Rights for Transgender People
The Gender Recognition Act, which was enacted in July 2015, has given transgender people in Ireland the right to have their preferred gender recognised by the State.
The legislation allows all individuals over the age of 18 to self-declare their own gender identity. People who wish to have their change of gender recognised by the State – in birth certs, passports, driving licenses – will simply make a formal declaration of their “settled and solemn intention” to that effect. The declaration includes an intention to live in the preferred gender for the rest of their lives. An application form for a Gender Recognition Certificate is available from the Department of Social Protection.
Young people aged 16-17 can also apply to be legally recognised, though the process is more onerous.
Ireland is the fifth country in the world (after Denmark, Malta, Argentina and Colombia) to allow transgender individuals over the age of 18 to freely self-identify their legal gender and it comes just months after Ireland became the first country in the world to vote for same sex marriage by a popular vote of the people.
The majority of countries in Europe require transgender people to undergo surgery and sterilisation, or be diagnosed with a mental disorder and get divorced if they are married, in order to have their desired gender legally recognised.