I love this new video from TENI (the Transgender Equality Network Ireland). And not just ’cause I know almost all of the awesomers in it (although yes, it’s partially that). I love that everyone on the video’s story is so different. From the person who always knew, to the person who rejected people’s attempts to force him into another gendered box.
And while we’re here? Can I take a moment to fangirl TENI? They’re one of those organisations that, if you don’t look closely enough, you assume runs on a massive budget with shedloads of staff. And then you squint a bit and realise they’re a handful of people who somehow manage to do everything from support to research to campaigning for legislative change and creating unheard-of positive visibility and I have no idea how they pull it off.
At the moment in Ireland, trans people still don’t have the right to a birth cert that accurately reflects their gender. Gender recognition legislation has been glacially inching its way through our government for years- way back in 2007, Ireland was ruled by the European High Court to be in breach of its human rights obligations in refusing to recognise trans people. The case- brought by Dr Lydia Foy- had taken ten years to get to Europe in the first place, and seven years later, Ireland still hasn’t acted on it.
This birth cert issue might seem like a small thing, but it makes a huge difference in people’s lives. Check out TENI’s Broden Giambrone on this one:
We have to produce a birth certificate to obtain a PPS number [Personal Public Service number- basically a Social Security number], to access social welfare, and to marry. At Transgender Equality Network Ireland (Teni), we regularly hear about the negative impact of the State’s lack of recognition for trans people.
People are forcibly “outed” every time they are asked to produce a birth certificate. Young people miss out on their college places because the CAO [Central Applications Office] office has no capacity for dealing with trans people. Trans people have to explain ourselves – to validate our identity – over and over. But legal gender recognition goes beyond the practicalities of daily life; it is about the State recognising that we exist.
Broden goes on to talk about the myriad ways that the proposed legislation doing the glacial inching is woefully inadequate- things like an age limit on accessing recognition, and having to divorce your spouse before you can get a gender marker changed. Have I ever mentioned that in Ireland in order to get divorced you first have to have been separated for four years? That’s not just a law that could be amended for special cases like this, so you could have a UK-style divorce-and-then-civil-partnership. It’s in our Constitution.
Talk about being shoved in a box, eh?