Protesters highlight ‘significant flaws’ in gender Bill

Proposed legislation described as ‘surface deep’ amid concerns not all would be covered

Around 200 people attended a rally outside Leinster House today to highlight what they say are significant flaws in the proposed Gender Recognition Bill 2014 currently before the Houses of the Oireachtas.

Cearbhall Turraoin, an organiser with LGBT Noise, said certain groups would not be covered under the proposed legislation, describing the Bill in its current form as "surface deep".

“The Government have developed the legislation to fit the people who most fit their narrative,” he said.

He pointed out that, under the proposed legislation, applicants for legal gender recognition must be single meaning married people “who don’t want a divorce or who don’t qualify for a divorce” would be excluded.

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Mr Turraoin added that the proposed Bill might not cover the needs of intersex people (those who cannot be distinctly identified as male or female) and would “automatically exclude” non-binary individuals (those who don’t identify as male or female).

He added that under -16s would be unable to gain recognition while the obligations required of those aged between 16 and 18 are such that “it will take them longer than two years to meet” the requirements .

“The Government is trying to bring in a piece of legislation which is obselete before it has even been enacted.”

Victoria Mullen of Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) described the legislation as "an affront to our human rights".

“I won’t be able to avail of this legislation: one, I am married and I don’t want a divorce,” Ms Mullen said.

She added that there was a requirement under the Bill for an endocrinologist or psychiatrist to confirm that the person transitioning to his or her preferred gender fully understands the consequences of his or her decision.

“The insult is being asked to go to a psychiatrist...to tell me I am who I am. I’ve known since I was three years of age who I am. I don’t need to go to a psychiatrist,” she said.

In 2007 a High Court ruling found that the State was in breach of its obligations under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights as it failed to recognise transgender woman Dr Lydia Foy in her female gender and had not provided her with a new birth certificate.