Call for publication of gender-recognition law review

Minister expected to bring report to Cabinet this week with proposals for new legislation

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty is expected to bring the review to Cabinet on Tuesday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty is expected to bring the review to Cabinet on Tuesday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

 

A call has been made for the publication of a review into Ireland’s gender-recognition law.

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty is expected to bring the review to Cabinet on Tuesday.

One of the provisions of the 2015 Gender Recognition Act is the completion of a review after two years.

It is reported to recommend removal of the restriction on children under 16 changing gender.

It proposes that courts should become involved in adjudicating gender-recognition applications for children only when a parent does not give consent or there is a concern about mental health.

It recommends children should be allowed to change their gender without having to go to court and that those under 16 should be allowed to change gender if they have parental consent, according to a Sunday Times report.

Sinn Féin Senator Fintan Warfield, who last year introduced a Bill to update the legislation, called for the report’s immediate publication.

He said there had been “rumours that it was positive”.

Mr Warfield said the 2015 Act was “one of the most progressive pieces of legislation in the world” with the exception of the provisions for children under 16 and those in the 16/17 age category.

The legislation requires psychiatric assessment and the involvement of the courts, parental consent for 16 and 17-year-olds and restrictions on those under 16. They have to be assessed before hormone and other follow-up treatments.

But campaigners have backed the World Health Organisation view that it is not a medical condition.

Mr Warfield said that if legislation is necessary it should be introduced without delay “if it is within the spirit of a positive response”.

The Dublin-based Senator introduced the Gender Recognition (Amendment) Bill last year, which passed second stage.

He said he did not push for it to go to the committee stage because it was intended as a campaign tool for the review to give gender recognition rights to under 16s.

“It would be a good thing for the Government to bring forward legislation” and it should be done without delay.

He said young transgender people have had to wait too long for legislation.

Positive legislation “will end forced outing of oneself if certain legal documents (including birth certificates) align with a person’s true gender”.