Una Mullally: It’s not just Graham Linehan who needs to engage in some soul-searching
RTÉ needlessly imported a mean-spirited trans debate from the UK
Supporters and members of the transgender community outside the RTÉ studios last week protesting over the broadcast of a “Prime Time” interview with Graham Linehan. Photograph: Tom Honan
One of the great mysteries of Twitter “discourse” (read: arguing) is why the television writer Graham Linehan tweets obsessively about trans issues. If you’ve missed this, lucky you. For some reason, Linehan has made this his issue, and has fallen down a rabbit hole with all the predictable tropes of a moral panic.
It’s been a long, hard slog avoiding and ignoring Linehan’s head-shaking points of view on this topic, but the coalescence of a debate in the UK as part of their gender recognition Act reform has given it legs. In Ireland, we have a gender recognition Act. Any person over 18 can self-determine their gender without medical intervention. A review of the Act recommends that a system of gender recognition be introduced for children with parental consent, and that gender recognition be introduced for people who identify as non-binary (meaning genders that fall outside the male/female binary.) Most people have probably not spent a lot of time thinking about this because they or their family members are not trans or gender-questioning. We have not experienced a divisive debate in Ireland on trans issues. This is not an oversight. On gender, we are culturally different to the UK, and have embarked upon a more sophisticated, democratic and empathic conversation about all things LGBT in recent years. Go us.