Irish Parliament set to approve gender recognition bill tomorrow

Ireland’s progressive new gender recognition bill is set to head to Parliament tomorrow, for the final stage of debate prior to becoming law.

The Republic of Ireland currently does not legally recognise transgender people at all – but following a protracted legal battle with trans woman Dr Lydia Foy, the government last year committed to passing a trans recognition law.

The Gender Recognition Bill is currently passing through the Irish Parliament, and sweeping changes have been made to allow transgender people to gain legal recognition without seeing a doctor or getting medical treatment.

The bill, which is one of a number of landmark LGBT reforms set to become law in Ireland this year, will tomorrow head back to the upper house (Seanad) for the Report and Final Stages.

Sara R Phillips of the Transgender Equality Network Ireland said: “This is a momentous occasion for the trans community in Ireland.

“Dr Lydia Foy’s twenty-two year journey is finally coming to an end. The Government’s formal recognition of the trans community means that we will finally step out of the shadows. I will be recognised for who I truly am.”

After an expected smooth passing through the Seanad tomorrow, the bill will await the signture of Irish President Michael D Higgins.

The bill has some critics, with one Senator calling for changes to recognise children who are transgender on an interim basis, instead of just over-16s.

Sara R Phillips added: “This is not the end of our work. We will continue to lobby and advocate for young people to be meaningfully included in legal gender recognition legislation.

“We’ve come a very long way. The passage of the Gender Recognition Bill signals a new era for trans rights in Ireland.”

As Ireland’s new law will allow self-determination, it is set to be more progressive than the UK’s 2004 Gender Recognition Act.