The Gender Recognition Act 2015 provides for legal recognition of the preferred gender of transgender persons.  Recognition is effective from the date of recognition and is not retrospective.

The Department of Social Protection is the decision-making authority in relation to the issue of a gender recognition certificate.  The Department issues a certificate to the applicant once the relevant conditions and qualifications have been complied with.  In the case of a refusal, reasons must be given.  There is provision for an appeal.

The legislation defines persons who are eligible to apply for a gender recognition certificate.  the

  • birth must be registered in the Registrar General;
  • be an Irish citizen or registered in the Foreign Births Register maintained by the Department of Foreign Affairs or registered on the register of intercountry adoptions maintained by the Adoption Authority of Ireland or be ordinarily resident in the State;
  • be 18 years of age and upwards or  be in an existing marriage or civil partnership.

The applicant must provide evidence of identity, including a birth cert and proof of ordinary residence.  A statutory declaration must be completed in relation to marriage and civil partnership status.

The application must be accompanied by a statement from a treating medical practitioner as defined, that the applicant has transitioned or is transitioning his/her gender and that he/she is satisfied, that he fully understands the consequences of the decision to live permanently in their preferred gender.

A gender recognition from another jurisdiction may be recognised.  The applicant must show the Department that the requirements for recognition in the other State are at least equivalent to those set out in the Act.

There is provision for an application for a gender recognition certificate for persons aged 16 and 17 years.  A court order is necessary, exempting the person from the requirement to have reached the age of 18 years.  The Court must satisfy itself that the child’s parents or guardian’s consent to the application, or if consent is not given, that it is in the child’s best interest that he or she be allowed to proceed with the application.

The Court must receive written confirmation from the child’s treating medical practitioner that the person has attained a sufficient degree of maturity to make the decision to apply for a gender recognition and is aware of the consequences.

The physician must be satisfied that the application is made freely without undue influence of any other person.  It must be accompanied by a confirmation from an independent physician that he or she concurs with the views of the treating practitioner.  The application is made to the Circuit Family Court.

The gender recognition certificate shall contain the person’s forename and surname as specified in his application, his or her date of birth and preferred gender.  The Department shall notify the Registrar General or the Adoption Authority that the certificate has issued and will provide them with a copy of the gender recognition certificate.

A gender recognition certificate may be revoked if it comes to the Department’s attention that it is based on grounds, which would have led to refusal.  A person must be given notice of the proposal and may make representations, if the Minister proceeds to revocation. There is a right of appeal.

There is provision for an application by a person to revoke a gender recognition certificate in the event that he or she wishes to revert to his original gender.  Appropriate documentary evidence including statements from treating medical practitioner’s declarations are required.  The gender recognition certificate must be surrendered if granted.

An appeal may be made against refusal of a revocation.  A person who is married or entered a civil partnership after issue of a gender recognition certificate, is not entitled to apply to revoke the certificate.

There is a right of appeal upon a person’s application where a gender recognition certificate has been refused, where a certificate is revoked or where the person’s application to revoke is refused.   The appeal is to the Circuit Family Court.  It must be made within 90 days.

Once a gender recognition certificate is issued, the person’s gender becomes the preferred gender for all purposes, including dealings with the State, public bodies,civil and commercial society.

It includes a right to marry or enter a civil partnership in the preferred gender and the right to a new birth cert and if applicable, a new entry in the Foreign Births Register.  The change is not retrospective.

The issue of a gender recognition certificate does not change that person’s responsibilities as parent of a child born prior to the issue of the certificate.

Where a person has his preferred gender recognised, it does not affect distribution of property under a will or other instrument made before the Act came into force.  For wills and instruments made after the day, the Act comes into force the wills and instruments take effect as referable to the preferred gender.

A trustee or personal representative is not obliged to enquire whether a gender recognition certificate has been issued to any person or revoked, even if this could affect the entitlement of distribution.

A beneficiary whose rights have been affected may trace their claim into the hands of a person who has wrongly received it. Where any disposition or devolution of property under a will or instrument is different from that which would have been the case but for the fact that a person is regarded as being of a preferred gender, a person adversely affected may make an application to the High Court.

If the Court, is satisfied that it is just to do so, it may make such order as it considers appropriate in relation to the person benefiting from the different disposition of the property.

Where criminal liability would arise but for the fact that a person, either a victim or a perpetrator, has been issued with a gender recognition certificate, such liability will exist notwithstanding the gender change.

A person who has been issued with a gender recognition certificate for whom there is an entry in the register of births may be entered on the register of gender recognition.  The entry will list the person’s name and surname and preferred gender, together with other particulars contained in the person’s original entry in the register of births or the adopted children’s register.

An index to the register will not be open to public inspection or search, save by a person to whom gender recognition certificate issued or, if the person is deceased.  The Registrar is to maintain a confidential index linking the gender recognition register with the corresponding original entry in the register of births.

There is provision for  the establishment of a register of gender recognition of foreign births by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.  The Minister may make regulations to provide for establishment of and arrangements in relation to the register which mirror those in relation to the register of gender recognition.

The Adoption Act is amended to establish a register of gender recognition of intercountry adoptions and a confidential index to ensure traceability is kept between the registers.  Where a transgender person is applying for a passport in his or her preferred gender, the gender recognition certificate will be recognised for the purpose of the passports legislation.


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