Lydia Foy, an Irish dentist who underwent sex-reassignment surgery (SRS) 15 years ago, won a major legal victory on October 19th for herself and for other Irish transsexual citizens in her 10-year legal battle with the state to have her birth certificate reissued in her new name and sex.
The Irish High Court ruled that the law preventing such a move is in direct contravention to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). While Justice Liam McKechnie's formal court order will not be issued for up to three weeks, once issued, the Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) will have 21 days during which he must outline before the Dail (the lower house of the Oireachtas, or Irish parliament) the Government's proposals on how it intends to meet its obligations.
Now, the Irish government could resist the ruling and refuse to rewrite the law, but doing so would put it in direct opposition to EU legal precedent and rulings. It would underscore the embarrassing fact that Ireland is one of only four EU entities (Albania, Andorra, and Lithuania being the others) who refuse to change birth certificates for transsexual citizens. Foy or another Irish-born transsexual could appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, where they would certainly win. So the expectation is that within the next few months, Ireland will rewrite the law to allow Irish-born transsexuals to change their birth certificates.
FYI to people who are unfamiliar with the issue, in most states that allow birth certificates to be reissued, the original birth records are retained. Typically they are sealed against casual scrutiny for a set period of time to protect the person's privacy, but kept for future research and to preserve the historical record.
According to RTÉ,, the Irish national radio and television network, in issuing his ruling Justice Liam McKechnie spoke sympathetically of Foy and transsexual people in general.
...He said those who suffer from gender identity disorder suffer from an incurable condition, saying Lydia Foy's former wife has lost a husband and her children had lost a father.
Justice McKechnie said it was clear that this case had wider implications than for Lydia Foy herself, stressing that there seemed to be a burning desire for applicants to have their sex recognised not only socially but also legally.
He said such a process is often humiliating and sometimes unsuccessful but he said everyone had the right to dignity.
For some reason, that last line puts a lump in my throat. It's blunt, but honest in its way and makes me think that this staid Irish judge actually gets it.
My tranny friends and I are walking on cloud 9 because of this decision. It's an exciting time to be a transsexual living in Ireland!