Minister Doherty Publishes her Report on the Review of the Gender Recognition Act

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Minister Doherty Publishes her Report on the Review of the Gender Recognition Act
Friday, 29 November, 2019

The Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, T.D., has today published a report setting out her response to the recommendations of the Review Group for the Gender Recognition Act which were published in July 2018.

Today’s report is available online here and the earlier report of the Review Group is available online here.

Speaking today, Minister Doherty said: 
“I would again like to thank the Review Group for their comprehensive review of the Act, which very much prepared the ground for my own report and policy proposals. Today I am pleased to be able to propose amendments to the Gender Recognition Act to simplify the existing process for 16 and 17 year olds.

“One of the main findings of the Review Group was that the current legislation is too onerous for children aged 16 and 17 years, as it involves a court process and certification by two medical practitioners. The measures I am proposing today aim to reform this process to reflect the fact that the legal recognition of a person’s gender is separate and distinct from any question of medical intervention, and should be facilitated with parental consent and a simple revocation process.” 
Proposed Legislation
The Government now proposes to address a number of the Review Group recommendations through legislation as follows:
  • Simplifying the path to legal gender recognition for children aged 16/17 years by introducing an arrangement for self-declaration, with parental consent; a simple revocation process; and by making family mediation support available on a voluntary basis.
  • There are no plans to change the arrangements for children aged under 16 years; however, the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection will, in conjunction with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, commission research to examine issues of concern relating to under 16 year olds.
  • In order to bring greater clarity to the fact that legal gender recognition is separate and distinct from any question of medical intervention, it is proposed to identify clearly on a gender recognition certificate for 16 and 17 year olds that it is awarded on the basis of self-declaration only
  • To provide that a gender recognition certificate may be used to provide proof of change of name as well as proof of change of gender.
  • To provide that Irish citizens born outside the State and living outside the State (including Northern Ireland) would be allowed to apply for a gender recognition certificate.
Other Actions
The Review Group recommended extending legal gender recognition to non-binary people, while also recognising the complexity of the issue and acknowledging that a comprehensive impact analysis may be required. An interdepartmental group has been established that is tasked with carrying out this impact assessment and submitting a report to Government for consideration by the end of 2020. In the meantime, Government Departments and other public bodies will take positive steps to improve the position of non-binary people. This could include measures such as:
  • promoting the use and acceptance of correct pronouns;
  • improving the design of official forms and documentation to permit the use of a third gender option, or no gender at all, where it is possible to do so.

A number of other recommendations are more administrative in nature and are being implemented or will be progressed under Ireland’s National LGBTI+ Inclusion Strategy 2019 – 2021


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Last modified:29/11/2019