Transgender people in Ireland will be permitted to change their legal gender based on self-identification alone, without medical or state intervention, under a historic law passed Wednesday.
The law was enacted just two months after Ireland's landslide vote to legalize same-sex marriage. Only four other countries—Denmark, Malta, Argentina and Colombia—have such laws allowing transgender individuals over the age of 18 to freely self-identify their legal gender, The Guardian reports.
"The passage of the legislation is a testament to the years of dogged campaigning by the trans community and its allies..." said Mark Kelly, executive director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL).
In the majority of European countries, transgender people seeking legal recognition for their gender are required to have a mental disorder diagnosis and sex reassignment surgery, according to Human Rights Watch, which hailed Ireland as a "global transgender leader."
Restrictions on legal gender recognition also exist in some parts of the U.S., where a transgender rights movement continues to grow with the rising visibility of transgender individuals. Many states require transgender people to have medical proof of their gender identity before it is legally recognized, while a few also require proof of surgery or a court order, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.