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Irish state ‘marginalising’ transgender community

Campaigner on transgender issues, Lydia Foy
Campaigner on transgender issues, Lydia Foy

A TRANSGENDER woman campaigning to be recognised in Ireland has lambasted the State’s “embarrassing” attitude to her community.

Speaking during a visit to Britain, Kildare-native Lydia Foy said transgender people are still “very marginalised” in Ireland despite recent progress in Irish society.

“We still do not have proper legal recognition even though the courts have ruled that the Irish State has to change to recognise transgender people, but they are stalling and it is just unacceptable now,” she told The Irish Post.

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Ms Foy claims that Irish attitudes towards transgender people have driven scores to Britain.

“I myself came over for treatment because there was none available in Ireland,” she added.

“I saw a psychiatrist in England and I have certainly had to avail of services over here.”

Ms Foy came to London earlier this month for the European Diversity Awards, where she was nominated for the Campaigner of the Year prize alongside Irish senator David Norris, a long-time campaigner for gay rights in Ireland.

Both lost out to British pilot Mark Abrahams, who has campaigned for better recognition of LGBT people in the Royal Air Force.

Ms Foy said she was “honoured” to be nominated and hoped it would boost her campaigning at home.

The 63-year-old won a landmark High Court case in 2007 when a judge ruled that Irish laws preventing her from getting a new birth certificate in her female gender had violated her human rights.

But she has been left “very disappointed” by the Irish Government’s failure to create new laws.

According to FLAC, a leading Irish human rights organisation, Ireland is the only EU state that does not recognise transgender people.

“It is bad for Ireland to be in this situation because we were one of the early countries to talk about the European Convention on Human Rights,” Ms Foy said. “It is like the gay marriage issue. People in other countries have gotten over this fairly quickly and moved on. The skies did not fall down.”

She added: “Really it is not looking good for Ireland when we are talking in international circles.”

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Niall O Sullivan
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Niall O’Sullivan is a reporter at The Irish Post. You can follow him on @Niall_IrishPost on Twitter

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