Saturday, February 10, 2007

Gender Equality & Progressive European Democracy

30 years after the deaths of De Valera & Franco the difference between Spain & Ireland's social & gender debate could not be starker. Today as the Spanish Cabinet approved yet another of their election manifesto promises of 2004 to "enact equality of gender identification legislation", The Irish Legislature found itself discussing the legalities of a 60 year old man engaging in oral sex with a 15 year old boy. What was in one state simply another move at Cabinet Executive level to correct intolerable wrongs of the past counterpointed an Emergency Session of the Legislature in the other state to patch yet another hole in the 1937 constitution left to the majority of Irish people by De Valera.
gender equality debates in Europe 228 years after Eleanor Butler & Sarah Ponsoby ran away...
The new "sexual identity" Law presented by the Spanish minister for Justice today will allow transexuals the right to alter their official documentation ( such as identity cards, passports, bank accounts & birth certs ) to reflect their "true gender". Thus women in men's bodies and men in women's bodies (of whom there are estimated to be between 3,000 and 9,000 amongst the citizens of Spain) will be able to alter their "birth gender" accordingly, & without having to have undergone any sex change operation before hand but only if their condition has been psychiatrically / psychologically assessed and they have undergone hormonal treatment for 2 years.The new legislation will put Spain in a small group of states internationally who have legislated for "trans-sexuals". That group includes Sweden, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, the UK and Turkey.In all those states judicial protection has been afforded those whose phsyical bodies does not reflect their gender psychology. There will also be moves to extend health ministry funding to enable transexuals to undergo hormonal and surgical procedures should they wish to "completely" redress the contra-diction. At present only 2 of the 14 autonomous regions of the Spanish state offer such medical assistance as a social welfare entitlement, (Andalucia and Extramadura) whilst Asturias and Aragon plan to introduce such health cover by the end of 2006. The autonomous region of Catalonia has fallen short of offering free "sex-change" operations but does offer endicronoligical (hormonal) and psychiatric services (spanish)press :- ministry years after the death of De Valera, & 228 years after Eleanor Butler & Sarah Ponsoby ran away from their Kilkenny home to seek peace in Llangollen Wales as a couple wearing mens' clothing or less than 20 years since Ireland saw its first openly transexual undergo his/her operations and hormonal care paid for by the proceeds of a tabloid newspaper series pruriantly examining her progress. :-Ireland has faced a very different gender equality debate. Today during an emergency session Irish Minister of Justice Michael Mc Dowell clashed with Labour deputy Brendan Howlin over a question of homosexual acts :- Deputy Howlin had said that a 60-year-old man had sex with a consenting 15-year-old boy falling short of penetration, this would be an offence of gross indecency under the Criminal Law Act 1993. He was heckled by the Minister whose lack of knowledge of sexual offences legislation in Ireland has now provoked great public outrage.The Minister asserted that such an act of fellatio would be a sexual assault carrying a 14-year sentence. He was of course wrong . The Labour deputy has written to the Minister requesting an apology. Rumours are though that so many people have written to the Minister requesting apologies or resignation in the last week, that poor old Micky has quite given up.there are some people interested in trans-sexual affairs in Ireland, I recall one of them passed comments on my first article "How safe are they really?" Though I felt this was confusing the issue, as that article had really been meant to concern the prevalence of piercings and tattoos amongst the young, and nor girls who are boys or boys who are girls, or girls who want boys who are girls, or boys who want girls who are boys.I've learnt how the site & Irish sexual & gender debates work since though.

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