Irish trans woman wins EU prize after 17-year battle for gender recognition

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An Irish trans woman who spent nearly two decades suing the Irish government for her right to gender recognition has been awarded a European honour.

Dr Lydia Foy spent over 17 years in the court system arguing for her right to gender recognition in the Republic of Ireland – which until this year did not recognise trans people at all.

However, after a string of court victories for Dr Foy, the government committed to passing a gender recognition law to finally grant rights to trans people – and did so earlier this year,

The progressive new law, which came into effect last month, includes sweeping changes to allow transgender people to self-declare their gender, by filling out a simple form.

The new process has been hailed for its lack of bureaucracy and medical requirements- the form to change legal gender is is shorter than the one to renew a passport.

Dr Foy was awarded the European Parliament’s Citizen’s Prize in Brussels this week, in recognition of what she achieved.

She said: “I feel now that with the endorsement of Europe and the endorsement of Ireland, I can say yes, maybe I was doing something right for the good of people, for access to the law and for future generations when it comes to diversity. Hopefully we’ll have a more open mind and won’t be marginalising anybody

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan told the Irish Times: “Not only from an Irish point of view, but hearing she’s the first transgender person to receive any sort of European award or recognition is a really important message to send to transgender communities across Europe.”