Minister Doherty announces launch of consultation process under review of the Gender Recognition Act


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Minister Doherty announces launch of consultation process under review of the Gender Recognition Act

8th January 2018: The Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty T.D., today announced the launch of the consultation process under the review of the Gender Recognition Act 2015 (the Act). 

Commenting on the launch, Minister Doherty stated: "I am very pleased that the review of the Gender Recognition Act is underway and to announce, today, the call for submissions under the consultation process.   This process is a key element of the review and I am keen to have the broadest possible level of consultation.   I particularly want to hear the voices of young people on this issue." 

The purpose of the Gender Recognition Act is to allow a person to legally change gender and it provides for the preferred gender of a person to be fully recognised by the State for all purposes.     An applicant who has attained the age of 18 years may apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate by way of self-determination.    A person aged 16 or 17 may apply to the court (through a parent or next friend) for an exemption from the standard requirement of a minimum age for gender recognition of 18 years.

Section 7 of the Act provides that the Minister for Social Protection shall carry out a review of the operation of the Act.     Minister Doherty appointed a Review Group chaired by Moninne Griffith (Executive Director, BeLonG To) which includes representation from the Transgender Equality Network of Ireland (TENI), other independent experts in the field and Government bodies with an interest in this area.  The Review Group is due to submit its report to the Minister in May this year.

Speaking about the consultation process, Ms. Griffith said: "I look forward to receiving the submissions made as part of this consultation process as they will be of enormous benefit to the group in its consideration of the issues."   

 

Consultation Process

Submissions are now invited, from interested individuals and organisations, on the current operation of the Gender Recognition Act 2015 and in relation to possible future operational and policy considerations.  Reflecting the terms of reference of the review group, those wishing to make a submission should do so under the following headings:

  1. Arrangements for children aged 16 to 17 years;
  2. Arrangements for children aged under 16 years;
  3. Arrangements for persons who identify as neither male nor female (e.g. non-binary);
  4. Arrangements for intersex people;
  5. Any other relevant issues, including issues relating to the operation of the current legislative provisions.

 

How to make a submission

Submissions may be made via email to: gender@welfare.ie (with the word "Submission" in the Subject line), or by post to: GRA2015 Review (Submission), GRO Policy Unit,  Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Floor 1, Áras Mhic Dhiarmada, Store Street, Dublin 1, D01 WY03.

Submissions should be returned not later than 5 February 2018 and should include the full name and address of the person making the submission and, where relevant, the name of the body or organisation represented.

All submissions will be acknowledged and will be considered by the Review Group.   The group will report to the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection on the consultation process.     Those who make submissions may be invited to meet with representatives of the Review Group.  

It should be noted that submissions received, and reports of any further consultations undertaken with any parties in response to this request, will be subject to Freedom of Information legislation and may be published on the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection website.  

A copy of the Gender Recognition Act 2015 is available here:  http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2015/act/25/enacted/en/html 

Further information including information relating to the application process and copies of annual reports, is available on the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection’s website here: www.welfare.ie/gender.

ENDS
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Contact Details
E: press.office@welfare.ie
T: 01 704 3847
Twitter: @welfare_ie


NOTE FOR EDITORS

Gender Recognition Act 2015

The purpose of the Gender Recognition Act 2015 is to allow a person to legally change gender.  For those aged 18 years or over this may be done by applying for a gender recognition certificate on the basis of a statutory declaration to live in their preferred gender for the rest of their life. This means that if the preferred gender is the male gender the person’s sex becomes that of a man, and if it is the female gender the person’s sex becomes that of a woman.  Once a gender recognition certificate is issued, the person’s gender becomes the preferred gender for all purposes, including dealings with the State, public bodies and civil and commercial society.  The person can, if they wish, obtain a new birth certificate from the General Register Office which shows the preferred gender and new names (if names are also changed) where their birth is registered in Ireland.

The Act provides that a person aged 16 and not yet 18 years old may apply to the court through a parent or next friend for an exemption from the requirement of a minimum age for gender recognition of 18 years. An application to the Court must be accompanied by a certificate from the child’s primary treating medical practitioner and also a certificate from an endocrinologist or psychiatrist who has no connection with the child.

There are currently no provisions in legislation for persons under the age of 16 years to legally change gender nor are there any provisions to allow a person to apply to live in a preferred gender other than that of male or female.

Terms of Reference of the Review of the Gender Recognition Act 2015:

  1. To report to the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection on the operation of the Gender Recognition Act 2015 since its commencement
  2. To review the current arrangements under the Gender Recognition Act 2015 including, but not confined to, the following:
    1. (i) Children aged 16 to 17 years,
      (ii) Children aged less than 16 years,
    2. Persons who identify as neither male nor female (e.g. non-binary), and
    3. Any other issues such as intersex conditions.
  3. To look at the arrangements in other countries.
  4. To consult widely with relevant stakeholders, including those who were consulted in the preparation of the Gender Recognition Act 2015 and to report to the Minister on the consultation process.
  5. To make any recommendations to the Minister, which arise as a result of the Group’s review of the Gender Recognition Act 2015 in relation to the operation of the Act.
  6. The report of the review group should be completed and presented to the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, ideally by end May 2018.

The Minister may request the Chair for periodic updates of the work of the review and these will be provided.   The Secretariat is provided by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

Last modified:10/01/2018