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06 Jul 2022

Groups across Kildare encouraged to join new venture Trans Equality Together

Groups across Kildare encouraged to join new venture Trans Equality Together

File Photo. Trans Equality Together was launched at a special event at the Mansion House in Dublin, hosted by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Alison Gilliland.

Groups in County Kildare have been encouraged to join the recently launched Trans Equality Together (TET).

TET was launched at a special event at the Mansion House in Dublin, hosted by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Alison Gilliland.

Led by TENI (the Transgender Equality Network Ireland), Belong-To and LGBT Ireland, TET says its objective is to create an Ireland where trans people are 'equal, safe and valued'.

The new initiative also seeks to: "promote positive attitudes towards trans and non-binary people in Kildare and around the country, advocate for policy and legislative changes that will improve the lives of trans people and make Kildare and the rest of Ireland a more equal society for all, and counter the negative and false messages about trans people that have been circulating in recent years."

Speaking at the launch, Sara Phillips, Chair of TENI and Co-Director of Trans Equality Together, said: "The aim of TET is to bring together the diverse array of organisations that work with the trans community directly and those that are our allies – to demonstrate to politicians, policymakers and the wider public the breadth of support that exists for trans rights and the challenges that we, as a community, are facing right now."

Moninne Griffith, CEO of Belong-To and Co-Director of Trans Equality Together, added: "Trans people in Ireland are a tiny minority of the population whose voices have rarely been heard in national discourse: they have been marginalised, denied access to healthcare, and demonised in the press. 

"TET will work to create an Ireland where trans people are equal, safe and valued.

"We want to promote positive attitudes towards trans people, counter the negative and false messages that have been circulating in recent years, and work to achieve policy and legal changes – particularly in relation to gender recognition and healthcare – that will really improve the lives of trans people.

She added that the group 'does not want to see the sort of divisive rhetoric and villainisation of trans people taking hold in Ireland that we have witnessed in other countries.'

CHANGES

TET outlined its legislative and policy priorities at the launch.

It is seeking the explicit inclusion of gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics as protected grounds in the Equality Acts, which are currently being reviewed by government.

The group also wants to see the gender recognition process opened up to include under-18s, and streamlined to remove the current requirements for 16 and 17-year-olds to attend court and present certificates from medical professionals in order to have their gender legally recognised.

In relation to healthcare, the coalition said the waiting list for adults seeking care through the National Gender Service is currently in the region of five years, and must be reduced as a priority.

There has been no active health service for trans children and adolescents in Ireland since December 2020 and this must be re-instated with immediate effect, according to TET.

Paula Fagan, Co-Director of TET, explained: "In Ireland, we have demonstrated strong leadership on trans rights in the past.

"In 2015, we enacted the Gender Recognition Act, ensuring people over 18 can have their true gender recognised in law, based on self-declaration; this law was supported – without controversy – by a strong majority of Oireachtas members, and was greeted with widespread approval when it was introduced."

She continued: "Now, we need to acknowledge and address the gaps that exist in relation to gender recognition for under-18s; and gender-affirming healthcare for people of all ages.

"Over the coming months and years, TET will be working closely with Oireachtas members and policymakers to highlight these gaps and ensure properly resourced services and supports are in place for Ireland’s trans community."

MEMBERS

Alongside the three lead organisations – TENI, Belong To and LGBT Ireland – members of the new venture include: AMACH! LGBT Galway, Amnesty International Ireland, BI+ Ireland, Bród West Cork, FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres), GCN, Intersex Ireland, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, the Irish Network Against Racism, Irish Second–Level Students' Union (ISSU), National LGBT Federation (NXF), the National Women’s Council, the Open Doors Initiative, Outhouse, ShoutOut, and Trans Limerick Community, with additional groups in the process of joining.

Further information about TET, including about how groups in Kildare can get involved, is available at www.transequalitytogether.com.

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