Non-binary and under-16’s left out of gender recognition act again

Brendan Fernando Kelly Palenque

LGBTQ+ groups expressed “disappointment” after the government didn’t implement certain recommendations made concerning the Gender Recognition Act.

The Gender Recognition Act was brought in back in 2015 and allowed binary trans people to be legally recognised as their gender. However, the act did not address non-binary people nor people under the age of 16 who wish to change their gender.

A Review Group to assess the function of the act was set up by the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty. Using their recommendations, the Irish government has decided to make a number of changes to the act, mainly with the intended purpose of simplifying transitioning.

However, Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) and BeLonG To released a statement following the government’s announcement to express some of their concerns.

“While welcoming the proposed amendments, we are deeply disappointed that the government did not take this opportunity to implement all the recommendations in the Review Report,” they said.

They said it was “a missed opportunity for Ireland to continue to set the highest standard in human rights, with legislation that recognises and protects the human rights and equality of every citizen, irrespective of age or gender identity.”

The transgender healthcare campaign This Is Me similarly welcomed some of the changes, but “utterly condemned” the government’s rejection of numerous proposals.

“However, we understand that Minister Regina Doherty will be carrying out interdepartmental works from now to ultimately active non-binary recognition and clearer pathways for U16s,” they said.

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) made similar statements during this year’s Pink Training. Pink Training is an annual meetup of all USI-affiliated colleges and their respective LGBTQ+ societies.

Held between November 29th and December 1st in Galway City, most of the workshops took place on November 30th. The workshops themselves ranged from topics such as “polyamory” to “non-binary 101” to “decolonising LGBT”. Over 300 students attended from across the island.

In a statement concerning the review, the USI said: “The government must listen to the LGBT+ community, they must implement the changes necessary to make Ireland a society where no one is oppressed because of their gender or sexuality.”

“These students [those at Pink Training] will campaign to ensure the lived experiences of trans and non-binary people are listened to and acted upon by the Government.”

Brendan Fernando Kelly Palenque

Image Credit: DCU LGBTA Society