Gardaí confirm withdrawal of inclusive trans policy despite community criticism

The policy's withdrawal comes after officers raised concerns about needing further education on trans-related topics.

This article is about the withdrawal of a train policy by Gardaí. In the photo, two Gardaí in uniform with their backs facing the camera.
Image: Via Twitter - @gardarep

Gardaí have officially confirmed the withdrawal of the Gender Identity in the Workplace policy, which was introduced earlier in the year with the aim of providing a safe and inclusive environment for trans personnel.

The Gender Identity in the Workplace policy was published on February 1 and its purpose was to ensure that all trans Garda staff feel “respected, safe, welcome and included” and that all gender identities and expressions are respected. The document also stated that An Garda Síochána does not tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment and that it is committed to supporting personnel who are “undergoing social or medical transition”.

However, earlier this week, the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) called for the withdrawal of the trans policy, pending additional training for Gardaí on matters of gender identity and expression. According to AGSI General Secretary Antoinette Cunningham, members of the force are worried that they could be disciplined for being misguided on the issue, for example, using a person’s wrong pronouns.

Today, April 5, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has officially withdrawn the policy. Cunningham welcomed the move, saying: “It’s withdrawn now until consultation with the staff associations takes place. Within that we’ll be seeking a programme of education to how we can better support colleagues who wish to transition their gender and who want to go through the transition process.”

She also added that “it’s more important to get this right rather than dropping a directive in without the appropriate information that is badly needed.”

The announcement of the withdrawal of the Gender Identity in the Workplace policy was met with harsh criticism from members of the LGBTQ+ community, especially as it comes soon after An Garda Síochána published new statistics on hate crimes in Ireland, reporting a 29% increase in the number of incidents, with the queer people being the second most targeted group.

Irish LGBTQ+ activist Michael Barron denounced the move in a Twitter post, stating: “I really don’t understand the objection from @AGSI_Ireland to An Garda Síochána Policy Document Gender Identity in the Workplace. It is simply about respecting the rights and dignity of Trans Gardai in line with legislation and public sector duty. Why would you not?”


Another person wrote on Twitter, “What a great signal the Garda are sending out to LGBT+ people in Ireland.”

Someone else said, “#AGSI is an org of middle managers in An Garda Shíochána. Imagine in any other org of managers claimed they didn’t know how to implement a one-page policy which simply accords dignity & respect to one group in the workplace? If they can’t manage, demote them.”

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