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Ireland to simplify process for transgender 16- and 17-year-olds to change legal gender

Vic Parsons December 3, 2019

A person waving a trans flag at Dublin's Pride parade in 2019. (Szymon Barylski/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The process by which trans 16- and 17-year-olds change their legal gender in Ireland will be simplified, after a review found that the current requirements are “too onerous”.

New legislation will remove the requirement for 16- and 17-year-olds to go through a court process and have their gender certified by two medical practitioners before it’s legally recognised.

Instead, 16- and 17-year-olds will be able to self-declare their gender – with parental consent – in the same way as trans people over the age of 18 in the country.

In 2015, Ireland passed a law that allows trans adults to self-declare their legal gender without having to go through the courts or medical professionals.

The law was reviewed in 2018, with the review group making several suggestions for improving it, including lowering the age of legal gender self-ID to 16 and recognising non-binary transgender identities in Ireland.

A person’s legal gender is that on their birth certificate, which can only be changed once the person has obtained a Gender Recognition Certificate.

Announcing the changes for 16- and 17-year-olds, the Irish minister for employment affairs and social protection, Regina Doherty, said, “I am pleased to be able to propose amendments to the Gender Recognition Act to simplify the existing process for 16 and 17 year olds.

“One of the main findings of the Review Group was that the current legislation is too onerous for children aged 16 and 17 years, as it involves a court process and certification by two medical practitioners.

“The measures I am proposing today aim to reform this process to reflect the fact that the legal recognition of a person’s gender is separate and distinct from any question of medical intervention, and should be facilitated with parental consent and a simple revocation process.”

However, trans rights groups in Ireland expressed their disappointment that despite the review team recommending extending legal recognition to non-binary people, this will not be implemented.

The government also rejected plans to implement changes relating to trans children under the age of 16.

Two trans rights groups, TENI and BeLonG, released a statement that said: “While welcoming the proposed amendments, we are deeply disappointed that the Government did not take this opportunity to implement all the recommendations in the Review Report.”

More: gender recognition act, gender recognition certificate, gender recognition laws, legal gender, trans rights

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