Youth Work Ireland have launched a new resource for young people and their educators. Young And Trans In Rural Ireland will be made available to schools across the country. It will be used by those who work with young people in order to make them the best trans allies they can be and make Ireland more trans-inclusive.
The launch highlighted that although Ireland has become more inclusive to the LGBT+ community, young trans people, particularly those in rural Ireland, still face high levels of homophobic bullying, discrimination and isolation. This new booklet will help those who work with young trans people know how best to support them.
Speaking of the problem young trans people face, CEO of Youth Work Ireland, Dr Patrick Burke, said: “There is an added pressure on these young people to be the educators on trans issues, for them to be political and to change society. While those that rise to this challenge are some of the most impressive young people we have worked with, these are still young teenagers who are facing their own challenges and need to be supported.”
Dr Burke continued: “Youth Work Ireland was at the fore in opening new LGBTI+ projects around the country when coming out was an issue in many remote areas. Through this we encountered many trans young people who felt they are not fully included even in a new and more tolerant Ireland. We were delighted to work with our friends in TENI to support and provide a safe space for young trans people to raise awareness of the supports they say are needed to help their community to be accepted, respected and valued.”
The resource includes examples of what young trans people want youth workers and educators to know and do to support them:
- Don’t make assumptions about a person’s gender based on how they present physically.
- Respect non-conformity and individuality.
- Educate yourself on trans issues, know, understand and use correct terms and language.
- Normalise pronouns and have more respect for alternative pronouns, it would be good for youth workers to wear pronoun badges.
- Have gender neutral bathrooms in youth centres where possible.
- Support the young trans person even if you initially think it might be a ‘phase’ – they know themselves better than you do.
Chief Executive of TENI, Stephen O’Hare, said at the launch: “The simple steps to being an ally provided in this resource should prove invaluable, not only for those working directly with younger members of our community, but for anyone wishing to make Ireland a more inclusive place for young trans people to live and work.”
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