Posted on 15. July 2011 in Country Information

Irish Government Gender Recognition Advisory Group Report – A Missed Opportunity


TGEU Press Release | 15th July 2011

Today, Ireland’s Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, TD launched the report of the Gender Recognition Advisory Group (GRAG), an interdepartmental committee established to advise the Minister on recommendations for proposed gender recognition legislation.

While the report’s long-awaited publication is to be welcomed, TGEU has grave concerns that the proposals have not adopted the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights’ recommendations regarding legal gender recognition. The GRAG recommendations are not reflective of a human rights-based approach or the lived experience of many trans people.

Key areas of concern include:

  1. Recommendation that a trans person in an existing valid marriage or civil partnership must obtain a divorce or dissolution of the partnership in order to have their gender legally recognised. This requirement contradicts the Irish State’s constitutional obligation to protect marriage, and by requiring divorce, creates further obstacles to many couples in Ireland who wish to remain together. This morning, GRAG Chairperson Oliver Ryan admitted that the proposal left couples in “a practically impossible position”.
  2. Requirement that a trans person must live in their preferred gender for a minimum of 2 years (Real Life Test) without legal recognition or protection in order to obtain recognition. This requirement would cause unnecessary distress and anxiety for many trans people.
  3. Medical Criteria:
    – Requirement of a diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder in addition to relevant supporting medical evidence, or
    – Medical evidence that the applicant has undergone gender reassignment surgery, or
    – Evidence of the recognition of changed gender in another jurisdiction. The proposed medical criteria are problematic as they will exclude many trans people and discourage many more from seeking legal recognition.

Although Minister Burton reaffirmed her commitment to ensure ongoing engagement and dialogue on the proposed legislation, many trans people in Ireland expressed frustration and anger with the recommendations contained in the GRAG report. Cat McIlroy, Steering Committee member of TGEU, who was present at the launch, stated “Ireland has the opportunity to lead Europe in enacting progressive gender recognition legislation, today it seems that this opportunity has been missed”.

The GRAG Report can be accessed at: – Report Summary – Full Report

For further information, please contact: Cat McIlroy + 353 87 766 1770