Irish transgender rights law takes effect

An Irish law that allows transgender people to legally change their gender without medical intervention took effect on Tuesday.


The Gender Recognition Act 2015 took effect four days after Deputy Prime Minister Joan Burton, who is also Ireland’s minister for social protection, signed it.

“The wait for legal recognition is finally over,” said Broden Giambrone, chief executive of the Transgender Equality Network Ireland, an Irish trans advocacy group, in a statement after Burton signed the law. “The practical and symbolic importance of being recognized in the eyes of the state cannot be underestimated. This is a turning point for trans rights in Ireland.”

Irish lawmakers in July approved the Gender Recognition Act 2015. The vote capped off more than two decades of efforts around the issue that began in 1993 when Dr. Lydia Foy tried to change the gender on her birth certificate.

“This is also the end of a very long journey for Dr. Lydia Foy who will soon have her correct birth certificate,” said Giambrone in response to the law taking effect.

Ireland is the fourth country to allow trans people to legally change their gender without surgery and other medical interventions.

The Colombian government in June announced trans people can legally change their name and gender on identification cards and other official documents without surgery.

Maltese lawmakers earlier this year approved a sweeping trans rights bill that allows people to legally change their gender without undergoing sex-reassignment surgery, hormone therapy or any other form of “psychiatric, psychological or medical treatment.” Argentina and Denmark have enacted similar laws.

Advocates have criticized the Irish law because it does not include intersex people and those who are under the age of 18.