Sean O’ Carroll is a 3rd Year computer science student, and this year’s’ SU LGBTQ Rights Officer. He explained to me that, in essence, his role entails being in charge of “representing the LGBTQ communities’ interests in Students’ Union decisions, and making sure the LGBTQ community are made visible on campus through running various campaigns such as Rainbow Week, Pink Day, and so on.”
Q: As SU LGBTQ Rights Officer, what are some of the most common queries you deal with in your role?
Sean: Well, I often get emails in relation to casework – whether that’s issues with academic registry, or welfare issues. A frequent example is name changes – situations arise where lecturers and/or teaching assistants don’t respect gender pronouns or preferred names. At that point, I act as a liaison and attempt to rectify things.
Q: You had a recent success in SU Council with a motion passed in favour of more gender-neutral bathrooms being made available around campus and also at SU events. What progress would you like to see beyond this in the future?
Sean: One thing I would certainly like to see [is] the provision of sanitary facilities in both men’s and women’s toilets, and ideally, having free sanitary products available for all on campus.
Q: What are some practical tips for students who may be interested in getting involved in the area of LGBTQ Rights in College?
Sean: The various campaigns we run are a great place to start. We have Rainbow Week, followed by our “I am, I exist” and the campaign in favour of PREP HIV Medication coming up later this year. Another simple thing that students can do if they can’t get time to help with the campaigns is just to read around on the subject, and raise their own awareness level.
Q: What specifically will be happening for Rainbow Week?
Sean: This year’s theme is “Queer and…”. It’s about celebrating the diversity in Trinity’s queer community. There will be a whole range of events throughout the week including Q&A panels, mocktail receptions, LipSync – and we’re collaborating with societies like VisArts to make badges, Cumman Gaelach for the famous “Gaeyly”, the Hist, Q Soc, and so on.
Q: What progress would you like to see nationally in relation to achieving more for the LGBTQ Community?
Sean: Importantly, the gender recognition act, while an important document, needs to be improved – for example, trans persons under 18 aren’t currently recognised within it, which needs to be rectified. HIV also is rising amongst Irish gay men, and this is due to government inaction – they have stalled on the introduction of the HIV medication PREP, which is proven to tackle HIV effectively and could dramatically improve things here.
Q: How did you come to be in the role that you’re in, for all those interested in SU positions?
Sean: Well in first year, I actually wasn’t directly involved in the SU, although I was very interested in it… it wasn’t until second year that I applied and successfully got onto the welfare committee. I had a great experience with Body and Soul Week and so on, and had always been interested in LGBTQ issues, so I went for it and here I am now!
Q: If someone had an LGBTQ Rights related issue, how could they contact you?
Sean: The best is way is through my email at [email protected], or else just send a facebook message!