Guest post by Cat McIlroy, Trans* Education & Advocacy [TEA]
Trans* Education & Advocacy [TEA] has recently been established by a small but dedicated group of 6 volunteers as a grass roots community organising collective committed to supporting, engaging, empowering and advocating for the trans* community in Ireland. Through our diverse voices and identities we seek to address issues from a different perspective using inclusive activities, creative media and innovative training to educate and inform about trans* people and our experiences. Our goal is to advocate for trans* rights and help bring forward positive social change for trans* people. For more information, visit www.transgender.ie
Being gay used to be a mental illness… being trans* still is.
Although the lesbian, gay and bisexual communities have experienced significant progress in the Irish legal and social spheres in recent years, trans* people have been left behind. In 2012, legal gender recognition and relationship and family recognition for trans* people still do not exist. Trans* human rights and equality issues have not been adequately or appropriately addressed by successive Irish governments.
The government’s Gender Recognition Advisory Group (GRAG) report to Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, last June outlined recommendations for a scheme to allow transgender people to apply for legal recognition in the form of gender marker change on their birth certificates. The GRAG recommends that applicants must fulfil the medical criteria of Gender Identity Disorder (GID) diagnosis or present evidence of gender reassignment surgery. GID is classified as a mental illness, and the diagnostic criteria is prohibitively restrictive, specifically exempting intersex people as well as many trans* experiences.
On Saturday 20 October 2012, TEA will mark International Day of Action for Trans* Depathologisation with the Rally for Recognition in Dublin. The main goal is to provide a space for trans* people to be visible, voice their concerns about Irish legislative proposals, and actively engage in action that will energise and empower them to speak out about their right to be recognised without pathologisation or further delay by the Irish State.
International Day of Action for Trans* Depathologisation
The Rally for Recognition: Identity, NOT Disorder in Dublin is part of a global campaign. Every October since 2007, the Stop Trans Pathologization [STP-2012] Campaign has called an International Day of Action for Trans* Depathologisation, with demonstrations held in cities world-wide. Last October, activist groups in 70 cities throughout Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America and Oceania held protests, rallies and other actions. For the first time this year, Ireland will hold a public event.
The STP-2012 Campaign demands:
- Removal of ‘Gender Dysphoria’/’Gender Identity Disorder (GID)’ categories from the international diagnostic manuals.
- The abolition of binary normalisation treatments on intersex people.
- Free access to hormonal treatments and surgery (without psychiatric monitoring).
- Public coverage of trans*-specific health care.
- The fight against transphobia: educational training, social inclusion and employment for trans* people, as well as the visibility and reporting of all types of social or institutional transphobia.
The campaign aims to raise awareness that trans* identities are still considered mental disorders and demands the depathologisation of trans* identities. For more information, visit: http://www.stp2012.info/old/en
Rally for Recognition: Identity, NOT Disorder
We hope that the Rally for Recognition: Identity, NOT Disorder will harness the positive community engagement and momentum garnered from the recent 4th European Transgender Council held in Dublin, co-hosted by Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) and Transgender Europe (TGEU). The Rally will enable people to come together to specifically express their concerns with the GID diagnosis or surgery requirement in the government’s current proposals for Gender Recognition legislation.
As the ILGA-Europe Conference is taking place in Dublin (18-21 October), we hope that delegates, LGBTI activists, trans* people, allies and friends from across Ireland and Europe will join us outside the gates of the Irish Parliament to demand the introduction of inclusive and respectful Gender Recognition legislation that will not enshrine the pathologisation of trans* identities in Irish law. TEA has invited a number of people to speak at the Rally including representatives from BeLonG To, Gay Doctors Ireland (GDI), ILGA-Europe, LGBT Noise, TENI, Transgender Europe (TGEU), and Union of Students in Ireland (USI).
TEA will host a placard-making session on Wednesday 17 October in Exchange Dublin from 6.30-9pm for individuals who may wish to make signs for the Rally and all trans* people and allies are welcome to attend.
Rally for Recognition: Saturday 20 October 2012, Dáil Éireann, Kildare Street, 2.30pm
Identity, NOT Disorder… Be there to help and support your trans* friends to get that changed.
 The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association is due to be revised in 2013 and the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) of the World Health Organisation in due for revision in 2015.