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Old 07-15-2011
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Default Partial Victory in Ireland for Transgender Recognition

Ireland's minister for social protection has announced that the government will publish legislation in the next year to provide for the legal recognition of "acquired gender" of transgender people. Joan Burton is taking the action after the successful legal action taken by Dr. Lydia Foy, who has just won a case in the Irish High Court, after a 14-year battle, seeking legal recognition as a transgender person for a new birth certificate. Ultimately, the decision was based on a declaration that absence of legal recognition for transgender people in Ireland contravened the European Convention on Human Rights.

What will unfold in Ireland is only a partial victory, though, establishing a bureaucratic obstacle to full gender rights. An independent three-member gender recognition panel, made up of a medical and a legal specialist, and chaired by an independent person from outside these disciplines, will be set up to examine applications from people seeking recognition of their acquired gender. People who meet certain criteria will then be issued a gender recognition certificate, which would have the effect of legally recognizing their "acquired gender" and entitle them to a new birth certificate (with the original remaining on file). They would will then be entitled to marry a person of the opposite sex to their acquired gender or enter into a civil partnership with a person of the same gender.

The restrictive criteria include having lived in the "acquired gender" for at least two years; a formal medical diagnosis of the "condition" or having had gender reassignment surgery; being over age 18; and not in a marriage or or civil partnership. (The latter criterion, which could require some divorces to qualify, exists to avoid a constitutional challenge to the law as permitting same-sex marriage, barred under the Irish constitution. it has been criticized for forcing married applicant to have to choose between their life partners and gender recognition.)

A new documentary about Lydia Foy tells her story. Yesterday's edition of IrishCentral.com reported:
When Lydia Foy was born in 1947, her birth was registered as male, but from an early age she knew that all was not right: "I knew I wasn?t to be allowed be myself and I couldn?t tell anyone basically," she reflected in a RTE documentary.

Attending boarding school, university and qualifying as a dentist, for over four decades she struggled to come to terms with her transgender syndrome.

"I made a powerful effort to try and conform for a good while," Foy said.

After a long personal battle, Foy finally travelled to London for sex reassignment surgery in 1992. She later went on to fight for legal recognition to live as a woman in Ireland. In June 2010 she won a landmark High Court Ruling, when it was established that Irish transgender rights laws was in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

In a new RTE documentary "My Name is Lydia Foy", the 64-year-old talks about the many difficulties she faced as a person with transgender syndrome.

"I would have been battered, I would be ridiculed and bashed and called stupid," Foy said of her childhood, during the RTE radio documentary.

"It was a very strict society back then, so a lot of it was kept internally.

"I couldn?t have said, look it I would like a dress, not in a million years.

"You couldn?t discuss anything like that with your parents really, even though they were very, very good to us all.

"You cannot sort of blame them as such, it was just society.

"They used to try and say 'oh you have a complex' like you didn?t have a father figure.

"I did have a father figure and he was a real man?s man, he loves shooting and the rest of it," she reflected. ...

Despite winning her landmark case last year, Dr Foy is still waiting for her birth certificate to be rectified.

"Calling somebody transsexual is just a marginalizing term," Foy said during the documentary.

"There shouldn?t be any labels attached after treatment, you have aligned yourself as best you can.

"The correct term is that my name is Lydia Foy, end of story. I no longer need a label thank you very much," Foy concludes.
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Old 07-15-2011
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That is progress! Thanks for posting this article!

Cheers and a round of Guinness for everyone!
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Old 07-15-2011
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That this is a "partial victory" as my thread title indicates is amplified by the response from the transgender community in Ireland, which has seized on several provisions of the proposed forthcoming legislation. The Trangender Equality Network, Ireland (TENI) addressed the problems in a press release issued on 14 July 2011.

Gender Recognition Possible but Problematic
Transgender people forced to divorce

This morning the report of the Gender Recognition Advisory Group (GRAG) was launched by the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, TD. ?We applaud Minister Burton for her decisive action in bringing the GRAG?s report to Cabinet and making it publicly available for further debate,? said Broden Giambrone, Director of Transgender
Equality Network Ireland (TENI).

Deep Reservations about the Report

TENI welcomes the report as a step forward for trans people in Ireland. However, TENI has grave reservations concerning the proposed criteria to be met in order to obtain gender recognition, which will exclude many trans people and will discourage many more from seeking legal recognition.

Divorce

The requirement to exclude people in existing marriages or civil partnerships from the proposed gender recognition will force trans people to break up their relationships in order to obtain recognition, causing serious hardship for trans people and their families.

?Some members of Ireland?s trans community are in loving marriages with children. In effect, this would force them to choose between the integrity of their family and accessing a basic human right. No-one should be asked to make such a choice,? declared Giambrone. ?Ireland is a progressive country whose Constitution affords particular protection to the family based on marriage. This proposal shows no respect for Ireland?s married trans families. The idea of forcing a happy couple to live apart and divorce is unimaginable.?

This morning, GRAG Chairperson Oliver Ryan admitted that the proposal left couples in ?a practically impossible position?. The proposal is also contrary to the recent Council of Europe report dealing with gender recognition that encourages the separation of marriage from the legal recognition process.

Medical Criteria

The requirement of either a formal diagnosis of gender identity disorder (GID) or having undergone gender reassignment surgery is also problematic. ?The medical criteria are very restrictive and will act as an exclusionary barrier to legal recognition for some trans individuals. A diagnosis of GID also excludes intersex people, many of whom who would benefit enormously from accessing gender recognition legislation.? Said Giambrone. ?Furthermore, such a requirement would necessitate healthcare professionals with experience in gender identity who are trained to provide this service to people throughout the country. We?re simply not there yet.?

?Open Door?

This morning Minister Burton positively reaffirmed her commitment to an open and transparent process that will ensure ongoing engagement and dialogue on the proposed legislation noting that there is an ?open door?.

?This is a key moment for trans human rights. Ireland has the opportunity to lead Europe in progressive gender recognition legislation. We are eagerly looking forward to engaging the Minister and her staff to ensure that the experiences and voices of trans people are reflected and represented in the draft legislation? Concluded Broden Giambrone.

The GRAG report and TENI?s submission to the GRAG are both available at www.teni.ie
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Old 07-15-2011
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The divorce requirement clearly betrays the true motives of those writing it. Thye don't want to advance anyone's rights, they are being forced to put the law through as they got destroyed in court and if they didn't comply they would be in breach of European Law, and as Ireland as basically a charity case living on handouts from the EU anyway, they have no choice.

The legislation is similar to that in the UK, requiring lengthy bureaucracy and as many obstacles as possible to try and block as many people as possible from having thier gender recognised in law, and of course the divorce requirement too, can't let one pathetic sop law mess up another can they, gotta make sure that true equality isn't accidentally allowed, gotta keep progress as slow as possible.
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Originally Posted by SluttyShemaleAnna View Post
The divorce requirement clearly betrays the true motives of those writing it. Thye don't want to advance anyone's rights, they are being forced to put the law through as they got destroyed in court and if they didn't comply they would be in breach of European Law, and as Ireland as basically a charity case living on handouts from the EU anyway, they have no choice.

The legislation is similar to that in the UK, requiring lengthy bureaucracy and as many obstacles as possible to try and block as many people as possible from having thier gender recognised in law, and of course the divorce requirement too, can't let one pathetic sop law mess up another can they, gotta make sure that true equality isn't accidentally allowed, gotta keep progress as slow as possible.
Anna, you are correct, but I characterize this as a "partial victory" because the juridical recognition of rights, even if obstacles to enactment are put in the way, opens the door to abolishing the obstacles in a far more profound way than in the absence of that juridical recognition. For an analogy, when Blacks the United States were not recognized as full human beings, they could not use the courts to sue as full human beings.
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Old 07-16-2011
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Good news, although it is only a step in a long way, every step matter.
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