Law recognising transsexual people to go before Irish parliament

November 30, 2009

Via the Irish Examiner:

CONTROVERSIAL laws allowing transsexuals to be recognised in their acquired gender are likely to go before the Dáil next year following demands from the Green Party.

Minister for Social and Family Affairs Mary Hanafin said work will get under way “immediately” to see how legal recognition for people who change their sex can be incorporated into law. This is likely to require new legislation.

Between 80 and 100 people are currently accessing hormone therapy after undergoing sex changes. However, the number of people who define themselves in a gender category different to that on their birth certificate could be much higher, according to Cat McIlroy of TENI, the Transgender Equality Network Ireland.


At the request of the junior partner, the renewed government agreement says: “We will introduce legal recognition of the acquired gender of transsexuals.”

Green TD Ciarán Cuffe said his party argued that “a person should be legally recognised with the gender they wish to be recognised with.” However, Fianna Fáil were concerned that people would seek to change their gender for reasons other than psychological or medical, such as welfare or other entitlements.


The state has dropped an appeal of a High Court decision that it is in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights in not having a process and a register legally to recognise the acquired gender of transsexual persons. Ireland is one of two European countries that refuses to allow people to change their gender on their birth certificate.

Ms McIlroy said she hopes the Government can see this as a human rights issue: “Having your identity validated and respected by the Government and the rest of your peers is important for everyone,” she said. “Trans people can have their passport amended or have their name change, but not their birth certificate and that is crucial to the identity of many people.”

“It needs to be shown in regard to marriage, meaning many trans people cannot legally marry their partner. It’s also important if you are arrested for a crime in relation to how you are charged and where you are detained. There is anecdotal evidence of trans women being incarcerated in male facilities.”

Good that the Green Party is pushing for this; bad that it needs to.

As for Fianna Fáil, and its “concerns” that people might wish to obtain legal recognition “for reasons other than psychological or medical, such as welfare or other entitlements”, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. May I suggest that it educates itself without delay, to avoid making such offensive and ignorant comments in future? Remember, at the very least, Google is your friend.


5 Responses to “Law recognising transsexual people to go before Irish parliament”

  1. I truly hope that this passes in Ireland. Being someone who is entitled to Irish citizenship, it will help me out if I ever decide to live there. I am very happy about the recent changes in the Passports Bill, especially since it also recognizes pre-ops (those undergoing hormone therapy, like I am).

  2. […] good news: Ireland has a possible law going before Parliament that will recognize the chosen gender marker/identity of trans individuals. The Green Party is […]

  3. Edith Pilkington Says:

    I am curious about this. I have dual U S/Irish citizenship. I am recognized as female by the U S government but not by the state where I was born, Tennessee. I have been told by someone who has a friend at the Irish Consulate in NYC,USA that her friend could help me have the sex designation changed to female on my passport and citizenship papers, and be recognized by Ireland the same way I am recognized by the US government. I have been reluctant to do this because I don’t know how it would affect my spouse’s status as far as obtaining a visa allowing her to stay in Ireland with me as my spouse and, ultimately, citizenship if we ever chose to live there. My hope is someone might read this message who would be able to clarify where I stand in this regard.

    Kind regards,


  4. Helen G Says:

    hi Edith

    ‘Fraid I don’t know the answer to that but happy to post your comment and keeping my fingers crossed that someone reading it can help.

    If anyone has any info that could help Edith, post a comment and I’ll pass the details on to Edith – let me know in your message if you want the details passed on in confidence and I’ll make sure not to publish here.


  5. Edith Pilkington Says:

    Thanks Helen,

    I thought it was worth a try. These legal issues can be very difficult to sort out.

    Thank you,


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