Changing to your preferred gender
In 2008 the High Court ruled that Ireland was in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights in not having a process to legally recognise the acquired gender of transsexual or transgender people. A Gender Recognition Advisory Group was set up to advise on the legislation required to provide for legal recognition of the changed gender of transgender people who have made the transition from one gender to another. The Advisory Group’s report was produced in 2011.
On 4 September 2015 the Gender Recognition Act 2015 came into effect and provides for the legal recognition of a person’s preferred gender. The effect of the legal recognition is not retrospective. All rights, responsibilities and consequences of actions by you prior to the date of recognition of your preferred gender remain unaffected.
Under the legislation there are 3 parts to the process of obtaining a new birth certificate which reflects your preferred gender.
- Apply for a gender recognition certificate which you can use as proof of gender or identity
- Apply to be registered in a register of gender recognition
- Apply for a certified copy of your entry in the register of gender recognition which will satisfy any requirement where you are asked to provide a birth certificate
Gender recognition certificate
You can apply for a gender recognition certificate if you are at least 18 years of age and you are:
- Registered in the register of births or
- Registered in the adopted children register or
- Registered in the register of intercountry adoptions or
- Recorded in a foreign births entry book or in the foreign births register
Those born outside the State but ordinarily resident in the State can also apply. Evidence of their birth is required.
An application can be made on behalf of a child aged 16 years or over if a court order is obtained that exempts the child from meeting the age requirement.
You can have the gender recognition certificate issued in a different name to that on your birth certificate. You have to provide:
- Proof of use of the name for over two years or
- A deed poll for a change of name that has been enrolled in the Central Office of the High Court
Foreign gender recognition
If you have changed gender under the law of another state, you can apply for a gender recognition certificate. You will have to provide a copy of the relevant decision, order or certificate.
When applying you have to sign a statutory declaration which is part of the application form. It must be signed in the presence of a peace commissioner, a notary public, a commissioner for oaths or a solicitor.
Making an application
There is no charge for a gender recognition certificate. You apply using application form GRC 1 (pdf). You must complete the form, including the statutory declaration, and send the form along with the required documentation to Client Identity Services in the Department of Social Protection.
You can find further information on applying for a gender recognition certificate on the Department’s website.
Registering your gender
If you are registered in the register of births, the adopted children register, the register of intercountry adoptions or the foreign births register, when you receive your gender recognition certificate you can apply to the appropriate authority to have your details relating to your gender entered in the appropriate gender recognition register. You apply to:
- The General Registrar to be entered in the register of gender recognition if you are registered in the register of births or the adopted children register. Your details will already have been sent to the General Registrar. There is no charge and you apply using the Application for entry in the Register of Gender Recognition (pdf) form.
- The Adoption Authority to be entered in the register of gender recognition of intercountry adoptions if you are registered in the register of intercountry adoptions. Your details will already have been sent to the Adoption Authority.
- The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to be entered in the register of gender recognition of foreign births if you are recorded in a foreign births entry book or in the foreign births register.
A certified copy of an entry in one of the above gender recognition registers can be used if you have to provide a birth certificate.
The following people can apply for a copy of your entry in the register:
- Your surviving spouse or civil partner
- Your child if there is no surviving spouse or civil partner
- Your parent if there is no surviving spouse, civil partner or child
- Your brother or sister if there is no surviving spouse, civil partner, child or parent
You apply to the General Registrar for a certified copy of your entry in the register of gender recognition using the Application for a Certificate of an entry in the Register of Gender Recognition (pdf) form. A certified copy of an entry costs €20. There is more information on applying to the General Registrar on the General Register Office website.
Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) aims to improve conditions and advance the rights and equality of trans people and their families. Information on supports is available on its website, teni.ie.
BeLonG To is the national organisation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) young people, aged between 14 and 23. Information on its services and other supports is available at belongto.org.
Where to apply