Students at UCC held a demonstration at the Cork campus yesterday, December 1, to protest the urgent need for improvements in trans healthcare.
The protest came on the back of three days of events hosted by the UCC LGBTQ Society to promote awareness of the specific healthcare needs of the trans community and how current provisions are failing to meet those needs. These included an information evening and a talk by “political experts” including TD Mary Butler, Minister of State for Mental Health & Older People, and Annie Hoey, Labour Spokesperson on Further & Higher Education.
According to a report on Echo Live.ie, approximately 60 students congregated at the University declaring, “we are fighting for the living and mourning for the dead”.
In the report, Ciara Harney, the Vice Chairperson of the LGBTQ Society is quoted as saying, “We want to see a better experience provided within our healthcare system. The biggest problem in Ireland is the waiting lists, which can be up to ten years from your GP referral to even begin the process”.
Critical of the current model of intrusive psychiatric assessment – a practice which contravenes advice from WPATH (World Professional Association for Transgender Health) – Harney said, “They believe that a psychiatric diagnosis is needed because they think that being trans is psychological, often as a symptom of other neurodivergences.
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She continued, “It’s completely biased and transphobic. They see being trans as a mental illness, which was also how they saw being gay up until about 20 years ago. We believe that you should be able to make these decisions about your own body.”
The protest was followed up by a vigil to remember those who have lost their lives to transphobic violence or those who may have taken their own lives, often as a symptom of facing inordinate delays within the healthcare system.
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