The European Union (EU) has “endorsed” a transgender campaigner, who fought in the Irish courts for the transgendered to be legally recognised as their chosen gender. The EU awarded him a prestigious award after she was nominated by a Sinn Féin MEP.
Donal Mark – now know as Lydia Annice Foy – received the European Parliament’s Citizen’s Prize in Brussels on Monday, furthering cementing the EU’s stance on pressuring member states to uphold post-Marxists gender theory in their legal systems.
Mr. Mark had sex reassignment surgery in 1992 and immediately began a 22-year legal battle to have his chosen gender, rather than his biological sex, represented on his birth certificate.
Michael Farrell, a solicitor who worked on the case from 2005, said the EU’s selection of a transgender activist was “an endorsement from the European Parliament of the need for rights for transgender people,” and that the case “has wider significance than legislative change in Ireland.”
Mr. Farrell told The Irish Times that he thinks the EU will now consider trans rights in countries that want to join the EU, as “it’s now a condition of EU membership that each country comes up to a certain minimum level of human rights protection.”
In 2007, following Mr. Mark campaign, the Irish High Court ruled that the relevant portions of the Irish law were incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, and the transgendered should be able to pick and chooses their legal gender.
The ruling has since becoming an important piece of case law for the European Court of Justice on the issue of gender recognition. It took a second legal battle, however, until the undemocratic change brought by legal activism was fully recognised in Irish law in 2007.
— FLAC: Access2Justice (@flacireland) October 15, 2015
“I feel now that with the endorsement of Europe and the endorsement of Ireland, I can say yes, maybe I was doing something right for the good of people, for access to the law and for future generations when it comes to diversity,” said Mr. Mark after receiving his award.
“Not only from an Irish point of view, but hearing she’s the first transgender person to receive any sort of European award or recognition is a really important message to send to transgender communities across Europe,” said Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan, who nominated Mr. Mark for the award along with two other MEPs.
Poland, for example, only began to allow the transgendered to be legally recognised as their chosen gender on birth certificates and new educational and employment documentation in July 2015.
In Turkey, the transgendered have been allowed to change their legally recognised gender since 1988, so the EU stance, reaffirmed with the recent award, would not present an obstacle to them joining the political union. However, Turkey has no “anti-discrimination” employment or hate speech laws, which might present an issue.
In July 2015 Ireland passed a separate law allowing trans people to choose their legal gender with no medical or state intervention.
Other countries in Europe – apart from Malta, Denmark and now Ireland – still require the transgendered to undergo surgery and sterilisation, or be diagnosed with a mental disorder and get divorced if they are married, in order to have their chosen gender legally recognised.
The EU award signals that that member states will be increasingly pressured to follow Ireland in legally recognising people’s preferred gender, even if they make no attempt to live or “present” as their chosen gender.
The British government’s new Parliamentary Women’s and Equalities Committee heard evidence at the beginning of the month from a one-sided panel on the possibility of introducing a “third gender” – such as “gender queer” or “non-gendered” – into the British legal system.