Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 24 October 2013
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Social Protection
General Scheme of Gender Recognition Bill 2013: Discussion (Resumed)
I will not take too long. I thank the witnesses for attending. Everyone I heard has put forward a profound argument that the legislation is falling down in two or three key areas. Today, the point was made about sport as well. That is an issue I had not grasped. Hormones can arise as an issue. Perhaps Dr. Crowley could respond on access to sport in the context of preferred gender.
We have reached the crux of the issue in terms of how the committee teases out the constitutional barriers and goes into detail which it must get from the Department of Social Protection. It is clear that the requirement to divorce in order to have access to gender preference is not constitutionally sound. We must examine how to deal with the matter. Most people have asked that the provision on forced divorce would be deleted until the legislation on same-sex marriage is introduced. Even then, it will be an issue in the intervening period and it must be examined.
The matter of age has been addressed by the temporary certificate and how society would feel about such action being taken. It has become more clear to me that 16 should be the age at which a young person can access the legal right to their preferred gender. We are getting to the kernel of the legislation and the committee should take on board the points that have been made, in so far as that is possible. Everyone has highlighted the same issues.