Irish state refuses to issue new birth certificates to transgender people
Legal challenge issued as law breaches European Convention
The Irish state is refusing to issue new birth certificates to transgender people – despite recognising such documentation from people born outside of Ireland.
The Irish Times reports that transgender people born outside of Ireland will have their status recognised by the State but the same right is not being extended at present to Irish nationals.
The paper reports on a government statement of policy on the rights of transgender people submitted to the Council of Europe.
It says the Irish Government has set out its policy on allowing transgender people to marry a person of the opposite sex.
According to the paper, the government has described the work as ‘in progress’ on this issue adding that ‘gender reassignment is not yet recognised in Ireland’.
A government statement added: “However, the General Registrar Office in Ireland will accept a birth certificate amended by another State where gender reassignment is recognised in support of notification of intention to marry or to enter into a civil partnership, from a person born outside of Ireland.”
The paper says this Government statement, originally issued in January, is in response to a questionnaire to all 47 member states of the Council of Europe.
The Irish Times report also highlights the story of Lydia Foy, the transgender woman who won a landmark High Court case for gender recognition in 2007.
Foy has now issued new proceedings against the State as she remains unable to get a birth certificate indicating she is a woman.
Dublin’s High Court ruled in October 2007 that Irish law was in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights for refusing to recognise the acquired gender of transgender people. A State appeal to the Supreme Court was withdrawn in June 2010.
The Irish Times says that since then successive governments have promised to introduce legislation to allow transgender people to get new birth certificates.
Transgender people can have passports and driving licences re-issued in their new gender but not new birth certificates.
Michael Farrell, solicitor for Foy, told the paper: “The statement that work is in progress to recognise transgender people’s gender is welcome.
“But it highlights how out of touch our law is compared with the rest of Europe and other countries. We are already in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights in Lydia Foy’s case.
“The law needs to be changed urgently or we may have a situation where European or American transgender persons can marry or have a civil partnership in this State but ‘no Irish need apply’.”
Foy, a former dentist who had gender reassignment surgery in England in 1992, told The Irish Times in February that she had lost a lot including her career as a result of her battle to have her gender recognised.
She said: “But I see everything flows from your identity. Being accepted for who I am is the most important thing. I would like to see this wrong put right as quickly and with as much dignity as possible.”
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