TCDSU and USI protest for transgender healthcare

The protest advocated for improved healthcare services for Ireland’s transgender population.

Photo Credit: Mark Anderson

A Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) cohort marched today in support of transgender healthcare outside Leinster House, alongside the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) and transgender rights activists.

The protest advocated for improved healthcare services for Ireland’s transgender population, which head organiser Noah Halpin called “woefully unacceptable” on the facebook event page for the protest.

A group of Trinity students, lead by TCDSU LGBT Rights Officer Noah O’Brien, gathered outside House 6 at 1.40pm. The protest began at Merrion Square West at 2pm and from there, protesters marched to Leinster House.

“We want to move away from the medical/diagnostic model and adopt the model of informed consent, used by most developed nations. This is in terms of Hormone Replacement Therapy and gender reassignment surgeries,” Halpin told Trinity News.

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and gender reassignment surgeries are necessary services for many transgender people. The protests believe that an outdated system exists in Ireland which often leaves transgender people on waiting lists of up to two years to receive the required treatment.The wait time has been attributed to cancelled clinics by consultants and an enforcement of the medical and diagnostic model enforced by the Health Service Executive (HSE).

“We’re basically looking for improved trans healthcare, improved waiting lists, informed consent, no psychiatric diagnosis- we are not a diagnosis.” Halpin said.

All doctors, including general practitioners, are qualified to prescribe HRT in Ireland. However, only two consultants employed by the HSE will prescribe the treatment.

O’Brien, explained to Trinity News that “the demonstration is happening in order to protest the current state of healthcare for trans people in Ireland.”

“Trans people are being left on waiting lists of up to two years in order to access lifesaving treatment”, O’Brien continued. “The reason I say ‘lifesaving’ is because not being able to access things like hormones and surgery can have an extremely detrimental impact on the mental health of some trans people.

“It has been brilliant to see so much support from all the allies in the Trinity community,” O’Brien noted.

USI Vice President for Equality and Citizenship, Síona Cahill, marched under the USI banner at the protest and told Trinity News: “There’s so little access to information, everything is shrouded in mystery, and young trans people are, in increasing numbers, having to resort to illegal hormone treatments, having to go abroad, and having little to no aftercare if needed.” Cahill addressed the gathering on behalf of the USI.

Speaking to Trinity News, last year’s TCDSU LGBT Rights Officer Sean O’Carroll said: “Trans rights have been ignored for years. It’s incredibly difficult for people to have access to adequate healthcare. It’s being going on too long, so it’s time to march for it now.”

Lauren Boland

Lauren Boland is the current News Editor of Trinity News. She is a Junior Sophister English Literature and Sociology student, and a former Assistant News Editor.