of Europe and the endorsement of Ireland, I can say yes, maybe I was doing something right for the good of people, for access to the law and for future generations when it comes to diversity. Hopefully we’ll have a more open mind and won’t be marginalising anybody

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan told the Irish Times: “Not only from an Irish point of view, but hearing she’s the first transgender person to receive any sort of European award or recognition is a really important message to send to transgender communities across Europe.”

More: Europe, gender, Ireland, Ireland, Law, LGBT, republic of ireland, Trans, Transgender

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