Prime Time Airs Transphobic Content Despite Protests - Community Reacts

RTÉ chose to disregard a petition signed by over 5,000 people, calls from community organisations and protests outside their studios.

The hosts of the television show Prime Time pose for a photo on set

RTÉ’s television programme Prime Time chose last night to air an episode discussing trans issues which included transphobic commentary from Graham Linehan, amongst others.

This was despite a petition which garnered over 5,000 signatures, calls from community members and organisations and a protest outside their studios concerned with the national broadcaster giving such a large platform to hate speech.

In the wake of the Prime Time episode, community leaders and organisations have expressed their disappointment at the decision and the framing of the episode as a whole.

Sara R Phillips, the Chair of TENI, who appeared in prerecorded sections of the episode, shared her disappointment with GCN – “Last night’s RTÉ Prime Time programme was a lost opportunity to present a positive view of trans people in Ireland. In fact many of the negative opinions expressed, by mostly UK based commentators, were let go unchecked.

Despite having been framed as a positive documentary on self identification for young people, the piece was an extension of the toxic debate currently being had in the UK. The trans community in Ireland has been supported by the wider community. The 2015 Gender Recognition Act was a positive and respectful debate. Politicians and the media were willing to be educated and understand the trans community’s needs .

Transgender Equality Network Ireland has been at the forefront of this work over the last 14 years. This type of documentary does not serve to advance any of our rights nor serve to improve society’s understanding of needs. Trans kids especially deserve better.”

Many questioned why Linehan had been featured at all considering the only connection he has to the trans community is saying hateful things online – in fact, he was given a warning by the police in the UK for verbally harassing a trans activist.

Linehan also likened trans activism to nazism and encouraged the National Lottery to block funding to Mermaids – a support charity for trans children. Why should he be given a platform for his views at all? What in particular made his voice so important it simply must be broadcast?

BeLonG To, amongst others, questioned why transgender lives were even a reason for debate?

There is also a concern that in introducing these negative views on a national television programme, it may be actually starting a troubling argument that was never being had in this country in the first place.

Others found it striking that in closing, the presenter encouraged those affected by the issues raised to contact their GP. No mention was given of TENI (Transgender Equality Network Ireland), even though they had featured the Chair in the actual programme, or of any other trans support organisation.

If you are affected by any of the issues raised, TENI can be contacted here.

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

Support GCN

GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.

During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.

GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.

0 comments. Please sign in to comment.