Trans* equality activists protest Minister’s speech
Michael Farrell of FLAC, Minister Joan Burton and Dr Lydia Foy speak
ahead of TENI-TGEU conference this morning at DCU.
Image: Joan O’Connell
Delegates of a trans* human rights conference protested during a keynote speech delivered by Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, this morning.
Delegates stood holding placards saying “No Forced Divorce”, “Not Good Enough”, “My Identity, My Right”, “Minister Burton Hurry Up” as Minister Burton concluded her address to the 4th European Transgender Council taking place in Dublin City University.
The protesters expressed anger and frustration at the ongoing delay hindering the introduction of Gender Recognition Legislation in Ireland. Such legislation would facilitate trans* people to have their birth certificates amended to reflect their gender identity.
For the past five years, Ireland has been in breach of its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights to introduce Gender Recognition Legislation and is one of the only remaining countries in the European Union without such legislation.
LGBT Noise Organiser Cat McIlroy criticised government inaction:
Current government proposals would violate the dignity, autonomy and human rights of trans people. Requiring individuals to be diagnosed with a mental disorder to access a legal right is humiliating and degrading.
Also proposed is the requirement that individuals not be married or civilly partnered, thus forcing people to divorce or dissolve supportive relationships.
These proposals would enshrine in legislation further shame, stigma and discrimination of an already marginalised group.
LGBT Noise welcomed Minister Burton’s promise to refer the proposals to the Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Social Protection and Education for further consultation with trans* people and families.
Meanwhile, Marriage Equality welcomed the commitment by Minister Burton to closely examine the issue of gender recognition for transgender people this autumn.
Speaking from today’s launch, Marriage Equality Director Moninne Griffith welcomed the minister’s comments, but expressed reservations:
Although we are delighted to hear that Minister Burton intends to closely examine the issue of gender recognition, the proposed Gender Recognition Scheme published in July last year excludes candidates who are married or in a civil partnership.
This means that transgender individuals in loving marriages, civil partnerships and families could be forced to make the agonising choice between having their true gender recognised, or their relationship.
For these individuals, official recognition of their true gender will mean separation, divorce, and splitting up families. No one should ever have to make that choice.
We are calling on the Government to begin the Constitutional Convention without delay, so that the issue of marriage equality can be addressed, and same sex couples and families can be protected equally under the law.
Marriage Equality has worked with TENI to highlight the ways in which allowing same-sex couples access to civil marriage would benefit couples and families in Ireland. TENI had previously argued that the proposed Gender Recognition Scheme was contrary to a recent Council of Europe report dealing with gender recognition that encourages the separation of marriage from the legal recognition process.
Ms Griffith added:
We have seen such amazing progress in the past few years on the issue of marriage equality. In the case of transgender people, it is more important than ever that the marriage ban for same sex couples is removed without delay. In modern Ireland, with 73% of the public in support of marriage equality, no one should be forced to choose between having their true gender recognised, and their family.
LGBT Noise will be joining with trans* activists and conference delegates at a Rally for Recognition in response to Minister Burton’s speech tonight at 7pm tonight on the President”s Lawn in Dublin City University.