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Gender recognition could lead to forced divorce in Ireland

A new law in Ireland which recognises a transgender person’s transition could force them to divorce, activists warn.

The proposed Gender Recognition Bill will allow transgender people in Ireland to have the sex on their birth certificate amended.

However, LGBT groups the Equality Authority and the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) say that, as Ireland still does not recognise same sex marriage, the bill will create an “impossible choice” for married transgender people.

Once someone is recognised as the same gender as their spouse, the marriage would become unlawful.

Even if same sex marriage was legal, transgender people would still face the same choice. As the bill currently stands, someone seeking to be legally recognised as their acquired gender has to be single to do so.

Broden Giambrone, chief executive of TENI, said that provision was “horrific” as it will force people “to choose between their family and their right to legal recognition of their gender”.

Recently, an example of this choice arose in Finland, when a transgender woman was told she had to change her marriage to a civil partnership if she was to be legally recognised as a woman.

She challenged the decision at the European Court of Human Rights, but the panel of judges ruled that the forced marital status change was not a violation of her human rights.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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