Wednesday 22 May 2019

Dentist in new court battle to be called a woman

Ann O'Loughlin

TRANSSEXUAL Lydia Foy yesterday began a new court battle to be officially called a woman.

Ten years ago the dentist and father of two first went to the Four Courts looking for official recognition.

Dr Foy was yesterday back in the High Court for a further legal battle in her quest to be described as female on her birth cert.

Dr Lydia Foy, who was previously Dr Donal Mark Foy, had a sex-change operation in 1992 and changed name by deed poll to Lydia Annice a year later.

The 59-year-old dentist from Athy, Co Kildare now wants the High Court to rule that the failure to provide for a system of birth registration in this country that would let her be registered as female places the State in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights Act.

There are three notice parties to the proceedings: Dr Foy's former wife and two daughters. They are opposing Dr Foy's application and claim that altering the birth register to describe Dr Foy as female would have an adverse effect on their succession and other rights.

Bill Shipsey SC, for Dr Foy, told the court that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) had unanimously ruled five years ago in favour of two UK transgendered residents.

The Irish High Court had urged the Government at that time to address the registration situation of transgendered persons, but the State had done nothing to provide for its transgendered citizens, he added.

He was opening proceedings by Dr Foy who was born with male genitalia and was registered at birth as a male. The action is being heard by Mr Justice Liam McKechnie.

Dr Foy, who is being represented in the action by the Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC), suffers from a syndrome known as Gender Identity Disorder, a recognised psychiatric condition under which a person's individual sexual identity is at odds with their physical sexual indicators.


She married in 1977 and fathered two daughters. She has lived as a female since 1991 and underwent irreversible gender-reassignment surgery in 1992. The marriage ended in the 1990s and in 1993 Dr Foy changed her name by deed poll.

In the High Court in July 2002, Mr Justice McKechnie refused to grant orders directing the Registrar of Births to describe Dr Foy as female on her birth certificate.

He ruled, on the basis of his findings from medical and scientific evidence, that Dr Foy had been born male.

However, he appealed to the legislature to keep the situation of transgendered persons under constant review and to consider meeting their needs through legislation.

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