Minister Burton launches Transgender Recognition Bill
Posted on July 17, 2013 at 08:36 PM
The Gender Recognition Bill 2013, which was published today by Minister Burton, will mean a person who is over 18 and who changes gender will have that new gender fully recognised by the State. It will include the right to marry or enter into a civil partnership in the new gender and the right to have a new birth certificate. The Labour Party pledged in our election manifesto to introduce legislation when in government to recognise transgender people in the law; this Bill delivers on that promise.
Speaking about the Bill, Minister Burton said: “Since becoming Minister, I have engaged with the groups representing transgender people and I am very aware that the longstanding lack of legal recognition has caused on-going hurt as well as real practical difficulties. I believe that this Bill will go a long way towards addressing those concerns. It again shows that this Government is prepared to resolve issues left unaddressed for far too long.”
The General Scheme of the Bill was approved by Cabinet this week and follows the recommendations of the Report of the Gender Recognition Advisory Group [GRAG]. The process for people to have their new gender recogised will involve: a statutory self-declaration by the applicant that they intend to live permanently in the new gender; and validation by the primary treating physician that the person has transitioned or is transitioning to the acquired gender.
The applicant will not have to specify that they have been living in their acquired gender for a specific period of time prior to their application. Up to now transgender people have not enjoyed recognition under the law for their acquired gender.
Speaking about today's announcement Deputy Anne Ferris said: "It’s been well over a decade since Lydia Foy began legal proceedings to gain recognition of her gender by this State. The fact that she had to resort to the courts to achieve some measure of justice over this long period of time is nothing short of disgraceful.
“I have been working on this issue since I was elected and have met with and made representations on behalf of the interested groups. I am delighted then, that Minister Burton has taken the initiative to publish this Bill to ensure that everyone has a right to legal recognition of their self-identified gender."
Ireland South MEP Phil Prendergast also welcomed the announcement saying it will 'enable us to recognise and fight for the rights of transgender people in Ireland, who are so often left on the margins'.
"It is long past due and hopefully will bear Ireland into a new generation of equality and acceptance. I am extremely proud of the Labour Party today, for bringing Ireland into the future with a strong social rights Bill. We didn’t just talk about it, we actually did it."
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