Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) has passed motions at Council this evening on taking steps towards an accessible House 6 and lobbying against conversion therapy.
Chemistry Convener Thomas O’Neill proposed the motion against conversion therapy at tonight’s council.
Speaking to Trinity News on the motion, O’Neill said that he has become involved with the campaign group the Anti-Conversion Therapy Coalition as a non-party member.
O’Neill said that “the fact that conversion therapy is still legal and practised in Ireland across the island worries me” and stated that the motion is being proposed in order to “ensure that TCDSU keep up their fight for equality among all students within the LGBTQIA community”.
Brian Hastings, who seconded the motion, explained that as LGBT+ Rights Officer on the SU, he was “thankful” when asked by O’Neill if he would like to second the motion.
Speaking on the practice of conversion therapy in Ireland, Hastings stated that it is “absolutely unacceptable”. He continued: “Being LGBT+ is not something that can be or should be cured. Conversion therapy is not a therapy it is abuse, brainwashing and torture.”
The motion mandates the Welfare and Equality Officer and the LGBT Rights Officer raise awareness about conversion therapy, lobby politicians to legislate for a ban, and coordinate with campaign groups.
The union is now mandated to lobby for a feasibility study into making House 6 accessible after another motion that passed at Council this evening.
Officer for Students with Disabilities Niamh Herbert proposed a motion which noted that “Any floor above the ground floor in House Six is not accessible to wheelchair users and those with other disabilities. House 6 is home to the Students’ Union, the Central Societies Committee, Trinity Publications and The University Times offices, as well as several society spaces”.
The motion, which passed successfully, mandates the TCDSU President and Officer for Students with Disabilities to lobby College for a “feasibility study into making all levels of House Six accessible to all students”.
Speaking this evening, Herbert said that it is “hard to take part in student activities when you can’t even get in the building” and that it is a “daunting” situation for students.
Class representative and incoming Officer for Students with Disabilities for 2021/22 Chloe Staunton said that inaccessibility in House 6 is “something that we really need to deal with” and that a solution must be found in the short-term as well as looking at longer-term goals.
The final Council of the year took place this evening over Zoom, which saw students elected to part-time officerships and other positions within the union.
Additional reporting by Shannon Connolly, Kate Glen, Audrey Brown and Connie Roughan.