Following a historic vote legalizing same-sex marriage in May, Ireland now becomes the fourth country in the world to allow transgender people to legally change their gender without surgery or other medical intervention.
“This is a historic moment for the trans community in Ireland,” said Sara R. Phillips, chair of the Transgender Equality Network Ireland, in a statement after lawmakers approved the Gender Recognition Bill. “Today is the first day we will be seen as who we truly are.”
Wednesday’s vote caps off more than two decades of efforts around the issue that began in 1993 when Dr. Lydia Foy tried to change the gender on her birth certificate.
Irish President Michael Higgins is expected to sign the Gender Recognition Bill into law in the coming weeks.
“This is a great moment for trans people living in Ireland,” said ILGA-Europe Executive Director Evelyne Paradis in a statement.
Activists note, however, that the new law will not apply to transgender people under the age of 18.
Ireland will become the fourth country to allow trans people to legally change their gender without surgery and other medical interventions, joining Malta, Argentina and Denmark.