The National Lesbian and Gay Federation (NLGF) has welcomed the publication of the Heads of Bill regarding gender recognition legislation, but like TENI, has expressed concerns about key aspects of the government’s proposals.
The Heads of Bill was finally published last week after a delay of six years. NLGF Chairperson Olivia McEvoy said, “We share the serious reservations expressed by our colleagues in Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) regarding some provisions in the proposed legislation.
“The 18 years or older age requirement is not satisfactory as it excludes Trans and Intersex young people who already face so many barriers and clear discrimination in such crucial areas as sport and education.’
“We also fully endorse the position of rights groups and the HSE that the State should enact a law guided by the principle of self determination. And while the absence of a diagnosis requirement is welcome, the necessity to obtain a supporting statement from a physician goes against this important principle.
“The requirement of Transgender married people to divorce before having their true gender identity formally recognised is also not acceptable and indeed may be vulnerable to constitutional challenge if enacted. We do note comments by the Minister that this provision can be revisited once marriage is opened up to same-sex couples – yet another reason for marriage equality to be put in place as soon as possible.
“Finally, we are very troubled by the inclusion of a clause in the proposed legislation which explicitly allows for sporting organisations to discriminate against Transgender individuals. Such a provision is unnecessary and indeed offensive and we call for it’s removal before the legislation takes effect,” said McEvoy.
In light of these very significant issues with the draft Heads of Bill, the NLGF have said that it will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Trans community until the Gender Recognition Bill allows for their full legal recognition and enables them to live in dignity as equal citizens of this State.