Why solidarity with our trans siblings is fundamental to our vibrant community

With the emergence of fringe Twitter accounts purporting to represent Irish lesbian, gay and bisexual interests while maligning our trans siblings, and an imported 'debate' in the media, we must stand firm and continue to oppose transphobia. 

Trans Solidarity: Person holding a sign that says Solidarity Smashes borders
Image Source: Pride 2019 for GCN by Hazel Coonagh

Alliances are strong and powerful in LGBTQ+ and Irish society, we understand that we are stronger together and that all of the members of our queer community have more that unite us than that which would seek to divide us.


GCN is the national LGBTQ+ press in Ireland, printing since 1988. This publication has witnessed seismic social change for LGBTQ+ lives, both at home and abroad, from that time to the current day. As a queer Irish media organisation, we stand proudly on the shoulders of LGBTQ+ giants who have blazed a trail for us to continue fighting the good fight and have a long legacy of trans solidarity. Our core aim is to educate and inform our community, to amplify all the amazing work being done within it. It is our honour and privilege to reflect queer life in Ireland.

As you will see in the pages of our current print edition this month and on this very site every day, there is a fabulous and exciting diversity of our community and much brilliant work and activism to report on. Sadly, echoing the larger societal lurch to the right, there is a small but vocal subsection who seek to separate our inclusive, diverse community, employing the oldest tricks in the Patriarchal playbook with a cry that Irish LGBTQ+ people know all too well across two formative referenda; “Won’t somebody please think of the children.”

As Stephen Moloney interrogates in his piece on the rise of the far-right in Ireland, the manipulative use of children in these debates is intentional, and this sad mirroring of ultra-conservative forces encourages a contraction of ideas and an increasingly blinkered view of what it means to be a person in our world right now. Feminism is rooted in an ideology of equality and, in the same way, that there isn’t one homogeneous block of feminism, there also is not one homogenous block of LGBTQ+ expression. The truth is that our trans solidarity with our communities, and the evolving understanding of how intersectional social change can be, means that there is no space or time for exclusionary practices.

Critical Theorist Professor Judith Butler explains that Feminists and the LGBTQ+ community should be banding together to protect hard-fought rights now under attack across the globe, and characterises the current debate between trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs) and transgender and non-binary people as “nonsensical” and “divisive and embarrassing.”

A shameful attempt by certain parties close to home to undermine and attack the life-saving work undertaken by a beloved Irish national LGBTQ+ children’s charity during Stand Up week tells us all we need to know about the motives and intent of these individuals.

Alliances are strong and powerful in LGBTQ+ and Irish society, we understand that we are stronger together and that all of the members of our queer community have more that unite us than that which would seek to divide us. This Trans solidarity was evidenced most recently by the broad range of signees to the letter penned by TENI’s new CEO, Éirénne Carroll. And, might I say, it seems to me that people who occupy these most binary and gender essentialist positions display a breathtaking lack of imagination and creativity in their understanding of the beautiful and complex expression of personhood and humanity.

In January 2019, I penned an opinion piece entitled TERFs are the Worst as a response to the ridiculous inclusion of Graham Linehan on a Prime Time report about trans issues. I said at the time, “I call bullshit on this archaic brand of ‘feminism’. Stop hiding behind the idea that you’re protecting women and girls. It is gender essentialism at its worst, it’s dangerous and damaging and has no place in Irish society in 2019.”

It would seem that not much has changed in the intervening time and sadly, looking at my Twitter feeds of late, I see more and more dangerous dog-whistling nonsense from these concerned citizens. Beware of those who claim to be all about trans people’s rights while simultaneously advocating a separatist movement.

The intervention from mainstream media does little to help in this work as journalists often weigh in on this debate with a distinct lack of context and usually a cursory understanding of the struggle.

GCN as an organisation, individually, and as a team, are proud trans allies, and as the LGBTQ+ paper of record, we will continue to oppose transphobia, bigotry and any attempts to further marginalise our trans siblings. We are stronger together. We are united in our shared experiences and will strive to amplify positive and affirming LGBTQ+ experience and provide much-needed visibility for all the members of our community. 


© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

This article was published in the print edition Issue No. 365 (December 1, 2020). Click here to read it now.

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Depths of Resilience

Issue 365 December 1, 2020

December 1, 2020

This article was originally published in GCN Issue 365 (December 1, 2020).

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