Lydia Foy’s gender fight ‘to be acknowledged as equal’

Transgender rights activist, Lydia Foy, who fought a long legal battle for recognition of her female gender, said it is all about being acknowledged as an equal citizen.

“It was a long struggle but it was worth it knowing that future generations won’t experience the same struggle I did,” she said.

The Free Legal Aid Centre (Flac) has published a report of Ms Foy’s fight for justice and the struggle for transgender rights in Ireland.

At the launch of the report in Dublin yesterday, Flac chief executive, Eilis Barry, described Ms Foy as an incredibly strong, brave and resilient person who had brought a sea-change in law and how society viewed gender.

Flac chairman, Peter Ward, said it is because of Ms Foy that transgender people can now have their correct gender recognised in Irish law.

“Thanks to Lydia Foy and the legal team in Flac, we have made significant progress towards ending the social exclusion of transgender people in our society,” said Mr Ward.

The report includes an interview with Ms Foy, who first sought a change to her birth certificate in 1993.

“When I first began my case, homosexuality was still illegal in Ireland — that may remind people of the atmosphere that prevailed at the time,” she wrote.

In 1997, Flac began to provide assistance with her case and Ms Foy — they listened to her and asked the right questions.

“The process was much too long — I am now 70 and this struggle has taken up nearly a third of my life,” she wrote.

But getting her birth certificate was a great vindication.

“People sometimes ask me about labels but my name is Lydia, and this case was about having an acknowledgement of me as an equal citizen of the State. I finally have that now.”

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