Transgender Rights Must Be Protected in New Legislation

A group of civil society organisations are today calling on politicians to consider the human rights of transgender and intersex people as the Oireachtas Committee debates the Gender Recognition Bill this week.

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TENI
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Broden Giambrone, Director of TENI (Transgender Equality Network Ireland), said: “While we welcome the development of the Gender Recognition Bill, there are a number of key areas where rights are not sufficiently protected. These must be addressed if this long overdue legislation is to adequately support transgender and intersex people in Ireland. We look forward to the opportunity to discuss these and other concerns with the Oireachtas Committee.”

Catherine Cross of TransParenCI, a support group for the parents and families of transgender people, added: “We are particularly concerned that the current draft of the Bill excludes under 18s. But if being transgender and under 18 is recognised by the State there will be an onus on service providers to educate themselves and put clear guidelines in place.”

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Dr Carol-Anne O’Brien, Advocacy Coordinator of BeLonG To Youth Services, said, “Trans young people across Ireland tell us that they feel devalued and vulnerable in their schools.  BeLonG To is very concerned that the situation will be made even worse by the blanket exclusion of under-18s from the bill.”

Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International, said: “We are also concerned that applicants are not allowed to be married or in a civil partnership and that a doctor’s certificate is required. Discrimination against transgender and intersex people is a very serious issue and this legislation must lead the way in challenging that. We hope the Government will adopt crucial recommendations to ensure we have new law that protects the human rights of transgender and intersex people.”

Three key issues with the Scheme of the Gender Recognition Bill 2013 that must be addressed are:

  • That gender recognition certificates may only be issued to individuals over 18 years of age on the date of application;
  • The requirement that applicants for a gender recognition certificate are not in an existing valid marriage or civil partnership;
  • That an application for a gender recognition certificate is required to be supported by a statement from the applicant’s primary treating physician.

Background
This joint statement is being released ahead of this week’s hearings by the Joint Oireachtas Committee being held on Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 October. Bodies appearing before the Committee include Amnesty International, BeLonG To Youth Services, LGBT Noise, TENI and TransParenCI.

The organisations who have signed up to this statement are:

Amnesty International Ireland
BeLonG To Youth Services
GLEN
LGBT Noise
TENI
TransParenCI parent and family support group

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