“The T can no longer be silent”: Students march in Dublin’s first Trans Pride

Students and activists take to the streets for transgender rights today

Students are marching in Dublin’s first Trans Pride march today as a student bloc led by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).

Trans Pride marchers are taking to the streets to protest for transgender and LGBT+ rights, including free trans healthcare based on the informed consent model, which gives transgender patients the power to make their own decisions about treatment choices.

Marchers are calling for legislation for non-binary people and hate crime legislation including hate crimes based on gender identity, alongside an end to intersex genital mutilation (IGM) and violence against transgender people.

Protesters gathered outside Liberty Hall at 2pm and are marching to Fairview Park, where the first Dublin Pride parade took place in 1983 following the murder of Declan Flynn. Flynn, a gay Irish man, was attacked and killed in Fairview Park in 1982.

Speaking to Trinity News, Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) LGBT+ Rights Officer, Aaron Donnelly, explained that today’s march could be a “catalyst” for a national grassroots movement fighting for transgender rights. “Pride is rooted in political protest but often forgets to recognise trans issues, contributions and achievements,” said Donnelly.

“While Trans Pride may take the form of more of a protest, this is key in raising awareness for key issues affecting our trans siblings,” Donnelly continued. He noted issues such as access to proper physical and mental healthcare for transgender people and legislative changes relating to intersex genital mutilation, hate crimes, or gay conversion therapy.

Donnelly encouraged students to march today, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, in support of the transgender community. “After the success of the Repeal movement, more young people in Ireland than ever want to bring about political change,” said Donnelly.

Today’s Trans Pride march has emphasised the history of Pride, which began as a protest following the Stonewall riots which was led by trans women including Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson. The event rejects corporations, businesses, and “rainbow capitalism”.

Speaking to Trinity News, Union of Students in Ireland (USI) Vice President for Equality and Citizenship, Aisling Cusack, explained that USI were “honoured” to march at the first Trans Pride in Dublin, having attended the first Trans Pride in Ireland last month in Belfast.

“The T can no longer be silent and this Saturday that will be made clear, bringing the fight for Trans rights to the forefront,” said Cusack. “We are coming off the back of a historic mobilisation of students with the Repeal referendum and we saw that momentum carry into the trans healthcare protest in early July.”

“Keeping that energy is critical in the fight for liberation for the trans and non-binary community as we demand improvements to transgender healthcare and abortion legislation that is inclusive,” Cusack continued.

Earlier this month, Trinity students joined activists in protesting for improved transgender healthcare in Ireland. The protest called on Minister for Health, Simon Harris, and the Health Service Executive (HSE) to provide adequate, safe, and efficient access to healthcare for transgender people.

Protesters believe that Ireland’s healthcare system, which can see transgender people waiting up to two years for required treatments, is outdated. At USI’s Congress last April, members mandated the union to lobby for healthcare professionals to be trained in transgender healthcare needs and issues. Additionally, USI is mandated to lobby the Minister for Health to introduce an informed consent model for transgender patients.

Trinity students marched in Dublin’s 35th Pride parade last month to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. The event coincided with the 25th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Ireland. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar held a State reception in Dublin Castle to mark the occasion and the government issued an apology to those impacted by the laws criminalising homosexuality prior to 1993.

Lauren Boland

Lauren Boland was the Editor of the 67th volume of Trinity News. She is an English Literature and Sociology graduate and previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.