BeLonG To Expresses Concerns at the Exclusion of Under-18s from the Gender Recognition Bill

BeLonG To Expresses Concerns at the Exclusion of Under-18s from the Gender Recognition Bill 

Thursday, 18 July 2013 

The Department of Social Protection has just published details of their Gender Recognition Bill.  The Irish Trans community is one of the last in the EU to be provided with legal recognition of their gender. 

We welcome the fact that Government is bringing legislation forward that aims to support the Trans Community in Ireland.  We are however very disappointed that it completely excludes Trans young people under 18 years of age.’’ said Michael Barron, Executive Director of BeLonG To.    

For Trans young people in Ireland, this restriction will have a devastating impact’’ explained Barron. “It will completely reinforce the extreme isolation, invisibility and vulnerability of Trans young people. “All lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender (LGBT) young people in Ireland experience high levels of bullying and mental health difficulties.  Research here and abroad has shown that Trans young people  face particular isolation in their schools and communities. They urgently need legal recognition, along with access to appropriate health, education, legal and other supports.”  

Legislating for their continued invisibility is not at all helpful to one of the most marginalised groups of young people in Ireland,’’ said Carol-Anne O’Brien, BeLonG To’s Advocacy Coordinator. “We look forward to working with the Department of Social Protection to ensure that this does not happen”.   

IndividualiTy is BeLonG To’s group for Trans young people. One of its members, Kevin aged 17 explains:  “I had the support of my family and friends so I began to transition over a year ago.  The school didn’t know how to react.  For weeks I was told that I had to continue wearing the female uniform.”   ‘Kevin’ attended an all girl school and didn’t want to change schools so close to his Leaving certificate.  “It took convincing, but eventually I was able to come to school wearing the tracksuit.” Other member of IndividualiTy found school so difficult they dropped out.   

John Duffy, BeLonG To’s Youth Work Project Leader, notes “In our experience, parents are very supportive of their Trans children.  Government needs to provide under-18s with access to gender recognition and we would be very happy to work with them to find a way of making this happen’’. 

BeLonG To also agrees with the Transgender Equality Network in Ireland (TENI), in terms of the other limitations of the Bill, regarding the exclusion of married Trans people and the requirement that an applicant provide a supporting document from their doctor. 

You Can Read the General Scheme of the Gender Recognition Bill 2013 Online Here.