Transgender Athlone native wins 13-year legal battle

An Athlone native has won a 13-year legal battle to have her new gender recognised following a sex change operation. It's thought that the victory for dentist Dr Lydia Foy, who was born Donal Mark Foy, will result in new legislation being introduced in order to recognise the gender of people who have undergone such procedures. The Government was planning an appeal to the Supreme Court against a ruling that it had violated Dr Foy's rights by failing to provide "meaningful recognition" of her new gender. However it has now formally withdrawn this appeal, thus concluding court proceedings which began in 1997 after Dr Foy was refused permission to be recognised as female on her birth certificate. Dr Foy, a former married father-of-two, underwent the sex change operation in the UK in 1992. She now lives in Athy, Co Kildare. Speaking in the aftermath of the legal victory, she urged the government to introduce new legislation in this area as a matter of urgency. "It has been a very long road and at times I thought it would never end, but I felt I just had to keep going, for my own dignity and self respect and for all the other transgender people out there who were suffering in silence," she stated. "I hope the Government's acceptance that we are entitled to be recognised in our true gender will make things easier for other transgender people in the future and that this case will have helped non-transgender people to understand how real are the problems and difficulties that we face. "I am also glad this ordeal is nearly over for the members of my family circle." Dr Foy is from a prominent Athlone business family, and has a number of relatives living locally. Dr Foy's marriage was judicially separated in 1991 and it's thought that her former partner and two daughters are also living in the Athlone area. The Foy family operated one of the largest stores on Church Street, which was owned by Jack and Ernest Foy from 1947 onwards. The shop incorporated a petrol pumps at the front and carried goods ranging from jewellery to bicycles and sports equipment. It's believed that the premises, currently occupied by the Bank of Ireland branch and a restaurant, was sold by the family in the 1970s. Following her legal win Dr Foy is to be honoured as the grand marshal at the upcoming Dublin Pride Festival parade.