BeLonGTo: The Gender Recognition Act was a huge step forward, but we have so much further to go

belongtoYesterday (8th) marks the first anniversary of the commencement of the Gender Recognition Act, 2015 – a milestone piece of legislation that allows transgender people in Ireland to have their gender legally recognised for the first time. The move has significantly improved the lives of over 150 people who have had their gender legally recognised since new legislation was passed last year.

After many years of campaigning by Dr Lydia Foy, FLAC, TENI, BeLonG To and others, Ireland is now a global leader in trans rights and is one of just six countries in the world that has legislation based on self-determination. This means that there is no requirement for medical experts, medical treatments or diagnosis of a mental disorder in order for individuals who are 18 years of age or older to be legally recognised.

Despite the progress, trans young people fail to be meaningfully included and protected by the Act. Trans young people aged 16-17 must must go through a much more complicated and arduous process than people over 18 because they are required to obtain parental consent, two medical opinions and a court order, which can be a lengthy and cost prohibitive process.

For trans people under 16 years of age, it is even worse; there are currently no pathways to legal recognition whatsoever – even with parental consent. This causes a number of  practical day-to- day difficulties for young people such as travelling with their passport, opening a bank account or attending school in their true gender.

With your help BeLonG To can extend the protection of legal gender recognition for young trans people in Ireland. Call your TD and let them know your passion for equality for Ireland’s young people.

Despite the adversity they face, Ireland’s trans young people are incredibly resilient. A number of the members in IndividualiTy, BeLonG To’s youth group for Trans young people, had the opportunity to travel to Bologna, Italy to take part in the Transgender Europe conference. Please take a moment to enjoy their experience, and help us work towards an Ireland where our young people can enjoy full gender recognition and equality.

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