Minister Joan Burton to address European human rights conference

7 09 2012

Minister Joan Burton to address European human rights conference

4th European Transgender Council – Dublin, 2012

Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton will open the 4th European Transgender Council at Dublin City University on 7 September 2012.

More than 200 human rights activists have travelled from across Europe and Turkey to meet in Dublin for the three-day conference. Messages of welcome have come from President Michael D. Higgins and the Lord Mayor of Dublin Naoise Ó Muirí.

The opening will highlight Ireland’s human rights record and discuss the lengthy struggle to recognise transgender people in this country. The Minister will deliver a keynote address at 10am. Other keynote speakers will be Michael Farrell, senior solicitor at FLAC and Senator Katherine Zappone.

“We are delighted that the Minister is part of this conference,” said TENI Director Broden Giambrone. “Gender recognition for transgender people is a basic human right, and Ireland – one of the last EU States to legislate – has an opportunity to lead Europe in drafting inclusive, marriage-friendly legislation. We are looking forward to hearing from the Minister.”

The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton TD said: “I want to pay tribute to Dr Lydia Foy for her long and tenacious battle to have her true gender and identity recognised by the State and her human rights vindicated. As a result of the High Court’s ruling in Dr Foy’s case, the State now has an obligation to put a process in place to legally recognise the acquired gender of transgender people. I am very anxious to make progress on this matter; I want to ensure that transgender people will have legal recognition and to extend the protections of the equality legislation to them.”
I intend to request that the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Social Protection and Education examine the issue of gender recognition in October or November. I would like all groups with an interest in this area to engage with the Committee on this important issue, which will then assist my Department in drafting the legislation,” concluded the Minister.

It has been five years since Ireland was declared to be in breach of the EU Convention on Human Rights in this respect. The proposals for Ireland’s legislation would controversially force people to divorce before their true gender would be recognized. There is also a proposal forcing people to be diagnosed with a mental illness in order to gain recognition.

The conference is programmed by Transgender Europe and will feature their fourth biannual Council. It will be hosted in Ireland due to last year’s successful bid from Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI). TENI have worked in partnership with Dublin City University, whose research group EROSS (Expressions, Research, Orientations: Sexuality Studies) investigates sexual identities and gender role formation. Dr Mel Duffy from EROSS said, “This is not about individualism. This is about human rights and equality. This is about acceptance.”

The theme of the conference is Trans Rights Now! – Realizing Respect, Recognition and Equality

The conference details are as follows:


7-9 September 2012


The School of Nursing

Dublin City University

Collins Avenue

Dublin, 9

Photo Call: 9.45am Friday 7 September, The School of Nursing, DCU

Due to the sensitive nature of the event, photo opportunities will be restricted or by prior arrangement with TENI. There will be a photo opportunity, for press and television, with Minister Burton as she arrives at the venue at 9.45am.


Please contact Dr Orlaith O’Sullivan, TENI Communications Officer on 087 2140488 for photography or interview arrangements.

Broden Giambrone is available for interview.

The TENI office is closed until Tuesday 11 September.

Transgender Equality Network Ireland, Carmichael Centre, Brunswick Street North, Dublin 7

(01) 8733 575. ●

For details on DCU’s EROSS see:




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