The voices of trans people in Ireland are being excluded from vital conversations about their own lives, Trans Equality Together has said.
Activists forming part of the coalition came together on Trans Day of Visibility, March 31, to comment on the heightened state of anxiety and fear that the trans community in Ireland is facing as they witness a national debate about their lives take place that completely overlooks their voices.
As CEO of TENI and Co-Director of Trans Equality Together, Tina Kolos Orban said: “Trans people in Ireland are a tiny minority of the population whose voices have rarely been heard in national discourse. Every week in the media, there are stories about us. Glaringly missing from these stories are trans voices.”
They continued: “We need to hear the lived experience of trans people, rather than hearing people debate our existence and create policies that impact our lives, often with little or no engagement with the trans community.”
Paula Fagan, CEO of LGBT Ireland and Co-Director of Trans Equality Together, also commented: “Most people in Ireland don’t personally know someone who is trans, which means that the public learns about trans topics from the media.
“The trans community has been misrepresented, stereotyped and demonised in the press. This impacts how people think about and act towards this minority population who experience high levels of harassment and violence,” she added.
— TransEqualityTogether (@TransEqTogether) March 31, 2023
The inflammatory anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric often perpetuated by mainstream media and politicians has an impact on how the broader society perceives trans folks and how people act towards them. Indeed, according to Irish activists, the last few years have been among the deadliest and most violent for trans and queer people as a whole. The latest statistics published by An Garda Síochána have shown an almost 30% increase in the number of recorded hate crimes this year, with the LGBTQ+ community being the second most targeted group.
CEO of Belong To, Moninne Griffith, said: “Trans Day of Visibility is about recognising a community that is too often underrepresented and misrepresented. By not getting to participate in decision-making and discussions themselves, trans people are sidelined and dehumanised. We need to remember, that trans people are in our workplaces, schools and comminuites. They are human beings who deserve to be respected and have their voices heard.”
Trans Equality Together is a coalition of Irish LGBTQ+ organisations led by TENI, Belong To and LGBT Ireland. The aim of this group is to create “an Ireland where trans people are equal, safe and valued”, and it does so by promoting positive attitudes towards trans and non-binary folk, advocating for legislative change and countering the false and negative narratives that circulate around trans lives.
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