Yesterday (Thurs 31 March), the Trans Youth Forum report was launched to mark the International Transgender Day of Visibility. This report documents the findings from the first Trans Youth Forum that was held July 15th 2015, and included 55 participants between the ages of 14-25. The Forum was initiated as a Trinity College Dublin Equality Fund programme, and was a joint partnership between Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI), BeLonG To Youth Services and the Irish Transgender Student Alliance (ITSA). The event was opened by Senator Jillian van Turnhout, and included a panel discussion with three young trans people.
TENI, BeLonG To and ITSA used the launch of the report to call on the Government to improve healthcare, education and legal recognition for trans young people. The organisations noted that it was crucial that the Gender Recognition Act is revised to allow those under 18 years of age – including non-binary and intersex people – to have their gender legally recognised.
“This report clearly illustrates that trans young people need explicit support and protection in all spheres of their lives. We call on the Government to act swiftly to protect the rights of these young people,” said TENI Chief Executive Broden Giambrone.
“In BeLonG To LGBT youth groups in Dublin and nationally we see firsthand the extreme isolation and vulnerability that trans young people and their families experience. Young people often face numerous barriers around recognition of their true gender such as use of their correct pronouns, access to appropriate bathrooms and wearing suitable school uniforms,” said Lisa McKenny, Coordinator of IndividualiTY, BeLonG To Youth Services’ trans youth support group.
The Trans Youth Forum was the first time that this many trans young people were able to come together to discuss their experiences. “This is a historic report because it represents the views of young trans people about their own lives, rather than the views of those other than young trans people about young trans people,” said Cearbhall Turraoin, one of the report’s authors.
Jay Pope (16), a member of IndividualiTy who took part in the panel discussion, stated the personal importance of taking part in the Trans Youth forum: “This was a really important experience for me. As both a teenager and a trans person, so often my opinions about my own life are ignored, but for once we were expressly listened to. That was amazing.”
TENI, BeLonG To and ITSA urge every TD in the new Dáil to read this report, in conjunction with the recently published LGBTIreland report, and to ensure that trans young people are protected.
“Trans young people are coming out at a much younger age now and they and their families need support and recognition. That is why we are here and why this report is so important,” said McKenny. “The LGBTIreland report published last week showed how transphobic bullying and prejudice leads to high levels of anxiety, depression, self harm and even suicide amongst young trans and intersex people. However we also know that this is solvable. We can change this.”
“The Gender Recognition Act was an incredible step forward for the trans community in Ireland. But we’re not done. TENI will be actively campaigning to ensure that trans young people are protected and their rights must be enshrined,” concluded Giambrone.
For Further Information
The Trans Youth Forum report is available here.
Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) seeks to improve conditions and advance the rights and equality of trans people and their families.www.teni.ie
BeLonG To Youth Services is the national organisation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) young people, aged between 14 and 23. IndividualiTy is Europe’s oldest transgender youth support group, which was founded in 2007 and which has been singled out for international recognition. www.belongto.org
The Irish Trans Student Alliance is the national organisation promoting the rights of trans students in third level education.