Sinn Féin spokesperson for Youth, Arts, and LGBTQI+ Rights Senator Fintan Warfield has this afternoon announced that he has moved legislation in the Seanad that will amend the Gender Recognition Act 2015.

The Bill, proposed by Senator Warfield, and co-signed by Independent Senator David Norris and Green Party Senator Grace O’Sullivan, seeks to allow for self-determination for Trans people aged 16 and 17 and opens a legal pathway for Trans people under the age of 16 to recognise their true gender. Sinn Féin’s Amendment Bill will also legally ensure that non-binary persons are considered in the review of the 2015 Act.

Speaking from Leinster House today, Senator Fintan Warfield said:

“I want to firstly salute the Trans community, at home and abroad, on International Transgender Day of Visibility. The Trans community and the Transgender Equality Network of Ireland have consistently shown real and genuine leadership for all of the LGBTQI+ community.

“Sinn Féin are proud to mark International Transgender Day of Visibility with the announcement and launch of the Gender Recognition (Amendment) Bill 2017.

“The passing of the Gender Recognition Act in 2015 was a milestone for equality in this state. Gender Recognition has enhanced the lives of many in the Trans community, of that there can be no doubt. However, the state in no way offers a pathway to legal gender recognition for citizens under the age of sixteen, while the current legal process facing 16 and 17 year olds and their families is invasive, gruelling, and problematic.

“The Sinn Féin ‘Gender Recognition (Amendment) Bill 2017’ seeks to change three main points.

“Sinn Féin wish to introduce a right of self-determination for persons who have reached the age of 16 years, ensuring access to a Gender Recognition Certificate for 16 and 17 year olds on the same terms as currently apply to persons who are 18 years or older.

“Through family consent and the Circuit Family Court, the Gender Recognition (Amendment) Bill 2017 also seeks to open a legal pathway for those under the age of 16 to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate. The Bill recognises that while medical practitioners can play an important role in transitioning processes for transgender and gender-variant children and their families, legal gender recognition for persons under 16 years should not be conditional upon medical assent.

“The third element to our legislation is focussed on the status of non-binary persons in the two-year review of the operation of the Principal 2015 Act. It requires the Minister to specifically consider the possibility of providing a Gender Recognition Certificate to persons who do not identify as male/man or female/woman, in addition to the topics and questions that the Minister chooses to explore in the review.

“Sinn Féin have consistently been serious about legislating for the rights of the Trans community, and the LGBTQI+ more broadly. It is for that reason we have sought cross chamber support for this important Bill.

“Ireland can be a model republic, as a beacon of hope for Trans and LGBQI+ people everywhere. We must continue to strengthen our global standing as a leader for Trans rights and extend that recognition to young people. Let us recognise and celebrate the existence and visibility of Trans young people in law.”