Sinn Féin’s spokesperson for Youth, Arts, and LGBTQI+ Rights, Senator Fintan Warfield has announced that his party will amend the Gender Recognition Act 2015
Today, on International Transgender Day of Visibility and almost two years after the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) 2015 was signed into law by President Michael D. Higgins, Sinn Féin spokesperson for Youth, Arts, and LGBTQI+ Rights Senator Fintan Warfield announced that he has put forward legislation in the Seanad to amend the GRA 2015.
Senator Warfield proposed the Bill, which was co-signed by Independent Senator David Norris and Green Party Senator Grace O’Sullivan, this afternoon. The revised legislation would allow trans people aged 16 and 17 to self-determine their own gender identity as well as considering non-binary people.
Senator Warfield spoke at Leinster House today to commemorate the day and to highlight the leadership of the Transgender Equality Network of Ireland (TENI).
GRA 2015 Is Problematic
“I want to firstly salute the Trans community, at home and abroad, on International Transgender Day of Visibility,” he said. “The Trans community and the Transgender Equality Network of Ireland have consistently shown real and genuine leadership for all of the LGBTQI+ community.”
“Sinn Féin are proud to mark International Transgender Day of Visibility with the announcement and launch of the Gender Recognition (Amendment) Bill 2017,” Senator Warfield added.
Highlighting the “milestone for equality” that the passing of the GRA 2015 represented, Senator Warfield conceded that in its current form it presents those aged 16 and 17 with an “invasive, gruelling, and problematic” legal process.
“The Sinn Féin ‘Gender Recognition (Amendment) Bill 2017’ seeks to change three main points,” continued Senator Warfield.
“Sinn Féin wish to introduce a right of self-determination for persons who have reached the age of 16 years, ensuring access to a Gender Recognition Certificate for 16 and 17 year olds on the same terms as currently apply to persons who are 18 years or older.
“Through family consent and the Circuit Family Court, the Gender Recognition (Amendment) Bill 2017 also seeks to open a legal pathway for those under the age of 16 to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate. The Bill recognises that while medical practitioners can play an important role in transitioning processes for transgender and gender-variant children and their families, legal gender recognition for persons under 16 years should not be conditional upon medical assent,” he said.
“The third element to our legislation is focussed on the status of non-binary persons in the two-year review of the operation of the Principal 2015 Act. It requires the Minister to specifically consider the possibility of providing a Gender Recognition Certificate to persons who do not identify as male/man or female/woman, in addition to the topics and questions that the Minister chooses to explore in the review.”
Champion of LGBT Rights
The Sinn Féin spokesperson highlighted their commitment to legislating for trans and LGBT rights, indicating that this commitment is the reason that his party caught cross chamber support.
“Ireland can be a model republic, as a beacon of hope for Trans and LGBQI+ people everywhere. We must continue to strengthen our global standing as a leader for Trans rights and extend that recognition to young people.
“Let us recognise and celebrate the existence and visibility of Trans young people in law.” he concluded.
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