When Lydia Foy was born in 1947, her birth was registered as male, but from an early age, she knew that all was not right: “I knew I wasn’t to be allowed be myself and I couldn’t tell anyone basically,” she reflected in an RTE documentary.
Attending boarding school, university and qualifying as a dentist, for over four decades she struggled to come to terms with her transgender syndrome.
“I made a powerful effort to try and conform for a good while,” Foy said.
After a long personal battle, Foy finally traveled to London for sex reassignment surgery in 1992. She later went on to fight for legal recognition to live as a woman in Ireland. In June 2010 she won a landmark High Court Ruling when it was established that Irish transgender rights laws were in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.
In a new RTE documentary “My Name is Lydia Foy”, the 64-year-old talks about the many difficulties she faced as a person with transgender syndrome.
“I would have been battered, I would be ridiculed and bashed and called stupid,” Foy said of her childhood, during the RTE radio documentary.
“It was a very strict society back then, so a lot of it was kept internally.
“I couldn’t have said, look it I would like a dress, not in a million years.
“You couldn’t discuss anything like that with your parents really, even though they were very, very good to us all.
“You cannot sort of blame them as such, it was just society.
“They used to try and say ‘oh you have a complex’ like you didn’t have a father figure.
“I did have a father figure and he was a real man’s man, he loves shooting and the rest of it," she reflected.
Currently, Ireland has no gender recognition act. Last Tuesday the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton, presented a report on the issue of legal recognition of transsexuals to the cabinet.
Despite winning her landmark case last year, Dr. Foy is still waiting for her birth certificate to be rectified.
“Calling somebody transsexual is just a marginalizing term,” Foy said during the documentary.
“There shouldn’t be any labels attached after treatment, you have aligned yourself as best you can.
“The correct term is that my name is Lydia Foy, end of story. I no longer need a label thank you very much,” Foy concludes.
Click here to watch RTE’s Documentary on One: “My Name is Lydia Foy”.