Ireland passes law granting trans people greater rights

July 19, 2015

Ireland passed a new Gender Recognition Bill on July 15 that will allow transgender people to change their birth certificates and other documents, and achieve full legal recognition of their preferred gender. The bill is an elaboration on a previous one that allowed the legal changes, but only with a supporting statement from a doctor.

“This legislation marks an incredible shift in Irish society. Our community is finally stepping out of the shadows,” said Sara Phillips, chair of the Transgender Equality Network.

Ireland is the third European country to allow transgender people over the age of 18 to change their legal gender without interventions. The other two nations are Denmark and Malta. Transgender people across Europe face major barriers in this legal process. The majority of European countries continue to require that people undergo surgery and sterilisation procedures, be diagnosed with a mental disorder and get divorced if married, before they can have their desired gender legally recognised.

Transgender people in Ireland are not required to divorce or end civil partnership to have their preferred gender legally recognised, since the country passed same-sex legislation in May. The Gender Recognition Bill will be officially signed into law by President Michael Higgins by the end of July.

The bill was met with some criticism, however, as Senator Jillian van Turnhout said it did not do enough for transgender people under 18 years-old. “It's a bitter sweet day … gender recognition is now available for adults, however children continue to be ignored and excluded from the scope of this bill,” said van Turnhout.

[Reprinted from TeleSUR English.]

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