WATCH: Donegal mother defends transgender child in impassioned speech

Taryn de Vere speaks out against the abuse her transgender child has faced simply for ‘her obvious joy in a dress’.

A flamboyantly dressed woman on a stage

A Donegal mother slammed a man for mocking her then five year-old transgender child for picking out a dress at a charity shop. Taryn de Vere discussed the incident at a TEDx Talk in Derry.

“My daughter saw a dress that she liked on the rack and she pulled it out and held it against herself. The man in the shop looked her up and down and laughed rudely. My little girl was crushed, she stood outside the shop crying. I was livid, a grown man making fun of a small child and her obvious joy in a dress. Why did he think that he could treat her this way? Was it the fact he thought she was a boy and a boy shouldn’t wear dresses? Up until 100 years ago boys wearing dresses was the norm.”

De Vere lives in Donegal with four of her children and is the co-founder of Quare Media where she often writes about parenting. In her talk she also spoke about the performativity of gender.

“I get that each of us places importance on our own gender identity but I do not understand why we feel a certain need for others to perform gender in certain ways for us. I find it startling that people care more about being able to publicly express their displeasure than they care for the feelings of a five year-old child.”

She believes that once her daughter was accepted by her peers she no longer felt a pressure to ‘perform girlness’ and she began to embrace her own identity and style. 

70% of Irish LGBTQ+ 14-18 year-olds had seriously thought of ending their own life according to a study funded by National Office for Suicide Prevention in 2016. A transgender child in this age group is more likely to consider ending their own lives than their lesbian or gay counterparts.

De Vere leaves the viewer with a request: “The next time that you’re out in public and you see someone wearing something that you find strange or different, please think of my daughter and consider taking a moment to honour that beautiful demonstration of self expression and vulnerability.”

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