Last night saw activists gather outside RTÉ’s studios in Donnybrook to protest the broadcaster’s decision to include Graham Linehan in a special edition of Prime Time. The programme’s decision to include Linehan in their line-up attracted controversy from many trans activists who consider the writer’s views harmful to the trans community in Ireland. The demonstration was organised by This Is Me – Ireland’s Transgender Healthcare Campaign.
GCN attended the protest and spoke to a number of activists who objected to the inclusion of Linehan on the line-up.
Activist Conor Carmody spoke about how Linehan’s previous rhetoric regarding the trans community should exclude him from the billing:
“It’s fear-mongering letting him on. Not only has he been told off by the police, but he’s been banned from social media. It’s beyond me what’s happening.”
“It just shows RTÉ doesn’t care. It shows that they would rather have views and controversy than even think about people’s lives and feelings. He’s doing actual damage to people and they’re letting him on.”
Noah Halpin, the founder of This Is Me, spoke to GCN about why a demonstration was so necessary:
“The main reason that we are here is the fact that RTÉ has invited someone who is quite dangerous to our community to give opinions on our lives and our identities. Someone who is not educated has no expertise or links to the trans community has been given a platform to spread his own ideologies which are frankly incorrect, offensive, transphobic and very hateful.”
“RTÉ has been giving out misinformation about the Gender Recognition Act Review, and for someone who doesn’t know very much about trans people or the act itself, it’s quite dangerous to give out that misinformation. It’s putting us back into a situation of less acceptance and less understanding.”
Laylah Beatty spoke about the writer’s history of transphobic rhetoric on Twitter:
“I’ve been keeping an eye on his views, and I know he’s been spouting them for a long time. He hasn’t really been getting much attention from it, apart from Twitter. So I was really devastated his views arrived here.”
“The English media has been rampant with transphobia. Every day there’s another article insisting that people like us don’t exist. I wanted to send a message today that we won’t stand for this and there’s no room for that in our country.”
Activist Philippa Ryder commented on how transphobic rhetoric has gained momentum within the TERF movement in the UK:
“This is a controversy imported from the UK, one that is generated and constructed by the British tabloids.”
Lynda Sheridan spoke to GCN about the importance of organisations like TENI in light of the controversy:
“TENI is important because it takes in all people regardless of their gender identity.”
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