Representative bodies make welcome contribution to debate
Opportunity to give real rights to Transgender People must not be missed
Statement by Katherine Zappone
The Government must heed calls from doctor and other medical representatives to strengthen laws giving recognition to transgender people, according to Independent Katherine Zappone.
The Independent Senator is welcoming the intervention of the Irish Medical Organisation and the Irish College of General Practitioners who are both coming out in favour of amendments which would deliver improved rights.
Calling on the Government and TD’s to listen to the medical professionals Senator Zappone warned that there is a danger that the opportunity to bring in genuine reforms would be lost.
Publishing letters of support for reforms sent by the organisations to the Tánaiste Joan Burton Senator Zappone added: “The Gender Recognition Bill is an opportunity to ensure the rights of transgendered people are given proper recognition – however for many of us the proposals before the Oireachtas have not gone far enough.
One of the key concerns centres on the exclusion of GPs as ‘primary treating medical practitioner’. The bill as currently formulated requires an endocrinologist or psychiatrist to certify that an applicant is transitioning or has transitioned to the applicant's preferred gender. In Ireland, the range of medical practitioners who may provide such certification is limited to a small number of specialists. This will lead
to significant delays in obtaining the appropriate certification. The exclusion of GP's runs the real danger of increasing the vulnerability especially of young transgendered people.
The intervention of the IMO and the ICGP is significant and welcome. Both organisations have supported amendments I have put forward that a GP is an appropriate medical professional to certify the individual's gender transition.
I am asking the Government even at this late stage to act on their advice and expertise and accept amendments I have put forward to correct this.
This afternoon (March 5th 2015) I am publishing letters from both groups to the Tánaiste to clear up any doubt about the position of both groups.
The Gender Recognition Bill is a once in a generation opportunity to ensure proper rights, protection and supports – we cannot allow it to slip by.
We must get this right and ensure the isolation and vulnerability felt by many people for too long is brought to an end.”