Tuesday, 19 April 2011
Department of Social Protection
Question 190: To ask the Minister for Social Protection the reason for the delay in the publication of a gender recognition Bill considering that the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs was reportedly close to producing proposals before Christmas; further to Parliamentary Question No. 34 of 30 March 2011, if she will detail the nature of the consultation, research and discussion that she indicated in response to the above has yet to take place including the groups and individuals that this will involve and a clear timeframe for same. [8653/11]
1The issue of gender recognition is being dealt with by the Gender Recognition Advisory Group which was established by the previous Minister for Social Protection following a Government decision. The group is made up of representatives from various Departments and Offices of State, including the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs. The group has engaged in an extensive public consultation process and has met with a number of groups and individuals representing the interests of transgender persons. The group has also met with a number of experts in the field.
While I am not privy to the detailed workings of the group, it would be normal that the report of the group would contain the information requested by the Deputy, and I consider it appropriate to await the publication of the report before making any further comment. I understand that the vast bulk of the consultation, research and discussion has taken place, that the drafting of the report is at an advanced stage and that it will be submitted to me in the coming weeks.
As the Deputy will be aware, the legal recognition of transgender persons is a complex area touching on many facets of the person's life. For this reason, it is considered that extensive consultation and research is necessary to identify the issues requiring legislative reform and to enable proposals to be made that are comprehensive and in accordance with best international practice. Legal recognition of transgender persons requires the most careful of consideration, as it not only touches on the lives of transgender persons, but also on their families. Legislative proposals will receive a high priority following receipt of the report of the group.