Transgender Irish youths launch campaign at 10th anniversary of oldest trans youth group in Europe

Yesterday, transgender, and non-binary young people from IndividualiTy launched their TransVisibility Public Awareness Campaign. The campaign was launched at a celebration of the 10-year anniversary of IndividualiTy, the first Transgender Youth group in Ireland and Europe, founded by BeLonG To, the national organisation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) young people.

This young people-led campaign engaged transgender and non-binary young people throughout the entire process of development and production of five videos, that tell the stories of ordinary transgender and non-binary young people to the rest of Ireland. The campaign will increase the public’s understanding of what it means to be transgender, and the barriers faced by young transgender people.

Recent Irish polling shows that although attitudes are changing and public support for transgender people is increasing, there is still much work to be done to eliminate stigma, myths, and misconceptions.

IndividualiTy and BeLonG To hope that this campaign will address many of these.

53% of people agree that trans young people should be able to wear the uniform of their preferred gender in school.

62% of people agree that transgender young people should be able to use their preferred name and pronoun in school.

Only 41% of people agree trans young people should be able to use the rest room/ changing facilities of their preferred gender in school.

The opening of IndividualiTy, a peer support group for transgender young people 10 years ago by BeLonG To was a European milestone. As well as providing trans and non-binary young people with a space to come and be themselves and make friends, the group are supported to run workshops on a wide range of topics from health care, minding your mental health, coming out and gender recognition.

The group has also been active on a wide range of social issues over the years including the Marriage Equality referendum and the Gender Recognition Act, 2015 review. The campaign launched yesterday is part of their work to improve the lives of transgender and non-binary young people in Ireland and throughout the world.

Danielle Lavigne, co-founder of IndividualiTy commented:

‘To see how this group has evolved in the ten years since, it fills me with a kind of joy and relief that I can’t begin to explain. When I first came to BeLonG To, [..] there weren’t any openly trans kids there. When IndividualiTy started, it was usually less than a handful of people each fortnight. Now it’s over 40 trans and non-binary folks. That’s forty people who have each other’s backs, which isn’t even to mention the other BeLonG To members. I couldn’t imagine an army of that size when I was old enough to attend BeLonG To.’

Moninne Griffith, Executive Director of BeLonG To added:

‘We are delighted to be celebrating the 10th anniversary of IndividualiTy, Europe’s longest running youth group for transgender young people. [The] launch of their TransVisibility campaign is significant as young trans people themselves lead the entire process from development. These young people are agents for positive change in Irish society and the wider world.’

The videos explore the topics of

What is Transgender?
Name and Pronouns
Coming Out
Being a ‘Trans Ally’

Griffith continued:

‘By sharing the lived experiences of real people, these short films can improve public awareness, increase visibility of transgender and non-binary young people, and help to reduce transphobia in our schools, communities and homes.’

BeLonG To is the National Organisation for LGBT+ Youth ​

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