Impact of Gender Recognition Act

Sir, – So-called "self-ID" laws for transgender people have been in operation in Ireland since 2015, a fact that seems to have escaped the notice of some self-identified Irish feminists (Letters, March 13th), who would have us believe that the law was hastily and quietly changed while the rest of the country was distracted by more important issues.

This will surely come as some surprise to those of us within the LGBT community who had been publicly campaigning for such a change for many years, beginning with Lydia Foy’s efforts to have her gender identity recognised in the 1990s. This involved numerous well-publicised court cases, Oireachtas reports and newspaper articles.

This is undoubtedly politically inconvenient for campaigners against self-ID, who are faced with the uncomfortable fact that these laws were not particularly controversial when they were introduced here. While Irish anti-trans campaigners now echo the tactics and rhetoric of their British counterparts, even as they insist that theirs is a homegrown movement, we must not allow our history to be rewritten – especially when this erases the achievements of LGBT people who have fought so long and so hard for our rights. – Yours, etc,

DR BRIAN CAREY, Philosophy Department, Trinity College Dublin.


DR ELIZABETH VENTHAM, Philosophy Department, The University of Liverpool.

Sir, – In her article ("Irish feminists must avoid British trap of transphobia" (Opinion, March 12th), Emer O'Toole describes the passing of the Gender Recognition Act 2015 as, "Riding the coat tails of the marriage equality referendum, which removed some impediments to self-ID, the Irish legislation passed with little opposition and much celebration".

Your writer has disingenuously conflated the marriage equality referendum with the passing of the Gender Recognition Act. These two pieces of legislation have nothing in common except the date on which they were passed. There was no public vote on whether gender self-identify should be introduced.

The legislation was passed without opposition because nobody knew about it.

As the impact of the law begins to make itself known, Irish people, and particularly Irish women, are starting to ask questions that should have been asked back in 2015. The Act raises significant safeguarding concerns for women and girls insofar as it entitles any man who self-identifies as a woman to access female-only spaces, eg changing rooms, domestic violence shelters, etc.

It is not transphobic to organise to protect women and girls from male violence, but it is unquestionably misogynistic to try to stop us from doing it. – Yours, etc,

HELEN POSTMA, Blackrock, Co Dublin.