My name is Lydia Foy,I’m here near the four courtsin Dublin, in Irelandand I’ve beenbattlingto get basic rights before the law for very many years . What happened to me was I was born witha syndrome whichoriginally used to be called transexual syndrome but unfortunetly terminologywasdestroyedwhen there were some controversialcasesso people just casually dropped the syndrome which is a medical termand just start calling peoplewho were born with a gender disability, just calling them transexuals, it justtrivialized the disability and alienated. FLAC has represented Dr. Lydia Foy for more than twelve yearsand what happened was thatafter her personal experiences of transgender and transitioning she was thenlooking for legal recognition because there are a lot of circumstances in whichshe might be asked to produce a birth certificate which would show a differentgender from the gender she was presenting as, which was very embarrassingand also as a form of affirmation and recognition of her new identity whichis very importantbut she got nowhere so it became clear that she would have to take legal action . She came to FLAC to help her with that. It took five years to get adecision on that in the high courtand the decision went against her. The European Court of Human Rights two daysl latergave a decision in favor of transgendered people from Britainunder exactly the same lawso we appealed that to the Supreme Court. It took another three years for that to come up inthe Supreme Courtby that time the law here had changed and we had brought the European Convention ofHuman Rights into our domestic law and it provided an opportunity to test this newlaw in her caseand we eventually won in two thousand and seven but we’re now in asituation where the state has appealed the positive decision in the high court in thiscase, and we will have to fight that in the Supreme Courtand may well have to take it to the European Courts as well. FLAC is an organization that hashas a huge dependence on the voluntary involvement of practicing lawyers. We have about seventy centers around the country which we supportwe organize twenty one of them directly, others are organized throughthe Citizens Information Centers of Irelandbut the purpose of our centers and the work in the centers is that peoplewho need legal information and legal advice can get it in a non-threatening way, ina confidential way and in a way that just gives them appropriate accessso we like to see FLAC as an organization which can use law and legal tools as acatalystfor social change, social justice.

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