The Gender Recognition Bill, what is it?
Moving video from TENI about the bill and its limitations
The Gender Recognition Bill has now been discussed by the cabinet and will move on to committee stage. Back in January, when the bill was being debated in the Seanad, Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) produced a moving and informative video about what this legislation means to the trans community and why they feel it does not go far enough.
What does the Gender Recognition Bill include?
This bill will make a significant difference to the lives of transgender people in Ireland. For the first time ever in Ireland trans people will be issued with a gender recognition certificate which will....
- recognise their preferred gender in all circumstances by the State, i.e banks, government institutions. This means that transgender individuals will not have to explain themselves over and over. They will finally be recognised for who they are by Ireland.
- mean that they may marry a person of the opposite gender or the same gender.
- mean that transgender people will be entitled to a new birth certificate that will include their preferred gender and their new name (if they decide to change their name).
What changes have been made to the bill?
Since the time when the bill had been originally drafted, many of its issues have been addressed, including:
- the forced divorce clause, that would require married trans* people to divorce before obtaining gender recognition, has now been removed.
- a supporting statement from a psychiatrist or endocrinologist will no longer be required to obtain gender recognition for people over 18.
What are the limitations of the bill?
This bill is hugely important for members of the trans* community. However there are many, including TENI, Senator Jillian Van Turnhout, and Senator Katherine Zappone, that feel that this legislation does not go far enough. Crucially, the bill does not allow for younger transgender people and children to obtain gender recognition.
- Only those over the age of 18 can change their gender and name on their birth certificate. Those aged betweent 16 and 17 can avail of the gender recognition certificate with permission from their parents or guardians and approval from their main medical specialist as well as an independent medical specialist. There is no provision for those under 16 to have their true gender recognised.
The Gender Recognition Bill is clearly a step in the right direction for Ireland but there are deficiencies in the proposed legislation that will continue to inhibit the lives of trans community and their desire to be accepted for who they are.