A foreign national has made Irish history – as the first transgender person born a man to enter a civil partnership with another woman.
The woman, known as Maria in media reports, has got around Irish laws which prohibit transgender women from the civil partnership process.
The Irish Times reports that the woman, born in another EU member state, married another non-national in the recent ceremony.
Her story has been highlighted by the Flac action group to highlight the lack of recognition for transgenders under Irish law.
The paper reports that campaigners have noted that the Government has not yet introduced legislation to recognise transgender people.
Flac, a legal rights organisation, acted on behalf of the women in relation to the civil ceremony and wants to ‘highlight an anomaly that now exists in Irish law’.
Maria is fully recognised as a woman in her home EU state and the Irish authorities were obliged to recognise her gender under European employment laws on free movement for workers.
The current Civil Partnership Act in Ireland requires that civil partners must be legally of the same sex.
Flac took Maria’s case to the Civil Registration Service who recognised her as female even though the Irish Government has not yet introduced legislation to recognise transgender persons.
An Irish transgender person cannot enter a civil partnership under similar circumstances even though the High Court ruled in 2007 that Irish law was in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights in relation to transgender people. The law has still to change.
Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has pledged to publish legislation this year to provide for recognition of the new acquired gender of transgender people.
Flac, who have warned of further legal challenges if the law isn’t amended, estimate there are 300 people with gender identity disorder in Ireland - the majority are males wishing to become female.