Gender Identity

Oral Answers to Questions — Finance – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 22nd February 2021.

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Photo of Emma Sheerin Emma Sheerin Sinn Féin 3:15 pm, 22nd February 2021

T5. Ms Sheerin asked the Minister of Finance whether he agrees with the transgender community here in its call for a change in the law to allow people to declare their own gender identity rather than enduring a medical process to receive a medical declaration, which is the current process. (AQT 1025/17-22)

Photo of Conor Murphy Conor Murphy Sinn Féin

Yes, I do. I met TransgenderNI last year to talk through the issue and how best to bring about change here. Unfortunately, there is not sufficient time left in this mandate to bring through such legislation. However, I have commissioned research to inform legislation in the next mandate. The research went out to tender in November last year. Unfortunately, no proposals were submitted. Therefore, it has been retendered, with a closing date of 26 February this year. I very much encourage bids for that important work.

Photo of Emma Sheerin Emma Sheerin Sinn Féin

Thanks, Minister, for that answer. Will the research that your Department is conducting refer to the 2015 Bill and the current law in the Twenty-six Counties?

Photo of Conor Murphy Conor Murphy Sinn Féin

Yes. I am conscious that there is a shift internationally towards self-declaration models of gender identity. The research will examine the legislation south of the border as well. The fact that other jurisdictions have moved first means that we can learn lessons from them. It is also important that transgender people here are not left behind, so we need to make progress on the matter in the next mandate.