Liveline faces backlash for transphobic discussion on gender neutral toilets

Across social media, the LGBTQ+ community addressed the miseducation and discrimination presented during a Liveline discussion about gender neutral toilets.

A sign saying All Gender Restroom, gender neutral toilets were the recent discussion on Liveline

The LGBTQ+ community and their allies have called out the discriminatory and harmful language used by a guest speaker during a Liveline discussion on plans to install gender neutral toilets in schools.

During a recent episode of Liveline, presenter Joe Duffy hosted a conversation around gender neutral toilets in response to new design guidelines released by the Department of Education. Schools can now freely avail of this option, which will include self-contained cubicles and communal sinks, alongside male and female toilets. 

Arguing against gender neutral bathrooms, caller Laoise Uí Aodha de Brún employed language that was pointed out as being insulting to the trans community, and misgendered trans girls. The other guest called this an “insult” and added, “I think that woman is from the 1940’s or something, what’s going on? Seriously Joe, that’s ridiculous.”

Following on from the Liveline discussion, the LGBTQ+ community and their allies have been addressing the harm caused by platforming discriminatory language. Chief Executive Officer of TENI, Éirénne Carroll wrote on Twitter, “The fact that radio hosts spent hours today vilifying trans kids that they have never met and allowed people to bully and harass them on air for hours is disgusting. I pray there is no blood on your hands for what trans kids going to school could face.”

Speaking out against Duffy for cutting one of the speakers off when they called out Laoise Uí Aodha de Brún, National Community Development Officer at TENI, Lilith Carroll, expressed, “Joe, you seemed ok with your guest calling trans women men but you get angry when she’s called out? Unacceptable.”

On Twitter, writer Róisín Ingle summarised the discussion, “‘Boys are piddling all over the place’, says the woman. ‘Boys leave the toilets filthy?’ Joe asks. ‘Yes’, she says. Clarification: some boys and some girls leave toilets messy. Some girls are tidy and so are some boys. On a few levels, this Liveline was depressing and unfortunate.”

Executive Director of Amnesty Ireland, Colm O’Gorman, further spoke on the issues regarding the guests chosen for this Liveline discussion, “I hear lots of people are opining about young people and school bathrooms. Is anyone asking actual young people what they think?”

In response to “the fiasco that took place on Liveline,” founder of This Is Me trans healthcare campaign and Community Aid Officer in TENI, Noah Halpin, compiled an insightful and informative thread about gender neutral bathrooms. He stated, “GN toilets do not take away from anyone else’s freedom or privacy. They simply increase the inclusivity of gender diverse students. Nothing more. Nothing less. This isn’t a debate. This is fact.”

If you are looking for further advice or were affected by the Liveline discussion, there are a variety of support services available for the trans and non-binary community and many offer instant messaging support:

LGBT Helpline
HIV Ireland
Pieta House 
Mental Health Ireland
Origins Eile

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