Tánaiste announces publication of the Gender Recognition Bill 2014
Bill will provide for State recognition of the preferred gender of transgender people
The Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, T.D. today, Friday 19th December 2014, announced the publication of the Gender Recognition Bill 2014 following Cabinet approval.
The Bill will give formal legal recognition to the preferred gender of transgender persons, through the issuing of a gender recognition certificate by the Department of Social Protection. This will mean that the person’s preferred gender will be fully recognised by the State for all purposes – including the right to marry or enter a civil partnership in the preferred gender and the right to a new birth certificate.
The Bill uses the term ‘preferred gender’ which is in line with a recommendation of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection and Education during the pre-legislative scrutiny process. This approach also facilitates applications for gender recognition from people with intersex conditions.
Commenting on the publication of the Bill, the Tánaiste said: “This is a progressive Bill which I have championed and which has been needed for a long time. It is my intention to ensure the enactment of the Bill early in 2015 so that members of the transgender community are able to avail of the opportunity to have their preferred gender formally recognised as soon as possible.”
Once the Bill becomes law, a person who is issued with a gender recognition certificate:
· will be officially legally recognised by the State as being of the preferred gender from that day forward;
· will be recognised in the preferred gender for all purposes, including dealings with the State, public bodies, and civil and commercial society;
· will be entitled to marry a person of the opposite gender or enter a civil partnership with a person of the same gender; and
· will be entitled, where relevant, to a new birth certificate that shows the preferred gender and new names (if names are also changed).
Minister of State Kevin Humphreys said: “The arrangements provided for in this Bill have at their core a genuine commitment on the part of the Government to enabling transgender persons to be recognised for all purposes in their preferred gender. The Tánaiste and I look forward to bringing the legislation through the Oireachtas early in the New Year.”
The application process for gender recognition will be administered by the Department of Social Protection. Applicants will either have to have their birth registered in Ireland or be ordinarily resident here. The application process will consist of;
• A statutory declaration by the applicant that they intend to live permanently in the new gender; and
• Validation by the primary treating physician that the person has transitioned or is transitioning to the preferred gender.
The process will not require details of care including medical history or confirmation of a diagnosis nor will the person have to confirm he or she has been living in their preferred gender for a specific period of time prior to their application.
The Bill requires that an applicant for gender recognition be single, pending the outcome of the referendum on same-sex marriage due to take place in May 2015.
The Joint Oireachtas Committee had also recommended that the minimum age for gender recognition be reduced from 18 to 16 years. The Bill provides for applications from 16 and 17 year olds, but with significant safeguards attached which seek to balance the rights of such applicants with the need to protect their interests at a vulnerable age. In particular, it will be necessary to secure a Court order in any such cases exempting the applicant from the standard requirement of a minimum age for gender recognition of 18 years. For reasons of confidentiality, applications of this type will be made to the Circuit Family Court.
The Gender Recognition Bill 2014 and the accompanying Explanatory Memorandum can be viewed on the website of the Houses of the Oireachtas at the following link: http://www.oireachtas.ie/documents/bills28/bills/2014/11614/document1.htm