Irish trans woman wins battle to be recognised as female

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Ireland is to introduce new legislation to recognise trans people’s new identities after the government scrapped an appeal to the Supreme Court.

The case was brought by Lydia Foy, a trans woman who battled for 13 years to be legally recognised as female on her birth certificate.

Dr Foy, a former dentist from Co Kildare, transitioned in the early 1990s. She was able to obtain a new driving licence, passport and polling card in her new name and gender but was barred from being able to amend her birth certificate.

Her lawyers argued she was born with a “congenital disability”, whereby her brain was female but her body was male.

Her former wife and two daughters contested her legal attempt, fearing their succession rights would be affected and the marriage invalidated if she won her case.

The High Court ruled in 2000 that the Irish government’s choice not to issue her with a new birth certificate violated international human rights laws and the state officially withdrew its legal challenge to the decision today.

Dr Foy’s solicitor, Michael Farrell, urged the government to act quickly to put new laws into place.

“This has been a long and painful road for her to travel, but her action will help many others who have to make this difficult journey too,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Social Protection told the Belfast Telegraph that a trans group was currently advising Minister Eamon O’Cuiv on the legislation required.

Carol-Anne O’Brien of Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) said: “Today’s announcement is an important step forward by the Irish State. It will bring Irish law closer to EU norms and it contributes to the human rights of transgender people in Ireland.

“TENI would like to take this opportunity to warmly congratulate Dr Foy on her victory. Dr Foy’s courage and tenacity has won an important achievement for all within Ireland’s trans and wider LGBTQ community.”

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