Touching the Surface: Trans Voices in Ireland Launch
Last night, the Dublin City Council offices on Wood Quay played host to the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) launch of their new book, Touching the Surface: Trans Voices in Ireland. This landmark publication celebrates trans* experiences from across Ireland and was launched by the Deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr. Maria Parodi.
The launch formed part of the Dublin City Council Social Inclusion Week and coincided with IDAHOT – the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. The exhibition will run 11th-18th May in the Wood Quay Civic Offices.
The proceedings were kicked off by the Director of TENI, Broden Giambrone, who spoke of spending hours in his university library poring over books trying to find himself represented somewhere and being unable to find anything. This theme was continued in the speech from Vanessa Lacey, TENI’s Development Worker, who shared Broden’s experience of being unable to find any resources or trans* representation while trying to research more about trans* issues. This sums up perfectly why Touching the Surface: Trans Voices in Ireland is such a vitally important publication.
The book has submissions from people who identify across the entire gender spectrum, and will be an invaluable resource for trans* people all over Ireland. Touching the Surface contains poetry, photographs, and narratives about the trans* experience, as well as examples of art work and drawings.
Some of the poetry from the book was read out at the launch by the authors, and the audience were blown away by some of the submissions.On page 64 of the book there is a drawing of a young trans man and the text on it says
Boy no matter what
So what if I’m 15?
So what if I don’t hate my body?
So what if I’m happy?
No one can set standards of what I need to be to be trans*
I love myself
I’m a boy no matter what you say
The artist behind the picture, 15 year old James (who I will hopefully be having a chat to about his experiences over the next few days and will post back here) absolutely wowed the audience with what he had to say. Best of all, his mother was sitting in the front row to support him.
As Louise Hannon said in her speech, 10 years ago we would have been lucky to have half a dozen people present at the launch, and last night there were easily over a hundred people there, which really shows how far Ireland has come in the past decade.
But there is still so much to do, and as I have written about before, the LGBQ community needs to continue supporting the trans* members of our community and fight for adequate gender recognition legislation, access to healthcare etc.
To sum up the running theme of the evening, we are all human and deserve to be treated as such.
‘Touching the Surface: Trans Voices in Ireland’ will be launched in Cork City on 19th May by the Deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr. Tony Fitzgerald. The event will again include readings, performances, and it is your chance to get a copy of the book.
All photos by Joan O’Connell