Fine Gael LGBT has welcomed the inclusion of a number of measures in the Programme for Government that will, among other things, afford greater rights to LGBT parents and to younger trans people who wish to have their change in gender recognised by the State.
Earlier this year, members of Fine Gael LGBT presented a policy document, with 16 key submissions, to members of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party for inclusion in the Programme for Government.
A meeting with An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, in early May provided an additional opportunity for Fine Gael LGBT members to strongly encourage the Party to fight for further measures to strengthen LGBT equality in Ireland.
Commenting on the proposed measures, Chairperson of Fine Gael LGBT, Eoghan Howe, said:
“We are very pleased to see that a number of our proposals are included in the recently published Programme for Government.
“This Programme for Government is another step to achieve greater equality for our LGBT brothers and sisters in Ireland. We are particularly pleased to see that a commitment has been given to enacting legislation to cover the diverse range of family structures seen in Ireland today and provide equal legal protections and recognition for male couples and users of surrogates and IVF treatment.
“We are also pleased to see a commitment to introducing a scheme to allow gay men, who were convicted of certain historical offences, to have their criminal records expunged.
“The inclusion of the majority of our proposals in the Programme for Government, is further proof that Fine Gael is a party of inclusion and diversity – and that a centre right party can also champion LGBT rights.
“However, while we welcome the publication of the proposals, we will continue to strongly push for the urgent implementation of these measures. We trust Fine Gael will ensure that this happens as part of the next Government.”
Should the Programme be passed by Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party, the new Government will:
Implement the National LGBTI+ and the LGBTI+ Youth Strategy, to create a safe, supportive, and more inclusive Ireland.
Legislate to provide for adoptive leave and benefit for male same-sex adoptive couples.
Legislate to ban conversion therapy.
Create and implement a general health policy for Trans people, based on a best-practice model for care, in line with the World Professional Association of Transgender Healthcare (WPATH) and deliver a framework for the development of National Gender Clinics and Multidisciplinary Teams for children and adults.
Amend the gender ground in equality legislation, to ensure that someone discriminated against on the basis of their gender identity is able to avail of this legislation.
Introduce a scheme for the expunging of criminal records for gay men convicted of historical offences.
Complete the work of the interdepartmental group tasked with examining legal recognition of non-binary people.
Remove the need for a person aged 16 and 17 years to have two specialist reports before they can apply for legal gender recognition, by providing for self- declaration, with parental consent and by making mediation available on a voluntary basis. These improvements will include the provision of a gender- recognition certificate providing proof of change of name, as well as gender.
Make any necessary changes to the law to allow legal name change be part of the gender recognition process.
Commence research to examine arrangements for children under 16.
Ensure that government departments and public bodies take positive steps, including the use of correct pronouns and, where possible, making improvements on official forms, to assist non-binary people.
Ask the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection to review how children’s rights and best interests can be protected in the context of the recognition of parentage, in cases of assisted human reproduction and surrogacy.
Update the National Anti-Bullying Plan to include gender identity bullying.
Develop inclusive and age-appropriate RSE and SPHE curricula across primary and post-primary levels, including an inclusive programme on LGBTI+ relationships and making appropriate legislative changes, if necessary.
NOTES TO THE EDITOR:
The following measures were included in Fine Gael LGBT’s Submission to the Programme for Government Negotiators:
- Permit persons aged 16 and 17 years to self-determine their legal gender with no requirement for medical certification and no court order in line with international best practice.
- Allow a person who has reached the age of 16 to apply for legal recognition of their preferred gender without the need for parental consent, court order or medical certification.
- Make provision by amendment to the Act to permit children aged under 16 years of age to secure legal recognition of gender by removing the criterion relating to minimum age.
- Ensure that parents/ surviving parents or guardians can make an application for a legal recognition of gender on behalf of their children.
- Allow for the recognition of a gender other than male or female in law.
- Amend legislation governing the issuing of passports to allow ‘X’ marker on passports.
- Take concrete steps to consult with the intersex community regarding their preferences in relation to type of recognition is needed.
- Introduce measures to prohibit the use of non-therapeutic genital ‘normalising’ surgeries.
- Amend the Gender Recognition Act to provide for additional review of the Act following a designated period.
- Commit to exploring the reduction of the deferral period of sexual activity between MSM before they can donate blood. We respectfully ask that the deferral period be dramatically reduced from 12 months to no more than 3 months. This will put us in line with the likes of the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Holland and the United States of America.
- Adopt a scheme (similar to that adopted in the United Kingdom) that will allow for gay men previously convicted of historical offences to have their criminal record for those offences expunged.
- Remove any reference to a colour [black & white] in line 2 of Section 9(2)(b) of the Road Traffic (Signs) Regulations 1962 or;
- Allow for a provision to be made in law for Local Authorities to have a say on the colour of a certain number of pedestrian crossings within their respective authority.
- Commit to publishing a similar Bill to the Provision of Objective Sex Education so that the Department of Education can begin preparation for its implementation as early as September 2021.
- Update the National Anti-Bullying Plan 2013 as produced by the Department of Education to include gender identity bullying.
- Enact changes to the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 to cover the diverse range of family structures in Ireland today and provide the same legal protections and recognition to those currently excluded by this and other legislation (Assisted Human Reproduction/Adoptive Leave/Parental Leave etc).