LGBTQ+ organisations urge Gardaí to re-issue inclusive inclusive trans policy "as a matter of priority"

The statement comes after the withdrawal of the Gender Identity in the Workplace policy.

A blue and yellow Gardaí sign.
Image: via Shutterstock

After Gardaí confirmed the withdrawal of its inclusive trans policy earlier this week, LGBTQ+ organisations have called for its re-issuance as soon as possible.

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.

However, on April 5, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris announced the withdrawal of the policy, after Gardaí claimed to need additional training on matters of gender identity and expression. 

In response to this decision, The LGBT+ Garda Sectoral Steering Group released a statement on Thursday, April 6, reading, “The LGBT+ Garda Sectoral Steering Group, representing most national LGBT+ NGOs, strongly welcomed An Garda Siochana’s Gender Identity directive, which is all about ensuring that Trans personnel are accorded dignity, equality, and respect in the workplace.

“Its subsequent withdrawal is a matter of significant concern for the wider LGBT+ community at a time when trust and confidence building has never been more important against the alarming backdrop of rising anti-LGBT+ hate crime and significant under-reporting.”

It continues by acknowledging that the decision to remove the inclusive trans policy is not permanent. “We note that the Garda Commissioner has made clear that the directive has only been temporarily withdrawn pending further ‘training’ and ‘education’ for members of his organisation.

“It is now imperative that these steps are taken without delay and the policy is re-issued as a matter of priority, both to uphold the rights of Trans personnel and to avoid community relationships being adversely impacted. We will also be writing directly to Garda senior management to emphasise those points.”

The LGBT+ Garda Sectoral Steering Group also expressed its willingness to support LGBTQ+ equality and diversity training for authorities: “If a positive is to be taken from these events it should be that comprehensive LGBT+ equality & diversity training is delivered at regular intervals across the Garda organisation, which our sector has always been happy to assist with.”

The statement ends, “In conclusion, a workplace Gender Identity policy, especially for a large public body like An Garda Siochana, is not simply about being ‘nice’ to Trans people but is based on what is clear legal as well as ethical obligations rooted in numerous pieces of legislation, including the Employment Equality Act, Gender Recognition Act and the ‘Public Duty’”.

The LGBT+ Garda Sectoral Steering Group comprises of the following organisations: LGBT Ireland, National LGBT Federation (NXF), Gay Project, LINC (Lesbian in Cork), Outhouse LGBT+ Resource Centre, Dundalk Outcomers and Dublin LGBTQ Pride.

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