Sunday, 10 June 2018

Lydia Foy: The woman at the heart of securing transgender rights in Ireland

Flac (Free Legal Advice Centres) has produced a comprehensive history of Foy’s right for justice in a report.
 “OUR IDENTITY IS a fundamental part of who we are – whether it’s your nationality, your race, your religion, or your gender.” – Sara Phillips, TENI.
Irish transgender woman Lydia Foy spent 20 years of her life involved in a difficult and complex litigation to have her gender legally recognised in the Irish State.
Her battle has since resulted in a radical reform of the law on gender recognition – the Gender Recognition Act.
Flac (Free Legal Advice Centres) has produced a comprehensive history of Foy’s right for justice – ‘A story of great human proportions’: Lydia Foy and the struggle for transgender rights in Ireland.
Foy was born in Westmeath in 1947 and was registered male at birth. In 1992, she had gender reassignment surgery in the UK and from then on she has lived as a woman.
The legal battles
As Teni details in its timeline of Foy’s story, and as is detailed in the new report, in March 1993, Foy’s legal battles began when she applied to the office of the Registrar General for a new birth certificate to accurately reflect her correct gender.
In 1997, Foy began High Court proceedings, with the help of Flac, to request that the Registrar provide her with a new birth certificate.
The case was heard in the High Court before Justice Liam McKechnie in 2002. On 9 July 2002, Foy’s request was rejected and Kechnie stated there was no authority under the Registration Acts to change the gender registered at birth except for purely clerical errors.
McKechnie called on the government to take urgent action to assist transgender people.
Foy then appealed to the Supreme Court. However, before the appeal was heard, the European Convention on Human Rights Act 2003 was enacted. The report outlines that the Act required public bodies to carry out their functions, as far as possible, in compliance with the ECHR and required the courts to interpret legislation, also as far as possible, in line with it also.
Lydia receiving the European Citizen's Prize at the European Parliament

Because of this, and as noted in the TENI timeline, Foy made a new application to the Registrar General in November 2005, citing the obligation under the Act to comply with the requirements of the European Convention.

The Registrar General refused her case again under grounds that he had no power under the Registration Act to do what was requested.  Foy again began a new High Court case, seeking a declaration under the ECHR Act that Irish legislation was not compatible with the European Convention in relation to the registration and issue of birth certificates.
In 2007, Foy returned to the High Court and Justice McKechnie again heard her case. As noted in the report, Judge McKechnie repeated that there was nothing in Irish law on the Constitution that would require or allow for Foy’s birth record to be amended or to allow for a new birth certificate.
In May 2010, the government set up the Gender Recognition Advisory Group (GRAG) to advise on the legislation to recognise transgender people as their preferred gender.
Flac (having taken on Foy’s case), the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) and other bodies made recommendations to the group. In July 2011, the group published its recommendations and proposed gender recognition legislation, the TENI timeline and report outline.
In January 2013, Foy issued new proceedings in the High Court, seeking a declaration that the Irish government was under a legal duty to make provision for issuing her with a new birth certificate. She also sought damages for the continued breach of her rights following the High Court decision in 2007.
The case was settled in November 2014.
The Gender Recognition Act was passed on 15 July 2015. It meant that a person can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate to the Department of Social Protection in order to have their preferred gender recognised by the State.
In November 2017, Minister Regina Doherty appointed a review group chaired by Moninne Griffith (executive director of BeLonG To) which includes members from TENI, Flac, other independent experts in the field and government bodies.
The group has said it will review the following areas:
·         Arrangements for children aged 16 to 17 years
·         Arrangements for children under 16 years
·         Arrangements for persons who identify as neither male nor female (e.g. non-binary)
·         Arrangements for intersex people
·         Any other relevant issues, including issues relating to the operation of the current legislative provisions (i.e the Gender Recognition Act 2015)
It will submit its report to the Minister in May this year.
‘Thank you’
Speaking at the launch of Flac’s report, and addressing the impact Lydia Foy has had on transgender rights in Ireland, chairperson of TENI Sara Phillips thanked Flac and Foy.
“Without this case, without her struggle and without her unyielding and forthright commitment to make sure she kept going, I think the trans community wouldn’t be where they are today,” Phillips said.
“As we step forward, the trans community, from the shadows, with pride now, we can be confident that there are allies who will support and stand behind us within that struggle.
So, let’s be clear, there is still a need to ensure that the social causes and heroes like Lydia are documented and remembered.

“For the trans community, we must pledge for keeping this story alive in the minds of everyone, in the minds of society, but also in the minds of our own community.”

I think that Lydia Foy is one of the most courageous people living in Ireland at the present time.

Those of us who grew up gay in Ireland in the 50s and 60s suffered greatly from guilt, shame, and condemnation.

Just imagine how much harder it was for Lydia - where even today people object to an individual's right to have a sex change and to have their birth certificate and passport changed accordingly.

Lydia fought a very lonely battle - and persevered.

Thanks to her transgender people now have a wonderful role model.

I supported her a little in her battle.

To thank me she painted a small picture of me.

Lydia is also a very good artist and is a qualified dentist.

Well done Lydia in your battle. Ireland owes you a great debt and those who were horrible to you are now put to shame.

Lydia's miniature painting




  1. Very hard to refute either George Carlin or Dave Allen on the matter of religion.

  2. God made us male and female. Period. All this gender stuff is from Satan.

    1. MourneManMichael10 June 2018 at 11:17

      Anon @ 09:32: Would I be right in saying that you have a medical background, and having studied such issues, are well qualified to make such pronouncements?
      And from the store of your knowledge, perhaps you might enlighten us as to which gender Satan is?

    2. Satan is a male fallen angel.

    3. MourneManMichael10 June 2018 at 13:20

      Aha! So it's all clear now. It wasn't a woman that caused the Fall at all. It was that nasty male fallen angel. All is forgiven Eve.
      Eat your heart out Icarus!

    4. 11:21: Angels, fallen or otherwise have no 'tackle'; just humans.

      09:32: You've gone to Genesis for your 'wisdom', haven't you?

      Would you agree with Pope Francis for telling Juan Carlos Cruz that it was God who had made him gay? Or are you one of those sages who believes that being gay is a choice.

  3. More of your anti Catholic Church diatribe and hate. You spent yesterday downing Fr. Darcy as you felt he makes you cringe. You are a cringe factor too Pat. You never miss an opportunity to promote yourself as so wonderfully different from the "rest" of us. God knows all our hearts and sees the immense goodness of each priest who genuinely struggles to "listen to the Word of God" and acts upon it. Thankfully God is merciful, unlike your bitter, nasty, twisted sense of justice and mercy. Your portrait makes you look smug and self regarding.

    1. O Dear! Have we not slept well?

    2. 09 48: Slept very well Pat, thank you but seriously, You have lost your moral integrity: You blow with the wind. You make up your beliefs to suit your vengeful agenda. And, yes, It's all about you, you, you, just like Brian Darcy!! God bless Lydia.

    3. You are, like me, entitled to your opinion.

      And.....I publish your criticism of me.

  4. You look like a young Cackle Daily in that portrait.

  5. Why do you dress as a Roman Catholic bishop? The combination of mozetta and zuchetto is exclusively RC.

    1. I don't wear the "fig" very often.

      I am a Catholic bishop - not an RC one.

      The combination of mozetta and zuchetto is no longer exclusive to the RCs.


    2. Magna Carta's Mum10 June 2018 at 12:02

      Despite Magna's entreaties I remained firm when I was consecrated, that I would continue to wear my housecoat indoors and twinset when I go out.

    3. Mommie dearest, provided you don't wear them together, I have no objection.

      But you do tend to confuse occasions, don't you? The sacred (ceremonial) with the secular (domestic)?

      Why that maverick archbishop consecrated you, I shall never know.😕 (Well, actually, I do: money...lots of it...spoke louder on this occasion than anything else. See how much I love you, dearest?)

    4. The Mozzetta and zuchetto may have been hijacked by some fancy dress artists but they are still properly worn only by bishops who are in communion with the successor of St Peter.

    5. I wear them and I'm not in communion with the man who claims to be the successor of Peter.

      It is doubtful if Peter was in Rome and he was never the bishop or "episcopus" of the Christians community there.

      Sorry to disillusion your blind faith.

    6. Are you a member of the Association of Catholic Bishops (non-RC)?

    7. 18.04: More errant and erroneous nonsense from Mr. Nobody. RESPECT is not one of your virtues. You waste your time putting everyone down, even Jesus!

    8. Peter’s succession has nothing to do with the geographical location of Rome and everything to do with the plain words of Jesus in Scriptures.

      It wouldn’t matter one bit if the apostle Peter never set foot in Rome. What matters is what Jesus clearly said to him.

      Those words of the Lord in the Gospels - not a geographical location on this planet - are the foundation of the communion Jesus Himself established as His Church on earth.

    9. 00:03 And what were these so-called 'words of Jesus'?

  6. Well done, Pat, another blog about life in the real world which will have the sacristy louses up in arms that they can no longer dictate to the rest of the world!

  7. When I see these two Magna arseh*les appearing on here then I know this blog has really gone to the dogs.

    1. Would it be right to banish them?

    2. 14:17 I am not what you called me.

      I have one, but I'm not one.😆

    3. Magna Carta's Mum10 June 2018 at 18:37

      And I can vouch for the truth of that, I've seen it.

    4. The blog wouldn't be the blog without the occasional rant from Magna.

    5. Mommie dearest, some decorum, please! 😯

      My nether region is not a decorus topic for blog discussion.

      And you never did see it. Nanny did, but you didn't.

      Bless, Nannapoo.😆

    6. Magna Carta's Mum10 June 2018 at 21:58

      Magna darling, the woman whom your late father encouraged you to address thusly, wasn't actually staff and not even a babysitter. She was one of your father's various mistresses. Did you catch her name? If she was bottle blonde it might have been Myra...
      I will allow that I tended to avoid your nappies. I'm sure the readers will understand.

    7. Mommie dearest, if you're suggesting THAT Myra was my nanny, then your dementia is much, much worse than I'd feared. I wasn't even the proverbial twinkle in pappy-dearest's eye when THAT Myra walked the earth.

      Mommie dearest, why shouldn't you have pleasured yourself sniffing my, er, productive nappies? Why deny yourself such maternal privilege?

      Mommie dearest, didn't you love me? (Sniff 😢)

  8. Bishop Pat, is it true that you are 20 years a bishop this year?

  9. More fekarsin about by some today. MS Foy is a brave lady. Bet much has changed in 20 years including yourself.

  10. Magherafelt Curate Fr Brannigan celebrated 12 Mass today in the absence of Fr Gates He talked about our freedom to make choices and decisions. He said that he could have a free choice to let his hair grow down to his backside but that Fr. Gates was liable to scold him. Interesting choice of words - is Fr Gates capable of scolding his Curate or anyone else? Very relaxed Congregation today as Fr Gates was gone to say Mass in the forest. We were spared loud singing and chirping from the altar thankfully.

    1. I'm so bored with hearing about that place.

    2. Be patient. Pur friends there need liberated from Gates.

    3. 18.36 Unlike you, I am certainly not bored with this story about this Gate fellow. I say this because I don't want this control freak landing up in my parish. I'm sure you wouldn't want him either. So let's keep hearing what he gets up to next, I thank the blog for keeping us informed. Geraldine.

    4. There are important issues that we need to keep watching:



      Armagh scandals.

      The incompetent Irish bishops.

      King Puck at al

  11. Love that Dave Allen clip.

    He's greatly missed.

  12. At this moment in time gates is between a rock and a hard place in more ways than one ha ha ha

  13. Happy 20th Pat. I will offer holy Mass for you on Wednesday (in Lancaster Diocese).

  14. Armagh people need to start voting with their feet and stop funding Amy and the gay cabal

  15. Thanks father (with the curly hair) at Teconnaught. The half hour Cemetery Sunday service was quite long enough

  16. Good luck Pat in Singapore on Tuesday. The Irish Bishops have decided to call a truce with you. They've said if it's good enough for Kim and Donald to meet there it's good enough for you and them. Your expenses will be covered by the collection being taken up next weekend for the World Meeting of Families. The fund is being renamed The World Meeting of The Irish Episcopal Conference with Pat Buckley. The only demand from them is you remove your weapon of mass destruction - your blog.

  17. I notice the timeline left out his wife and children from the story.