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Dublin: 5 °C Sunday 9 December, 2018
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'This Pride will be different' - the first Irish trans-only pride protest will take place today

The trans community, alongside their allies, take to the streets today as part of Trans Pride Dublin.

Transgender pride flag
Transgender pride flag
Image: Shutterstock/Michael Moloney

THIS AFTERNOON TRANSGENDER men and women, with their friends, will follow in the footsteps of the first ever Irish pride protesters – quite literally.

The route from Liberty Hall to Fairview Park, which today’s Trans Pride Dublin parade will take, was chosen to honour the memory of the people who started Pride in Ireland,  organiser of the event Thomas White told TheJournal.ie.

Marching to the place where Declan Flynn was killed in a homophobic attack in 1982, and where a group of about 200 people came together a few months later in protest over the violence and lack of justice, will be something “symbolic and extremely fitting”, he added.

“Pride is a protest that celebrates who we are, and our survival against the system. People are still facing huge discrimination and oppression in this world, it’s not something we are willing to accept any longer,” said White.

Dublin Trans Pride are expecting a large turnout of young trans people, of different organisations and groups that are looking to support trans rights at 2pm today at Liberty Hall.

The event is described as “a protest for trans people, organised by trans people” but “allies to the community are welcome to march in solidarity”.

Dublin saw the annual pride parade take place at the end of last month, but “this Pride will be different”, said White, who expects the demonstration will be peaceful.

Some of the groups supporting the parade are Bi+ Ireland, This Is Me Campaign and Trans Pride Scotland.

The theme of the protest is bodily autonomy and White along with fellow trans and intersex friends decided to organise this protest after attending a similar event that took place in Northern Ireland.

Rainbow capitalism

According to Trans Pride Dublin “there will be no corporations, no businesses, no rainbow capitalism” taking part.

This follows mixed responses to the increased level of corporate involvement in the annual Dublin Pride parade from large businesses like Facebook, Google and Mastercard.

White told TheJournal.ie the group “does not want big businesses trying to exploit our pride or exploit our protest and the suffering of LGBT people to boost their own profits”.

Cameron Keighron, an LGBT rights activist and transgender male, said that pride celebrations “always will be and always have been a protest” and that although it’s a time to come together, “it should never be just a celebration”.

He added that in Ireland today for trans issues “We are very much back where homosexuality was in 1993 when it was decriminalised,” he says of trans issues in Ireland today.

Copy of _MG_0751 Cameron Keighron

Keighron said that from his own experience of being trans, there is a changing attitude but that things are moving quite slowly.

“It’s still very difficult to live a completely open life in Ireland,” said Cameron, who first came out during his time at university in 2012.

Protests like this one are important because “there’s a real need to highlight the issues that are specifically affecting trans people”, he said.

Demands

Trans Pride Dublin has a list of demands being sought which include free trans healthcare, an end to violence against trans people, funding for trans-inclusive mental health services and much more.

White and Keighron both spoke about education in schools around trans issues being key, with Keighron saying that “teachers need to understand what being trans is”.

Keighron said that information also needs to be provided to families so they know what resources are out there for their children if they are experiencing change in their gender identity.

Gender recognition

In 2015, the gender recognition bill was signed into law, and it has since come under review following new recommendations from Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty.

As the act stands, it allows adults to apply through the Department of Social Protection for certificates to be legally recognised by the State under the gender they identify as.

The process is more difficult for 16-17 year olds, and not possible for those under that age and new recommendations suggest that gender recognition for children be considered with parental consent.

The review report has also proposed that a system of gender recognition be introduced for people who are non-binary, a catch-all term for gender identities that fall outside male or female.

The Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) said that it would like to see the recommendations of the report group go through and they are happy to support today’s protest.

Going forward

Keighron said, “We need to move away from this ‘doctor knows best’ model (of care) and focus more on what the trans person themselves identify as.”

TENI said that legislation around trans issues needs to come from a human-rights based approach, with the person put front and centre, recognising their ability to make decisions about themselves and their own care.

The group supports the demands of the protesters, particularly highlighting the importance of an appropriate healthcare system for trans people in Ireland, with local access in rural areas and more manageable waiting lists.

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