Ireland to Host European Transgender Forum
Later this year Ireland will have the honour of hosting Europe’s largest forum on transgender rights and activism. This prestigious event, the European Transgender Forum, will take place in Dublin City University over the weekend of September 7th to 9th. The forum has taken place biannually since 2006 and will be attended by policy makers and activists from across the continent.
TGEU Executive Director Julia Ehrt has said of the event:
The Council is very important for the European trans movement. Right now there is real momentum for trans human rights across Europe. The European Transgender Council provides a vital space for trans activists to come together and instigate real change. We are very happy to have a reliable partner in TENI to jointly organize this important event
Transgender Equality Network of Ireland (TENI) are to be congratulated for this honour as it was their bid that won the council over. TENI Director Broden Giambrone was kind enough to take some time with me to react to this wonderful news, saying
TENI participated in past councils, and found them really valuable for learning and networking. Meeting up with hundreds of activists from across Europe, you can’t help but open up to the possibilities of what can be achieved. When the call came round for potential hosts, we had to bid for it!
Bringing the TGEU Council to Ireland is a fantastic opportunity for us. We can showcase what’s going on here – both the progress and the challenges. The Council participants are at the forefront of trans human rights. The Council will offer trans allies in Ireland the chance to connect with a larger movement and see – in an international context – what direction trans rights are headed. Dr Lydia Foy first asked for a revised birth certificate in 1993, and Ireland remains one of the last EU countries to legally recognise trans people. With such a long, slow struggle, you can feel like you’re in the trenches, fatigued and isolated. Turning the spotlight to Ireland is going to draw support for our work. It should refresh us.
Obviously, we want to use the Council to highlight the upcoming Gender Recognition Legislation. This is a key moment for Ireland: this Government can pave the way for progressive gender recognition legislation, and ensure that future generations can thrive in a progressive society that celebrates diversity.
As Broden says, Ireland is one of the last EU countries to legally recognise trans people. The current criteria within the legislation recommends that couples be forced to divorce before one of them can legally transition. They are so afraid of any kind of alternative family structure that they want to force people to divorce, and here I thought it was 2012! Baring in mind that in Ireland couples have to live apart for years before being granted a divorce, this would be devastating to many couples who wish to remain together.
Bringing the forum to these shores is bound to highlight the struggle for trans rights in this country and congratulations to Broden and everyone at TENI for this feat.