Equality Authority Says Gender Recognition Bill Is "Vital"


The Equality Authority today launched their report on the Gender Recognition Bill, stating that legislation is vital for the protection of trans people in Ireland.


Betty Purcell, Chairperson of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, who launched the report, said, “People who identify as, or are imputed as, transgender and who are intersex typically experience high levels of discrimination. Additionally, research has highlighted a high suicide rate and high levels of harassment of and violence towards transgender people in public places. Particular difficulties also arise in accessing employment, healthcare and leisure facilities.”

“Too many transgender people live in poverty due to increased difficulties in accessing the labour market. The progression of this Bill is vital to addressing many of these issues and we look forward to a speedy endorsement by the Oireachtas to enable trans people in Ireland to assert their identity, respectfully and legally.”

Purcell also criticised a point in the bill that states that transgender people who are married must convert their marriage to a civil union if they wish to change their legal gender.

“The concern that gender recognition would convert a heterosexual marriage into a marriage between parties of the same sex is not legally founded. Many transgender people have been supported on their journey by their spouse. The Bill requires that at the conclusion of that journey, the supportive spouse is then to be presented as the only impediment remaining to the proper gender recognition of the other. This is harsh, unfair and of serious concern.”

The Gender Recognition Bill includes several provisions for trans people, and comes seven years after it was ruled that Ireland was in breach of its commitments under the European Convention on Human Rights following the case of Lydia Foy.

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