This week, Ireland passed a law that allows transgender men and women to change their legal gender to match their gender identity as they see fit, instead of it being determined (invasively) by the state or a doctor. It becomes only the third European country to do this, after Denmark (2014) and Malta (April 2015).
This is definitely a huge step toward transgender equality in Ireland, but of course that doesn’t mean that this law will meet the needs of everyone. Genderqueer, intersex, and other people with non-binary gender identity still have no way have their gender be legally recognized. Trans minors over the age of 16 still have to go through the often painful and even impossible process of getting parental permission, a court order, and medical supervision, whether or not they plan to actually transition with hormones/surgery. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, those under 16 still have no options.
Despite its shortcomings, this is great news, especially coming from a country with such a (sometimes notoriously) strong religious tradition. I hope this law will be the first of many supporting Irish transgender and queer communities and that the rest of the world will follow Ireland’s example.