Transgender people aged 16 and over will be able to have their gender legally recognised under proposed legislation.
A new draft of the General Scheme of the Gender Recognition Bill published yesterday allows for the lowering of the allowable age of recognition of the acquired gender from 18 to 16 years.
However, for those aged between 16 and 18 there are two additional safeguards that must be adhered to before the acquired gender is recognised.
A person aged 16 or 17 must have the consent of a parent or guardian. Secondly, the application must be accompanied by confirmation from the person’s own doctor and an independent doctor that he or she is “sufficiently mature to make the application”.
The lowering of the age of recognition, with the two safeguards, has resulted from a recommendation from the Oireachtas Committee on Education and Social Protection, which studied an earlier draft of the proposed legislation.
Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton, who sponsored the legislation, said last night the process helped give a better understanding of the "complex issues that are being addressed in this legislation".
The legislation will allow a person to have their acquired gender fully recognised for all purposes, including dealings with the State, public bodies, and civil and commercial society.
This will be done through the issuing of a gender recognition certificate by the Department of Social Protection. The person would then be officially legally recognised by the State as being of the acquired gender from the date of the decision to issue the gender recognition certificate. They must provide a supporting letter from their doctor.
They would then be able to apply for a new birth certificate.
They would be entitled to marry a person of the opposite gender or enter a civil partnership with a person of the same gender.
“It will be a streamlined and dignified process which protects all concerned and ensures that the registration process will be robust,” said Ms Burton.