Ireland: How Ireland transformed transgender rights

Toryn Glavin was 17 when she began to live the life that she wanted to, as a woman. The transgender teenager, still feeling her way in a public female identity, found it easier not to engage with the cumbersome bureaucracy involved in legally changing her documents.

But this had practical consequences. The Dublin-based office administrator and activist explains: “I was once stopped at the airport for two hours because they weren’t convinced that I was who I said I was. I didn’t apply for any internships at the end of college because I was so worried about not having the right documents.”

Two years later, in 2015, transgender rights in Ireland evolved dramatically when the country became one of four legal jurisdictions in the world where people may legally change gender by statutory self-declaration. The gender recognition bill was passed months after the people of Ireland backed same-sex marriage by a landslide vote in a referendum that marked another significant social shift in a country that had decriminalised homosexuality only two decades before.

At the age of 19, Glavin was able to undertake a simple legal process to declare herself female. “It was a monumental change for me personally,” she says. “It made me feel that I had the right to identify as a woman, especially because nobody else had a say in that or a veto.”

Last November, the Scottish government launched its own plans to introduce more progressive gender recognition legislation to Holyrood. The proposals, which include a self-declaration system based on the Irish model, would remove the current requirements to provide medical evidence of a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and to live in an acquired gender for two years. The Westminster government is expected to bring forward a similar consultation this spring. Read more via Guardian