In Ireland, transgender woman to sue government

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Transgender woman Lydia Foy began legal proceedings to get her birth certificate changed in 1997. This culminated in 2007, when the Irish Supreme Court ruled that the country was not in compliance with the rules set forth by the European Convention on Human Rights.

However, successive governments in Ireland have failed to legislate for transgender rights.

Foy, who is being supported by the Free Legal Advice Centres, is filing a new lawsuit, as she remains unable to obtain a birth certificate stating that she is a female following gender reassignment surgery, undertaken in 1992.

“It is over 5 years since Mr. Justice McKechnie, now a judge of the Irish Supreme Court, declared that Irish law was not compatible with Ireland’s human rights obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights as regards the rights of transgendered individuals,” Law Lecturer at University College Dublin Dr. Liam Thornton told 429Magazine.

Dr. Thornton described the “unacceptable delay” on the part of the government and the adverse impact it has had on a vulnerable minority. He outlined what the upcoming court case would be decided upon.

“In the legal sense, this case will be interesting in a number of respects, but for me, it comes down to one issue: will the courts insist that the government and the Irish state obey the rule of law,” said Thornton.

“As a prominent judge of the UK Supreme Court stated: ‘Democracy values everybody equally, even if the majority does not’.”

Thornton also outlined the implications for transgender young people.

“By refusing to provide Dr. Foy with a birth certificate that recognizes her true gender identity, it sends a message to younger transgender individuals in Ireland that their dignity, their humanness, is somehow lesser than those who are not transgender,” he added.

Dr. Foy told The Irish Times on Wednesday that “Losing my family and job seemed the worst, most important issues in the past.

“But I see everything flow from your identity. Being accepted for who I am is the most important thing. I would like to see this wrong put right as quickly and with as much dignity as possible,” she added.

429 Magazine

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