Cabinet to discuss legislation on gender identity

Legislation allowing people who undergo sex-change operations to be officially identified by their new gender, is set to be discussed by cabinet today. The law is expected to be in place before the Dáil recess in mid-July.

The bill was initially called for after a successful European Court of Human Rights case taken by dentist Lydia Forde against the State in 2010. Dr Forde took the action as, despite undergoing a transgender operation in 1993, she was unable to identify herself as a woman in official documentation — a situation that the court said was a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The bill to shore up the legal dispute passed the first stages of becoming law in March before it was delayed until after the same-sex marriage referendum to avoid any confusion over the vote.

Campaign group Transgender Equality Network Ireland last night welcomed the timeline for putting the new law in place, saying the development and recent high-profile case of Caitlyn Jenner — formerly Bruce Jenner — in the US would have a huge impact on helping the “few hundred” people in this situation in Ireland.

However, spokesperson Broden Gambrione warned the wording of the document is still potentially discriminatory. He said under the legislation anybody who has undergone a transgender operation would only be able to re-identify after they have been given permission to do so by an endocrinologist and a psychologist.

The spokesperson said that was offensive as nobody “has the right to say who you are and who you are not” and that the document should be changed to allow for “self- determination” of an identify once the sex change operation has taken place.

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