Foy Decision – State is in breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights


The High Court has ruled that the State is in breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

He said those who suffer from gender identity disorder suffer from an incurable condition. He said Lydia Foy’s former wife has lost a husband and her children have lost a father. He said it is clear that this case has wider implications than for Lydia Foy herself.

He said in these cases there seems to be a burning desire for applicants to have their sex recognised not only socially but also legally. He said such a process is often humiliating and sometimes unsuccessful but he said everyone had the right to dignity.

Lydia Foy brought her case after undergoing a sex change operation. She wants a new birth certificate recognising that she is a woman. Ms Foy has been engaged in a ten-year legal battle to obtain the new birth certificate, describing her as female.

I hear all she’ll get is compensation for the breach until a law is changed?

7 Responses to “Foy Decision – State is in breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights”

  1. Tom Young says:

    Yeah, potentially damages as allowed for and as assessable under the ECHR Act of 2003, section 5, ss. 4. ex gratia payments may be allowed.

    As the RTE report states its to be laid before the Oireachtas for the lads to take notice of, or not as the case may be!

    Its pretty land mark really. Pity about court pin ball.

    Declarations of incompatibility may form more and more aspects of Irish law.

  2. Daithí says:

    Yup, no guarantee of a legal change. This is the first time for such a declaration, so what the Government does is being watched. There is a developing practice in the UK of heeding declarations of incompatability and it will be very interesting to see if similar happens here.

  3. Hangar Queen says:

    As a trans person myself I can tell you that getting the right letter on that birthcert is worth more than ANY amount of money.

    It it absurdly simple thing to do and costs little or nothing to implement. I had a lot more to say about this but I’m way too close to this issue to be even slightly rational right now.

  4. While I applaud the courage of Lydia to take on this case and pursue it as far as she has, there’s something that I can’t help but wonder about. Lydia, although born a male, decided at some point in her life that she was trapped in the wrong body – a decision made some time after her introduction to the world. The question in my mind is at what point did this conscious thought enter her mind? Was it at the age of 2? 3? 8? 9? Winning the case proves her right to be referred to by her chosen gender, much like any adult may change their name if they are so impassioned, but does it however, change her birth right? The question is that, gender, much like any tag attributed to humans, is today, completely malleable. The decision to change is completely on the shoulders of the person themselves. However, the decision to change or the desire to be recognised as a gender which is different to your initial birth state may have been brought about through some early- or late-life incident, or perhaps not. There are still some out there who are closed off enough to never recognise Lydia as a female but does this desire to be recognised transcend the boundary of changing a birth certificate; blotting out part of the life that made her who she is today? While we typically have a very simplistic view of gender in a physical form, landmark cases like these show us that gender is not necessarily of the form but also of the pysche and that is not something for which we can legislate in a religiously agnostic way as some do not believe in a deeper soul that embodies the person. Perhaps we need an updated definition of gender but how do we define that?

  5. Hangar Queen says:

    You raise some good points.While gender may be malleable it does have,unlike other human tags,a legal status.This does have very real consequences in everyday life.Think of passports,driving and professional licences,buying a plane ticket,getting pulled over for speeding and applying for finacial aid for college.I have first hand experience in dealing with all of those things and let me tell you…everything gets a thousand times more complicated.
    That’s just the physical world. I can’t speak to a spiritual dimension but I can’t help wondering if the states refusal to change the law here is a hangover from the church’s opinion that there are no such thing as transsexuals.They posit that a person in born either male or female and that someone who undergoes transition is making such superficial changes that it in no ways alters their gender of birth.
    For the record I knew when I was three years old that something was very,very wrong.I suffered that hell for 32 years and perhaps that has no place in a legal debate but I think I should be allowed put whatever I want (congruent with reality of course) on my birth cert.

    Apologies Damien for hijacking your comments.

  6. Hi HQ, (apologies DM for using your comments section as a discussion board but I just wanted to reply).

    Valid points there, I can believe that the impact on everyday life as you describe is somewhat overwhelming compared to what many take for simple process. Perhaps I didn’t phrase it well but I think we’re both thinking about the same idea of requiring some law change to remove the archaic definition of gender; away from the physical and towards a more progressive and agreeable form. The hangover from the church that you mention is probably all too true, as there are many hangovers that continue to invade our everyday lives, stemming from church governance. My concern was that changing a birth cert (although currently necessary for the things you mention) would erase part of the person’s history and perhaps some memories that might be worth keeping. Sadly though the birth cert is the only ID used to provide passport status and other such that you refer to and I guess it’s the only way to progress as the world currently views gender. Interesting case though, I’d say that it has caught the attention and imagination of many.

  7. Lynda Sheridan says:

    I was born with gender identity disorder, I carried the trauma of same within myself for decades, why because of a society that genderised and
    isolated me as sometime other than my true self.
    GID is not a sudden thought that you some come to the idea of bveing a
    female, it is in you from the moment of creation, a struggle from the womb to the grave. at least for so many before me and Lydia Foy.
    Now perhaps in our goverment enacting leglesation to give us our
    true birth certificats it will let us and future generations of gid born, live a
    happy and fullfilled life as the male or female they were born to be.
    Do not forget that in the Republic of Ireland, we are post-op legally recognised as male or female on same, as well as driveing linances tax records, pensions ect, and the department of health recognises gid as a
    medical congential inter-sex condition ansd is uncurable, but with medical
    inventsion such as psychologicasl councelling ,hormone replacement
    and gender reasignment surgery it is hugeally relieved and we can have
    a fullfilling life after such.
    The Irish Goverment is the only one in the E.U. not to enact leglesation
    to give us our new birth certificates.
    We do not deny our pasts or even regret same, we have wifes or husbands and even children, most contary to misinformation do either stay with their partners and have good relations with their children.
    It is the wider society and goverment that causes the suffering to us and
    our families, and even those of us who have successfully survived the quagmires of gender identity, we often find it hard to find someone to
    love and live happly with, why Because of our journey to who we truly
    are not being accepted by our partners families, so we let them go as having experianced loss of our families or friends, we could not put someone else we love through same losses.
    for our goverment to stop this blatent discrimination and enact leglesation to give us full legal protection ,and at last be a trully himane
    goverment that we elected to look after such protection, no more or less
    than any other human being born on the island of ireland.
    No one has the right to make us feel inferior unless we give it to them,
    we dont????
    The medical evidance is there ,the department of health pays for our treatments and eventuaslly sends us abroad for surgery and pays for same. we are legally recognised on passports, driving linances, tax and
    pensions medical cards ect, if we go into hospital it is a normal male or female ward no seperation as if we were a disease.
    But without our birth certs ,we cannon marry legally as a female to a
    male or a male to a female, even the gay/lesbian civil union if we were gay or lesbian, we cannon avail of same if we are a female to female union, or a male to male union.
    We need a legal birth cert to be fully inclusive in all of society.

    Lynda Sheridan.
    Gender Identity Support Ireland.