Dr Lydia Foy was presented with the European Citizens’ Prize at a ceremony in Dublin today.
The European Citizens’ Prize was launched by the European Parliament to recognise exceptional achievements by Europeans.
Dr Foy was awarded the prize for her exceptional work over many decades for transgender rights.
Dr Foy began her long battle in 1997 when, represented by FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres), she took legal action for the right to have her female gender legally recognised in Ireland.
Speaking at the ceremony in Dublin today, Lydia said: “I am both proud and thrilled to accept this European award.
"The award is being presented to me but I accept it on behalf of all those who have worked with me over the decades on Transgender Rights. In particular I would like to thank FLAC for all its advice, support and very difficult legal work through the years.
"Today is an acknowledgement of all of that work.
“It is a great day for me and for the Trans community in Ireland. With this piece of paper and after 22 years of struggle, my country has finally recognised me for who I really am, not for what other people think I should be.
"I am especially pleased for young Trans people, that they will not have to go through the pain, the isolation, the lack of understanding and the abuse that my generation had to endure.
“I am deeply honoured to be given the Medal of Honour by the European Parliament and I regard it as a tribute to all those who have helped us to become equal citizens of this State. I would also like to thank MEPs Martina Anderson, Lynn Boylan, Matt Carthy and Liadh Ni Riada who proposed me for this honour.”