Aontú Leader Peadar Tóibín TD has called on the government to allow children their childhood, and not drag children as young as 5 years old into adult gender politics.

“The new Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman seeks to change the law to allow for 16- and 17-year olds self-declare their gender possibly without parental consent. The Minister is also looking legalise the self-declaration of gender for children as young as 5 years old,” he said.

“The Minister is seeking to legalise what is a massive, complex, life altering decision for children who are too young to vote, drive, take an alcoholic drink or decide even to use a Sun Bed,” the Meath West Deputy said.

“The process that the Minister for Children seeks to make legal for young children are often highly impactful and invasive. Drugs such as puberty blockers given to 11-year olds can leave those individuals infertile for the rest of their lives. Much of these processes are new and the long term results are yet unknown,” he pointed out.

“Should the child change their mind, which is the nature of the children, the process of reversing gender changing surgery exacts a huge toll and one that would be particularly damaging to a child. There is no way that children can have any understanding of the consequences of these decisions,” he continued.

“Also any change in the law will not just effect the children that experience gender dysphoria but also all children in every class room in the country. If these changes are made, its likely that the language used by teachers and children in schools around gender pronouns etc will have to change to suit the norms this new law creates”.

He also said that the Review Group proposing these changes was “devoid of medical expertise”.

“It is shocking that the Review Group that has proposed these changes to the law was devoid of anyone with medical expertise in this area. The Review Group contained no Doctors, psychologists or gender specialists. Ideological campaigners have their role within society, but empirical evidence-based decisions are best produced by independent medical experts,” Deputy Tóibín said.

“We need as a people have compassion for and support children who experience sudden onset gender dysphoria. Our approach needs to be evidence and medically based. There are huge misgivings in society around legalising gender transitioning for children. Children’s lives have become radically more complex in a short few years and these pressures are bearing heavily on many children today as never before. We need to allow children to have their childhood free of adult gender politics. Aontú will be opposing any change to the law”.