MASI – The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland earlier posted to their Facebook page about the death of a trans woman in direct provision.
The post read that it was with “great sadness and shock” they reported her passing, saying: “She was a member of the LGBT+ in her 40’s [and] was found dead in the room on Thursday afternoon. We are not in a position to release her name nor her nationality at this stage for obvious reasons.”
The post continued: “The residents we spoke to are in shock about this loss of their friend. The whole LGBT+ family in direct provision is saddened with this untimely loss.” The cause of death has not yet been established. Garda are now investigating.
The post also complained that she had been housed at a men-only hostel, and urged the RIA (Reception and Integration Agency) to consider this issue in the future when they are housing members of the trans community.
The news of her death follows a call from Sinn Féin Senator Márie Devine for greater protection for LGBT+ asylum seekers in direct provision. Addressing the Seanad, Senator Devine told of how LGBT+ asylum seekers are often forced back into the closet for fear of bullying and ostracisation from some members of the same communities they fled in the first place.
The Senator continued: “LGBT+ people [in Direct Provision] are terrified of coming out, they’re terrified of being who they are… if they do announce that they are LGBT+, the reaction is fairly vicious, there’s the bullying, the persecution, the sending to Coventry and probably a lot more than that. There’s fear of physical attacks and that has raised its ugly head at times.”
We are deeply saddened to learn of the reported death of a trans woman living in Direct Provision in Galway. We offer our heartfelt condolences to her family and friends at this difficult time. We have been in contact with Gardai and relevant authorities to offer our assistance.
— TENI (@TENI_Tweets) August 3, 2018
GCN recently launched the first in a series of interviews with LGBT+ asylum seekers. Evgeny Shtorn, a gay man forced to flee Russia for his own safety, spoke of being LGBT+ in direct provision: “If you are closeted in a hermetic place with homophobes who express it openly in your own language, then it is a system of oppression. I believe we need a separate safe Direct Provision centre for vulnerable people such as LGBTs and victims of domestic violence.”
The news coming through of the passing of a trans woman in a Direct Provision centre in Galway last night is deeply upsetting and disturbing. Direct Provision is a source of shame for this country and it needs to be ended NOW.
Solidarity with all those affected by this news.
— Queer Action Ireland (@QueerActionIrl) August 3, 2018
With many seeking greater protections for LGBT+ people in direct provision, others have called for its abolition. Queer Action Ireland tweeted: “Direct Provision is a source of shame for this country and it needs to be ended now.”
© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.