Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman has expressed his support for including transgender issues in school curriculums.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, he said that students should “absolutely” be taught more about what it means to be transgender, adding that programmes should be refined to ensure there is an increased understanding of diversity.
He also commented that this should not only be for second-level students, but that even those at primary level should “as well have an understanding of the diversity of our society”.
Currently, the Green Party Minister’s department is working in collaboration with the Department of Social Protection on policies relating to children under the age of 16 self-declaring their gender. This comes at the same time that the Department of Justice is developing hate crime legislation.
“The rights of trans people in our country can’t be up for debate,” O’Gorman said.
“The discourse, particularly on social media, has become incredibly vicious towards members of the trans community in recent years. No one wants to shut down free speech, but I think it is really important that dialogue is respectful and based on facts, I suppose, rather than based on just mere prejudice.”
The Minister also weighed in on the state of trans healthcare in the country, calling for the establishment of a “wider gender service” in Ireland.
“The issues aren’t just the psychiatric supports, there’s also the endocrine supports,” he said. “The programme for Government has committed to the establishment of that.”
He continued: “Over the last number of months, I’ve met both with groups representing the trans community here, but I’ve also met with the HSE in terms of the steps they’re taking, particularly in terms of securing consultants, psychologists and consultant endocrinologists, so we can kind of lead such a service for underage teens in Ireland.”
O’Gorman, himself an openly gay man, admitted that Ireland has “lagged behind” in terms of its transgender healthcare provision, adding that it should be a “focus” for Government.
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