Last week saw the UCD Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans* (LGBT) Society host Trans* Week. The goal of the week was to raise awareness about the issues facing trans* people in Irish society.
The week was chosen to coincide with the international Trans* Day of Remembrance, which honoured the 238 trans* people all over the world who were murdered over the last 12 months because of their gender identity. A remembrance service was held between the Newman and Tierney Buildings on Wednesday, November 20th.
There were also events were held in order to educate cisgendered, i.e. those whose gender identities align with the gender they were assigned at birth, students about trans* issues, such as the lack of safe bathroom facilities for trans* students in UCD.
Dr Conor Buggy, Lecturer in Occupational and Environmental Studies, gave a presentation on the possibility of introducing gender-neutral bathrooms in UCD. Buggy explained that there is already a precedent for this in the UK in universities like those of Sheffield and Edinburgh. He expressed hope that UCD would become the first Irish university to adopt an official policy of installing gender-neutral bathrooms.
There were also a series of classes held, such as an introduction to trans* language, as well as a class on trans* activism. A class titled “How to be a Trans* Ally” was also held.
UCD LGBT Auditor, Jack Carolan, said “Following on from its great success last year, UCD Trans* Week was run again this year in conjunction with Transgender Day of Remembrance.
“It’s one of the most important campaigns our society runs because although Ireland may be considered very progressive in its attitude towards gay rights and marriage equality, it is currently down near the bottom of the pack for its gender recognition laws and rights for trans* people in comparison with our EU counterparts. This week is run to show that yes, trans* people do exist and that they are just like you or me.”
Carolan credited UCD LGBT Welfare Officer and UCDSU LGBT Coordinator, Sam Blanckensee, with organising the week, saying he “has done an outstanding job in organising a Trans* Week that societies and organisations would envy, with events for trans* people and trans* allies (people who aren’t trans* who support trans* rights) alike.”
According to Carolan, the Music Society, as well as UCDSU, played a significant role in the success of the Remembrance Vigil. Other events included a film screening of the classic film Boys Don’t Cry, as well as an excerpt from the award-winning play ‘The Big Deal’, both of which feature a trans* character as the protagonist.