Call to extend gender laws

There should be no legal age restrictions on allowing young people to identify as transgender and teachers should be given specific training in how to respond to pupils facing the situation.

Teenagers and young adults who identify as transgender urged the moves at the launch of a nine-month Government review of existing policy in the area.

Under plans announced by Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty, the Government is to review the 2015 Gender Recognition Act to examine whether gaps in its effectiveness need to be addressed.

The review is due to be completed by next summer and will be led by Belong director Moninne Griffith. It will examine whether to extend gender recognition rules to teenagers aged 16 and 17, or potentially those who are younger.

Speaking yesterday, teenagers and young adults who identify as transgender said they welcomed a further examination of the law and how it can help people who may otherwise be left in vulnerable situations.

They believe no age restriction should take place and that teachers in schools should be told to undergo specific training in how to interact with someone who is transgender.

“There should be [school] supports. It is really hard to be in school when people don’t have their genders recognised at all, and because of that they’re not going to have the best education they can,” said Kai Donohoe, 18, from Dublin. “There should be no issue with people exploring who they are.”

Cameron Keighory, 23, from Galway, said: “I don’t think there should be any age cut-off point. We should empower young people to self-identify.”

The minister said while the 2015 Act was ground-breaking, it “probably left a lot of questions unanswered for people the legislation didn’t administer to”.

Ms Griffith said while there are differing views on the issue, people’s focus should be on ensuring everyone “feels protected, valued, welcomed, and that they belong”.

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