Healthcare for trans people in Ireland ‘inadequate’ – European report

Rise in hate speech towards LGBTI people a ‘pan-European problem’, says report

Healthcare for trans Irish people has been described as "inadequate" by an international report into the human rights of LGBTI people across Europe.

Concern about the inability of Irish people under 16 years of age to be legally recognised as trans was also expressed in the annual review of ILGA-Europe.

The umbrella body, which represents 600 organisations from across Europe and Central Asia, is an advocacy group promoting the rights of the LGBTI community.

The review also highlights the need for legislation which would enable LGBTI couples to register as parents when a child is born through surrogacy.

Gay and lesbian asylum seekers face "double isolation and marginalisation" in the direct provision system, it also warns.

In its annual review, the group warns that while progress for LGBTI people in Europe “paints an image of the region as a leading light” for rights and equality, these developments are “a surface impression that does not tell a complete or accurate story”.

The report’s findings paint “a complex picture that diverges from the widespread narrative that all is well for LGBTI people in large parts of Europe”.

Hate speech

Internationally, the sharp rise in anti-LGBTI hate speech by public figures in countries across Europe, including Poland, Finland, Turkey, Greece and Portugal, has "very real consequences" in people's lives, the ILGA-Europe report warns. Online hate-speech and physical attacks on LGBTI people, which is often "premeditated and brutal", is also increasingly a problem, it adds.

This rise in hatred is a "pan-European problem" with a growing presence of "anti-LGBTI, anti-gender and neo-Nazi protestors in public spaces" during Pride parades and film screenings, says the report. It also links anti-LGBTI hate crimes in the UK to populist narratives around Brexit. Increasing numbers of LGBTI people are also fleeing from countries such as Albania, and Bosnia and Herzegovina seeking safety in western Europe, it writes.

In its analysis of Ireland, the report notes that healthcare for trans people is "inadequate" with waiting times now estimated at more than two years.

While the 2019 Pride celebrations saw the houses of the Oireachtas raise a rainbow flag and gardaí join the parade in uniform, the festivities also featured an alternative pride event which criticised the "corporatisation" and "commodification" of the more mainstream event, notes the report.

The review acknowledges the signing of commencement orders for the parts of the Child and Family Relationships Act 2015 which will allow female couples who conceive through a registered fertility clinic to both register as the child’s parents. However, campaigns are still ongoing to introduce legislation which will regulate surrogacy and other donor-assisted reproduction for same-sex couples, it notes.

Last year’s review of the 2015 Gender Recognition Act, and the State’s subsequent commitment to introduce legislation which would allow teenagers between ages 16-17 to legally change their gender, is welcomed by civil society, notes the report. However, concerns remain that trans children under 16 cannot get legal identity of their gender, it adds.

Gay asylum seekers continue to face exclusion from Irish society and placement in accommodation that does not take their LGBTI status into account, with reports of people who are denied asylum being deported back to countries where they are at “severe risk”, writes the report.

Under the heading "year of positive developments for rainbow families", the report commends the UK parliament for voting to extend the right to same-sex marriage and abortion to people across Northern Ireland.

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak is an Irish Times reporter and cohost of the In the News podcast