Irish MEP Lynn Boylan speaks out against 'disgraceful' gender recognition bill

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has criticised the Irish government’s incoming gender recognition bill

Jamie Campbell
Sunday 15 February 2015 17:29
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The Irish government's incoming gender equality bill has been strongly criticised for the way that it deals with the transgender community by Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan.

Though the bill will afford transexuals legal recognition, Boylan has heavily criticised it for a number of embedded stipulations.

As the legislation stands, it will enforce a medical evaluation and oblige married applicants to divorce in order to obtain official gender recognition. The fact that those aged sixteen and seventeen must gain parental consent has also been criticised.

Speaking at a rally organised by human rights group LGBT Noise, Boylan told the crowd that bill was "an insult to transgender people and should be amended to respect their dignity," Pink News has reported.

She said: "Transgender people know their own identity. They don’t need medical evaluation to prove their identity to anyone. Furthermore, no person should be forced to get divorced in order to have their gender recognised.

"The government needs to move into the 21st century with the rest of us and stop denying people their basic human rights."

Amnesty International had previously attacked the original draft, with Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asis, Denis Krivosheev complaining that the bill was "a missed opportunity to enshrine the rights of all transgender people in Irish law" and that it would "require substantial changes if it is to tackle the serious issue of discrimination against transgender people."

A spokesperson for the department of Social Protection told The Independent: "The Bill has, at its core, a genuine commitment on the part of the Government to enable transgender people to be recognised for all purposes in their preferred gender.

"The provisions in this legislation will be among the most progressive within the EU and beyond."

Ireland is currently the only country in the EU that has no provision for gender recognition, which has left transgender and intersex persons without formal legal status and therefore impinged on their ability to access services such as social service security benefits, education and transport, according to the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI).

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