Government agrees self-declaration approach for Gender Recognition Bill


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The Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, T.D. today (Wednesday, 03 June 2015) announced that, following the agreement of Cabinet, the application process under the Gender Recognition Bill will, for people aged 18 years or more, be based on the  person's self-declaration by way of a statutory declaration.

Once enacted, the Gender Recognition Bill will mean that a person who transitions gender will have their preferred gender fully recognised by the State for all purposes – including the right to marry or enter a civil partnership in the preferred gender and the right to a new birth certificate.

As it currently stands, the Bill provides that the application process for a gender recognition certificate would require an endocrinologist or psychiatrist to provide a supporting statement that an applicant is transitioning or has transitioned to the applicant's preferred gender. Following today's Cabinet decision, however, this will no longer be the case, and amendments will be made to the Bill at Committee Stage to ensure there will be no need for a supporting statement from a medical practitioner.

The Tánaiste said, "Throughout the drafting of this Bill, I have listened carefully to the views of individual citizens, representative groups and public representatives. It is essential that this important legislation is in line with international best practice. That is why we are moving to a self-declaration model for people aged 18 and over. This approach will have no impact on the treatment pathway which is completely separate from the civil registration process."

There will be no change in relation to the provisions for applicants aged 16-17 years.  A Court process is required involving supporting medical statements before an application for a gender recognition certificate can be made. The Bill contains these safeguards in order to balance the rights of such applicants with the need to protect their interests at a potentially vulnerable age.

Minister of State, Kevin Humphreys, T.D. said, "I am delighted with the changes to the Bill agreed by Government today. They place Ireland firmly in the most progressive group of countries for the recognition of transgender people. Also the requirement in the Bill that an applicant for gender recognition is single is being dropped. As the marriage equality referendum has been passed there is no Constitutional barrier to a person in a marriage or civil partnership having their preferred gender legally recognised. The necessary changes to the Bill will be done by way of Committee Stage amendments in the Dáil."

The Tánaiste confirmed "It remains my firm intention and that of the Government that this much needed civil rights legislation will be passed this year."

ENDS

Last modified:03/06/2015