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07 SEP 2012

Minister Burton commits to further dialogue on Ireland's gender recognition legislation

This morning at the opening ceremony of the 4th European Transgender Council, Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton TD committed to further dialogue on Ireland's upcoming gender recognition legislation. She marked the dramatic shift in society's attitudes towards women and LGBT diversity over the last 30 years, and marked the change in the principles of legislating for gender recognition that have taken place in the two years since the interdepartmental Gender Recognition Advisory Group was established. The Minister announced that a Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Social Protection and Education will examine the issue of gender recognition in October or November. The committee will be seeking feedback and opinions on the proposed legislation.


The three keynote speakers at the ceremony highlighted their commitment to dignity and respect for all identities, and all recognised the need for immediate action. Michael Farrell, senior solicitor at Free Legal Advice Centres, referenced Dr Lydia Foy's long-standing struggle to be recognised in her true gender by the State. Dr Foy, who was present, received a standing ovation from the gathering of more than 200 human rights activists from across Europe and Turkey. Senator Katherine Zappone delivered a strident call to arms for our lawmakers to enact legislation that accords dignity and respect to all transgender identities.

TENI Director Broden Giambrone said, "This is a moment where we can and must influence the legislation to be the best that it can be. We need legislation that respects the diversity of our community, that does not pathologise us and does not tear our families apart. And we need it now."

TGEU co-chair Maria Sundin said, "We are here to send a strong signal to Ireland but also to other policymakers that denying us our basic human rights in inacceptable. Ireland fails to meet its obligation to adapt legislation that recognises transgender identities in full respect of human rights."

Giambrone concluded, "This is a watershed moment in Ireland. It is critical that we educate and energise the government to make this legislation a priority. Dr Foy and the trans community have been waiting for nineteen years for this. Now is the time."
 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

Contact TENI on (01) 873 3575 or email news@teni.ie
TENI’s Director Broden Giambrone is available for interview, and can be contacted on 087 135 9816.

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