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15 JUL 2015
Press Release: Gender Recognition Bill Completes Passage Through the Oireachtas
Today (Wednesday 15th July), the Gender Recognition Bill completed its passage through the Oireachtas. The Bill will now go to the President to be signed and will shortly become law. The legislation is expected to be enacted before the end of July and come into operation before the end of summer.
"This is a historic moment for the trans community in Ireland. Today is the first day we will be seen as who we truly are. Dr Lydia Foy's twenty-two year journey has finally come to an end," said TENI Chair Sara R. Phillips.
"This legislation marks an incredible shift in Irish society. Our community is finally stepping out of the shadows. We want to thank Minister Burton and Minister Humphreys for their leadership and vision. We would also like to thank all of our allies in the Dáil and Seanad for their support. Finally, we simply would not be here without the work of all the trans activists and organisations that made this legislation possible," said TENI Chief Executive Broden Giambrone.
Ireland Leads the Way with Self-determination
Ireland has become the fourth country in the world to specifically introduce legislation based on self-determination. Ireland has joined Argentina, Denmark, Malta and most recently Colombia, in removing all medical criteria from the legal recognition process. This means there is no requirement for medical interventions or diagnosis of a mental disorder. Trans people over the age of 18 will be able to self-declare their gender by way of a statutory declaration.
"Trans people should be the experts of our own gender identity. There is a clear legislative trend towards self-determination and Ireland is taking its position as a global leader in the area of trans rights. Self-determination is at the core of our human rights," said Phillips.
Trans People Speak
Speaking after the passage of the Gender Recognition Bill, trans people reflected on what the legislation meant to them:
"Today marks the start of the rest of my life, I am having my deepest childhood dream realised. No legislative change could ever happen in the future that could effect me more than the one that was passed. Today my identity has been finally recognised as authentic by the state. I have seen a massive amount of support for trans people in and outside of Leinster House, support that could never have been imagined when I first realised I was transgender. I'll never forget how this feels," said Sam Blanckensee, 21, trans guy.
"I am so proud of my country today! This legislation is something that will make an enormous difference to my life. Finally I will be able to have matching identity documents and I will be spared the discomfort and embarrassment of having to out myself as trans in public settings. So many times in my life I have felt like I had to ask for permission to exist but that will no longer be the case. I am very grateful to all of the organisations, activists and politicians who worked so hard to bring this legislation through the Oireachtas," said Ben Power, 34, trans man.
"The Gender Recognition Bill is an incredibly important moment for Ireland's transgender community. Despite some issues this Bill including self-determination will change many lives and means a lot. It's been fantastic to help work towards this and I can't wait to continue the fight towards recognition for those under 18 and non-binary people," said Toryn Glavin, 21, trans.
Next Steps for the Trans Community
"This is a historic moment for our community. From our hero Lydia Foy to all the allies, families, TDs, Senators and individuals who worked, lobbied and debated on our behalf, I want to say thank you. While the legislation is still not perfect, and we must not forget those under 18, non-binary people and people with an intersex condition, it is wonderful that Ireland recognised its citizens' rights to determine our own identity. We are in a new era for trans rights in Ireland," concluded Phillips.
For Further Information
Contact TENI's Chief Executive, Broden Giambrone, on 087 135 9816 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) seeks to improve conditions and advance the rights and equality of trans people and their families. www.teni.ie / 01 873 3575.