Ireland could be gay rights model - activist

Sat, Oct 20, 2012, 01:00

IRELAND COULD be a model in Europe on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights if it chose to be, said the director of an international human rights organisation yesterday.

Mary Lawlor of Dublin-based Frontline Defenders also urged the Government to provide gender recognition for transgender individuals in Ireland.

Ms Lawlor was speaking after a panel discussion at the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association’s European conference held in Dublin this week.

The event is the largest LGBTI conference in Europe and 235 participants from 42 countries are taking part.

“If Ireland chose it could be a model for Europe,” she said. “Obviously political will is very important in all of this and certainly great strides have been made – however I think it’s always the case where any group is marginalised you have to fight apathy.

“Transgender people are people who are multiply discriminated against in every way and I would urge the Government to bring in legislation and make sure their rights are provided for.”

Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of the Lydia Foy case, where the High Court ruled in favour of Lydia Foy, a transgender woman who lobbied for 15 years to have her gender recognised.

In 2007 the Supreme Court found the government in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. In 2010 the government established an inter-departmental group to create a method of recognition for transgender people and in 2011 the Gender Recognition Advisory Group released a report with a promise of legislation to follow.

However no gender recognition legislation has yet been passed in Ireland.