It’s Time To Stand In Solidarity For Trans Rights


The fight for gender recognition is inextricably linked to the struggle for marriage equality, so why the paltry turnout at Saturday’s Rally for Recognition, asks Lisa Connell?


The Rally for Recognition, organised by LGBT NOISE on Saturday, Valentines Day, was timely, given the fact that the Government is currently debating Gender Recognition Legislation. There are significant flaws in the proposed legislation, such as forced divorce, medical assessments and prohibitive barriers for young trans people, not to mention the exclusion of intersex and non-binary people. 2015 is a big year for LGBT rights in Ireland, with both Gender Recognition and the much discussed Same-sex Marriage Referendum, so why the paltry turnout at the rally?

It was a very powerful event, with speeches from a diverse array of people tackling each of the most problematic areas of the legislation. Speakers included Claire Farrell of Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI), who heartbreakingly asked the government for recognition. “I’m probably in the departure lounge of life,” she said. “Please give me the opportunity to leave this world as the person that I am.”

Victoria Mullen also of TENI spoke about the absurdity of forced divorce in the legislation, while Michael Farrell of FLAC asserted that the state owes trans* people an apology at this stage. Cearbhaill Turraoin of NOISE addressed the problems for intersex and non-binary people in the bill, and Daniel Zagórski from BeLonG To who spoke about the prohibitive barriers for young trans* people.

All of this is very crucial for the LGBT community, and yet there were only 200 people in attendance. Where were the thousands of people who marched for marriage? Where is the solidarity in our community when the marriages of trans* people are being threatened?

The fight for gender recognition is inextricably linked to the struggle for marriage equality, given that one of the most ridiculous elements of the proposed Gender Recognition Bill is the necessity for trans* people to divorce their partners in order to have their gender recognised. This is very clearly included in order to avoid a de-facto same-sex marriage, and telling people they have to get a divorce in order to avail of gender recognition is an obscenity.

One of the speakers accused the government of apathy towards the bill and I’m afraid to say the same claim can be made of the wider LGB community.

Now is the time to stand together and be strong as a community. If some of us aren’t equal, then none of us are. Just as the LGB community is asking for the support of the wider straight community, it is imperative that our community unwaveringly supports its trans* brothers and sisters at this crucial time.

Contact your TDs and Senators and seek amendments to the Bill. It’s as simple as sending an email raising your concerns with the problem areas. For help with this, visit LGBT Noise on Facebook to find contact information and an email template. And come to the next rally for trans* rights!


The use of an asterix with the word trans* is to denote the various identities under the trans umbrella.

© 2015 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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