Trans Equality Together responds to Liveline

Need to recognise vulnerability of trans community

Sir, – Trans Equality Together was officially launched this week with an aim to create an Ireland where trans and non-binary people are equal, safe and valued. Trans people in Ireland are a tiny minority of the population yet they have been marginalised, denied access to healthcare, and their voices are rarely heard in national discourse.

On 9th, 10th and 13th June, RTÉ Radio 1′s Liveline show discussed matters of gender identity. Trans Equality Together, and our members, share a common concern about these episodes, and we support Dublin Pride’s decision to terminate its media partnership with RTÉ and its consultation with Trans Equality Together about this decision.

These episodes of Liveline provided airtime to what we believe was a co-ordinated group of organisations who actively deny the basic humanity and rights of trans and non-binary people. The repeated use of the same speaking points and language is evidence of such co-ordination in our assessment. RTÉ's use of the logo of one such anti-trans organisation in its promotion of the programme was, in our view, a serious error.

By positioning whether trans people have a right to exist, are entitled to basic human dignity, have a right to live free of discrimination and harassment as matters of “debate”, Liveline failed to recognise the vulnerability of the trans community, their needs and contributed instead by stigmatising, misrepresenting and further harming trans people.


The problem of violence and discrimination against trans people – which was well acknowledged by presenter Joe Duffy during the programme – is important context for any discussion on the rights of trans people. However, we believe on this occasion these dangers and risks were not adequately taken into account in the framing of the discussions.

In defending freedom of expression, we must also consider that giving airtime to groups that would deny the basic rights of a minority community has the effect of intimidating and silencing those minorities while also contributing to their stigmatisation and isolation in society.

We note and commend RTÉ on its Diversity and Inclusion Strategy which states RTÉ has a “responsibility to represent and reflect the experiences and perspectives of all the people of Ireland”, also stating that “both on and off air, we mirror the nation’s diversity (by gender, Irish/non-Irish ethnicity, different ability and sexual orientation)”.

We are calling on RTÉ to make a renewed commitment to implement its Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, deliver on its commitment to provide diversity and inclusion training to all RTÉ employees; and ensure that, in future, all programmes will strike the correct balance between editorial freedom and the right to free speech while protecting and giving a voice to vulnerable minorities like the trans and non-binary community in Ireland.

– Yours, etc,

Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI),

Belong To,

LGBT Ireland,

Irish Council of Civil Liberties,

National Women’s Council of Ireland,

Dublin Pride,

Intersex Ireland,


Bi+ Ireland,


The Open Doors Initiative,

National LGBT Federation (NXF),

FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres),

Trans Greystones,

Irish Network Against Racism,

Amnesty International Ireland.