Taoiseach Micheál Martin has backed greater rights for trans teenagers.
Speaking to Newstalk, An Taoiseach said that it should be made easier for people aged 16 and 17 to legally change their gender:
“I think we should consult young trans people to hear their views. Many have endured unacceptable bullying in certain situations,” Mr Martin said.
“We need to inform their peers, the wider community in terms of the issues, greater acceptance and also greater support for young people who are going through challenging times and who definitely need greater support - both from the perspective of psychological support, counselling, help and for other people to be able to understand it better and also provision of services that they require.
“It’s not there in today’s society. Certainly I’m supportive of and we want to deliver on the Programme for Government’s commitment on [self-ID at] 16 and 17.”
Ireland first introduced self-ID for trans adults in 2015 when the Gender Recognition Act removed the need for a medical diagnosis and replaced it with a statutory declaration - or ‘self ID’.
At the time, the bill’s passage through the Oireachtas was hailed as an “historic moment” by Sara Phillips, the chair of Transgender Equality Network Ireland:
“This legislation marks an incredible shift in Irish society... This is a historic moment for the trans community in Ireland,” Ms Phillips said.
“Trans people should be the experts of our own gender identity. Self-determination is at the core of our human rights.”
Last year Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party all committed themselves in the Programme for Government to lowering the age limit, pledging to:
“Remove the need for a person aged 16 and 17 years to have two specialist reports before they can apply for legal gender recognition, by providing for self declaration, with parental consent and by making mediation available on a voluntary basis.”
Main Image: A homemade sign for Transgender Day of Visibility. Picture By: PA