Ireland passes bill allowing gender marker changes on legal documents

On Wednesday, July 15th, Ireland passed the Gender Recognition Bill, which allows all citizens over the age of 18 to self-declare their gender marker on their legal documents without any medical intervention or other type of verification required. Prior to this, people in Ireland had no way to change their legal gender.

Although many trans people in Ireland are overjoyed by the passage of this bill, it is still criticized for its exclusion of minors under the age of 16, and the requirement for people between the ages of 16 and 18 to have medical observation, parental consent, and a court order in order to change their gender marker.

"This is a historic moment for the trans community in Ireland. Today is the first day we will be seen as who we truly are," said Sara R. Phillips, chair of Transgender Equality Network Ireland. "Trans people should be the experts of our own gender identity. There is a clear legislative trend towards self-determination and Ireland is taking its position as a global leader in the area of trans rights. Self-determination is at the core of our human rights."

Ireland is the third European country, and the fifth worldwide, to pass such a law, preceded by Denmark, Malta, Argentina, and Columbia. A large amount of countries in Europe still do not allow people to freely change their legal gender. Out of the others that do allow for changing of gender markers, aside from Ireland, Denmark, and Malta, they all require a mental health diagnosis, and many require sterilization, divorce, and/or surgery in order for the state to legally recognize their desired gender.

The bill is expected to be signed into law by the end of the month, and be put into place by the end of the summer.