Transgender conference opens

 

Ireland remains one of only two countries in Europe that fails to afford any legal recognition or rights to transgender people, a conference in Dublin heard today.

Professor Stephen Whittle from Manchester Metropolitan University said transsexual and transgender people in Ireland faced an inadequate legal framework in which to exist.

He was speaking at the Transgender Human Rights Conference and Educational Seminar at the Law Society of Ireland in Dublin.

The two-day conference, entitled 'Transforming Attitudes', was organised by Transgender Equality Network Ireland (Teni), the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) and Belong To Youth Services.

Prof Whittle, a transgender man and a community activist for over 30 years since his own transition to male in 1975, revealed details of his research into transgender people and the healthcare service in Britain.

Teni chairperson Cat McIlroy said the aim of the conference was to inform and educate a wide variety of civil organisations, student groups, strategic individuals and policy makers about trans issues and experiences in Ireland.

She said: "We hope the conference will mark a watershed moment in the recognition of human rights for trans people in Ireland.

"The subject of transgender is unfortunately still a subject which is more often that not avoided and I hope that the conference will highlight some of the issues facing trans people in Ireland today."

Teni plans to release its first research report into 'transphobia' in Ireland at the conference.

The report, which was funded by the International Lesbian and Gay Association - Europe (ILGA-Europe) Human Rights Violations Documentation Fund, is a review of Irish literature, policy and documentation on the handling of transphobia and transphobic incidents.