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O'Gorman backs gender changes for under-16s

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Minister Roderic O’Gorman

Minister Roderic O’Gorman

Minister Roderic O’Gorman

The new Children's Minister Roderic O'Gorman has said youngsters under 16 should be able to change their gender, with the consent of their parents or guardians and GP.

He also hit out at what he called "toxic" and "homophobic" attacks against him in recent days.

Laws to make it easier for 16 and 17-year-olds to legally change their gender will be introduced by the new coalition.

A new document also commits to examining the arrangements for children under 16 who may wish to change their gender.

Mr O'Gorman said a review group carried out detailed work on the Gender Recognition Act.

"They brought forward proposals for children under 16," he said.

Expert

"If they want to initiate a gender change they have to get high-level medical consultants to sign off on that. Whereas the recommendation is to make that easier to allow a GP basically to sign off to say yes."

He said he supported implementing the review findings.

"In an area like this you should be led by expert advice," he said.

Mr O'Gorman also responded to online attacks against him in recent days.

He has been under fire over a photograph of him posing with leading British LGBT activist Peter Tatchell at a Dublin Pride march two years ago.

The Dublin West TD said he would not have posed for the picture had he known about Mr Tatchell's previously expressed views on consent.

Mr Tatchell wrote a letter to The Guardian in 1997 saying that some friends made a "conscious choice" to have sex with an adult when they were under 13.

Mr Tatchell has since said his letter was edited and has clarified in recent days that he condemns and opposes adults having sex with children.

Acceptable

Mr O'Gorman said the Pride march was the only time he met Mr Tatchell.

"I feel there's been a kind of a pile-on from some of the fairly right-wing groups on social media," the minister said.

The Green Party TD also said: "There are no circumstances in which sex between an adult and a child is acceptable."