Last week saw DCU’s first Trans Week.
This event, run solely by the college’s LGBTA Society, aimed to highlight issues faced by transgender people in Ireland. According to outgoing chairperson of the society, Oisin Cotter, the rights trans people are afforded differ greatly than those granted to other LGB people.
“The only thing you’re really able to do is change your sex on your passport. You can’t change your birth cert, even though it’s the highest form of identification you have. Gender recognition legislation would have to be brought in so that people can change it”, he said.
Among the events held to raise awareness about trans issues were a talk from nineteen-year-old UCD student Sam Blackensee, a trans student who works with LGBT campaign group BeLonGTo. A screening of the film ‘Transamerica’ was held after the society’s AGM, during which the first Trans Officer was elected.
Oisin particularly praised the level of society involvement at Sam’s talk. “It was really informative, and everyone had a question for him which was great.”
On Tuesday the society was addressed by a member of the Transgender Equality Network of Ireland. This talk focused on legal issues faced by trans people in Ireland and the legal route to gender recognition.
Shannon Healy, a transgender first student in DCU, was elected as the society’s Trans Officer. She discovered she was transgender last year, and has not come out as trans to anyone in her family. “It took me until second semester to come to the society; none of my family know I’m trans yet”, she admitted.
Born a male, Shannon would not be able to marry freely if she were to undergo complete gender reassignment treatment.
Oisin regards the week as having been a great success. “We had a lot of events and we had great numbers turning up for all of them.”
Declan Faulkner, incoming chairperson of LGBTA, plans to build on the week for next year’s events.
“We will possibly bring in a clothing swap. We couldn’t have people dressing up as men or women, because drag is a different issue to trans. But if someone isn’t comfortable wearing sweats, maybe they could wear them for a day to see how people look at them differently”, he suggested.
Image Credit: LGBTA Society