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)

11:05 am

Photo of Fidelma Healy EamesFidelma Healy Eames (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I welcome the witnesses and thank them for their thoroughness. It is vital to have legal recognition of transgender and intersex individuals. Two or three years ago, during the last term, this Oireachtas joint committee prepared a report on early school leaving and one group that was found to be at risk of early drop-out was that of transgender individuals. As the witnesses have noted, they are at risk of much more harmful effects as a result. In addition, it emerged clearly from the interviews conducted by members that sport was an issue. This issue was not limited to transgender individuals but also affected homosexual individuals in those schools. Consequently, I believe the joint committee should seek an amendment to the Bill that would make sport accessible, along the lines Dr. Ní Mhuirthile mentioned, if international guidelines are place and if athletes are being rated. I would argue that not many would want this because they already are at risk of dropping out because of the very fact of being transgender or because they are having difficulty living with who they are within the birth definition with which they came into the world.

My question concerns the scenario in which parents do not consent in respect of those aged 16 or under. It is understandable that parents would be fearful they might get it wrong. Do the witnesses have empirical evidence of people getting it wrong if they did transition? I am not talking about Ireland but worldwide. For example, I am familiar with a parent two of whose children have declared they are gay. She has absolutely and completely accepted this in the case of her son from the age of 17, and he now is 20. However, she does not really accept that her daughter is gay. The mother is fine about the possibility of her being gay or lesbian but she is not really clear, based on all the science. The greatest fear I have been picking up from parents is that perhaps they are getting it wrong. Do the witnesses have any evidence in that regard?


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.