Senator Zappone: Irish Government Needs To Act On Gender Recognition

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Launch of Gender Recognition Bill 2013 by Senator Katherine Zappone & TENI (Transgender Equality Network Ireland). Photo by Derek Speirs, 2.7.2013. Dublin, Ireland.

Senator Katherine Zappone launched the Legal Recognition of Gender Bill 2013 yesterday morning, co-sponsored by Senators Jillian Van Turnhout and Fiach MacConghail. The Bill proposes a pathway for legal recognition for transgender and intersex people.

TENI, who worked closely with Senator Zappone on the drafting of the Bill, warmly welcomed its publication. “The Bill enshrines the dignity, privacy and self-determination of trans people,” said TENI Director Broden Giambrone. “We hope that all parties will unite in supporting this Bill. Ireland is poised to lead Europe in progressive, human rights-based legislation, and the Government must not miss this opportunity.”

“Let this bill be an acknowledgment and celebration of the dignity, courage, freedom and beauty of transgender people,” said Senator Zappone. She went on to stress the urgency of progressing legislation, “Lydia Foy bravely took the legal route, won her case but has been waiting 6 years for a gender recognition law. We cannot delay any longer.”

Also speaking were: Dr Tanya Ní Mhuirthile (legal consultant and lecturer in Law, Griffith College, Dublin), John Duffy (BeLonGTo Youth Services), Sara Philips (TENI Chair) and Colm O’Gorman (Director, Amnesty International Ireland), who announced that his organisation had today written to Government to urge them to introduce gender recognition legislation. Two teenagers and their parents also spoke on the challenges facing school and college students who are transgender.

“We now have two Private Members’ Bills published seeking to progress Recognition for Ireland,” continued Giambrone. “Both Bills are firmly embedded in human rights principles and neither disrupt the privacy, dignity or constitutionally-protected rights of trans and intersex people and their families. The Government’s legislative proposals of 2011 – which have not yet reached the stage of a Draft Heads of Bill – stand in stark contrast to these recent Bills.

“If enacted, the Government’s proposed legislation would exclude intersex people, who need to avail of the rights contained within Recognition. It would force married persons to choose between their marriage and their basic human rights, and would force all applicants through a diagnosis of a mental illness in order to obtain their rights. It is time for the Government to rethink their approach and to take action. Every day that we fail to act on Recognition, we do harm.”

For more information, visit teni.ie

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