Saturday 24 February 2018

'Give me the opportunity to leave this world as the person I am': Protesters demand changes to Gender Recognition Bill

More than 200 people protest for transgender rights outside Leinster House on Valentine's Day

Jason Kennedy

Jason Kennedy

More than 200 people took part in a protest outside Leinster House this afternoon to call on the Government to fully recognise Ireland's transgender citizens.

The demonstration took place to welcome the Gender Recognition Bill, which is currently being debated by the Government, but also to rally for changes to the proposed legislation.

If passed, the Gender Recognition Bill would mean medical assessments for those who wish to have their gender changed on their birth certificate, as well as divorces for transgender people who are already married, as a single status is required.

An age barrier for transgender people would also be put in place, while there would be no legislating for people who don't see themselves as male or female.

Speaking at the protest, Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) Vice Chair Claire Farrell said she does not fully support the Bill as it stands, as she has no intention get a medical practitioner to discuss her gender identity.

"I have no medical practitioner, nor do I intend to acquire one. I'm not sick. I am definitely not ill and I have no reason to obtain the services of a medical practitioner and I won't be doing it," she said.

"I'm probably in the departure lounge of life," said Ms Farrell (71). "Please give me the opportunity to leave this world as the person that I am."

Director of LGBT Noise and event organiser Max Krzyzanowski says it is still new to Ireland's transgender people to be in the public eye to such an extent.

"I think the event was a huge success. It's still a very novel thing for Trans people in Ireland to be so visible in the public space," he said.

"We're certainly going to keep an eye out over the coming weeks and if we feel another event is needed, we will organise one.

"This is part of the national discussion on marriage equality. Telling people they have to get a divorce in order to avail of gender recognition is an obscenity.

A number of politicians were in attendance, including Sinn Fein MEP Lynn Boylan. The bill was published in December by Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton and junior minister Kevin Humphreys.

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