Yesterday, the widely criticised Professor Donal O’Shea featured on The Ray D’Arcy Show to talk about trans healthcare in Ireland, and the community have spoken out against the large amounts of harmful misinformation spread in the 26-minute segment entitled ‘Gender Dysphoria’.
Many people took to Twitter to condemn O’Shea’s views and the lack of correct information while also criticising RTÉ for providing him with such a large platform to speak on.
Noah Halpin, a trans activist and founder of the This Is Me Transgender Healthcare Campaign, spoke to GCN regarding the situation. He explained that although he was not surprised that RTÉ “yet again created a conversation surrounding trans identities without the presence or input of transgender people,” he was still left perplexed as to how Professor O’Shea was chosen as the person to lead the conversation.
Professor O’Shea’s practices have been repeatedly criticised by the trans community. He stepped down from his post as the clinical lead for the National Gender service in March of last year.
Noah added, “Professor O’Shea refused a seat on the HSE’s Transgender Healthcare Committee – which is discussing the future integration of services and Ireland’s working relationship with Tavistock. He is not involved in this conversation and was given an opportunity yesterday to give non-factual information as to the recommendations of the workings surrounding paediatric services for transgender children and adolescence in Ireland, as well as incorrect information on the use of hormone blockers in this instance.
“In my opinion, it is very evident that Professor O’Shea does not understand the concept of an Informed Consent Model and used fear-mongering statistics of which there are no record of.”
He went onto state that O’Shea’s claims of the Irish transgender healthcare system being “the best as anywhere in the world” was a nonsense claim, with the “deplorable waiting lists, a non-evidential psychiatric model of care, critically difficult levels of access and no surgery options in the country,” leaving Ireland far behind most developed nations who use the international best practice standards of care. Noah also made note of the bizarre and extremely unprofessional attack on TENI, Ireland’s Trans representative body, for seemingly no reason at all.
Finally, one comment that caused a particular stir online, was O’Shea referring to transgender people as “a challenging group of individuals”.
Yo @RadioRayRTE you really have to do better than this shambles of a so called "interview" or "informative piece". It did nothing but set further obstacles. How about having some one on with actual knowledge of the situation?
— Scobi Wan Kenobi (@XwisebloodX) March 9, 2020
Oh my god. Imagine an cardiologist saying that about heart patients or a paediatrician saying that about kids? Get a new f##king job you incompetent fool.
— Joan Mitchell 🧜♀️🧜♂️she/her (@joannie67) March 9, 2020
The This Is Me Campaign also made comment on the situation expressing their disappointment and echoing Noah’s concerns, saying the show was a missed opportunity to spread factual information about transgender healthcare. They went onto say that O’Shea does not understand the basic concept of an informed consent model, which he slated on the show.
We are very dissapointed that @RTERayDarcyShow chose to invite on a consutant who is widely critised for his practices in the area to share misinformation and comment on the workings of a HSE committee of which he does not sit. A missed opportunity to share factual information.
— ThisIsMe Campaign (@ThisIsMeIreland) March 9, 2020
The Campaign stressed the onus on the national broadcaster to present facts, particularly when they are talking about the topic of healthcare reform, and urged them to speak to service users, patient advocates, representative bodies and people with factual information.
The Ray D’Arcy Show said they would invite TENI in at some point to defend the claims brought against them by O’Shea, but, until then, a large listenership has been given misinformation on the topic.
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