There is no question that being a part of the LGBTQ+ community in Ireland can come with significant difficulties.
With the discrimination of LGBTQ+ people still being prominent in Ireland , the problem stems from the lack of knowledge in Irish culture towards issues that affect LGBTQ+ rights.
With Ireland’s backward outlook on life, being in any way different can cause major struggles for people.
Transition from one gender to another is one thing that Irish society has always had difficulty understanding. However, with an open mind and and honest conversations about such issues, acceptance towards trans people in Ireland will grow.
“What does Transgender mean?” is a question that many do not know the answer to. Acceptance of trans people still has a long way to go in Ireland, simply because people are not educating themselves.
But why is it that Irish people choose not to educate themselves on the trans community?
Trans identities can be incredibly complex, which often leads to confusion and assumptions from outsiders. This is where most of the problems lie in terms of trans acceptance within Ireland.
Many in Ireland believe that one must undergo transitional surgery in order to be a transgender person. However, surgery is not the end goal for all trans people as some members of the community do not feel the need to transition surgically in order to validate their identities.
There is no universal trans experience. By educating ourselves, we can finally learn about the trans community and listen to what they want us to know.
With the number of trans people ‘coming out’ and seeking assistance from gender identity services rising, it seems like there is no better time to learn about the trans community than the present.
Research has found an increase in the number of adults and children accessing gender identity services. In 2007, only 10 people accessed gender identity services; by 2017, the number totalled 210.
However, even though this seems like improvement, we still have so far to go. Education of trans people is an important first step, followed by enabling public spaces to be areas they feel comfortable in.
Some trans people when first transitioning can be stared at or verbally abused in public. Street harassment is a haunting real-life occurrence for many in the trans community.
In recent years we have seen changes made in terms of the legal recognition of trans people, chiefly with the introduction of the Gender Recognition Act in 2015.
However, whilst it is great that the trans community is becoming more visible in the public eye, it has come with some backlash from those who do not understand and refuse to educate themselves.
In a ‘Stop Transphobia and Discrimination’ (STAD) report, it was outlined that 62 hate crimes against trans people were recorded in Ireland between 2014-2016.
Transphobia needs to be abolished in Ireland. Irish people need to put in the work to educate themselves and acknowledge the experiences of the trans community. It is the only way of ensuring that true acceptance is reached.