Transgender Americans could really use a law like Ireland's

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Ireland passed a law earlier this week that permits trans people to change their legal gender without medical or governmental intervention, The Guardian reports.

"This is a historic moment for the trans community in Ireland," Transgender Equality Network Ireland chair Sara Phillips told the Guardian. "Trans people should be the experts of our own gender identity. Self-determination is at the core of our human rights."


Ireland is one of only five countries to have a gender recognition law that is based in self-determination, according to according to TIME. (The other four are Argentina, Colombia, Denmark, and Malta.)

Absent from that short list is the United States, where the requirements for changing your legal gender can prove invasive, expensive, and—especially for people who identify as neither male nor female—restrictive.


"There are certain requirements that make it impossible for people to gain access to [state or federal] identifications based on income," Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney for the ACLU'S LGBT Project, told Fusion. "It's not enough that you simply go in and say, 'This is my gender,' or sign an affidavit. You always need some supporting documentation, which obviously means that people who don't have access to a doctor can't get that supporting documentation."

According to the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), there are 14 states that require proof of sex reassignment surgery, a court order, and an amended birth certificate in order for residents to change the gender marker on their driver's license. Fifteen states (plus D.C.) have dropped the SRS requirement, but they still ask for documentation from a licensed medical professional in order to issue a new license.

Considering that 70 percent of trans people report feeling discriminated against by their healthcare providers—and almost a fifth said that they'd been denied care outright—that extra medical step probably feels more like a hurdle to most.


"It's clear that, in terms of moving the ball forward on increasing access to identification documents for trans people, the United States is falling behind," Strangio said.

Bad at filling out bios seeks same.