Up to 2,000 people took to the streets of Dublin on Saturday afternoon for the Trans Pride march.
along the route, passing conductors honked their horns in support of those heading from the Garden of Remembrance to the main stage near Merrion Square, where they were greeted by cheers from the crowd.
Addressing the pickers, Lilith Ferreyra-Carroll, senior campaigner and national community development manager for the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (Teni), said the trans community had come out to “affirm our truth, our beauty and our strength in defiance of those who would attempt to pathologize, dehumanize and attack”.
“Our voices, our experiences, our needs take precedence over their fear, their hatred and their division,” she said.
“The dehumanization and demonization of our community that is being activated right now emboldens those who physically attack us, bully us and attempt to invalidate us. Trans women are women, trans men are men, and non-binary people are non-binary.
She said Ireland has a “barbaric model of adult trans health care” which forces the trans community to submit to “excruciating hours-long psychiatric assessments that pathologize us and force us to disclose our porn habits, our thoughts during oral sex and forcing ourselves out to work and family to access hormones and surgery.”
Also speaking at the march, protest organizer Ollie Belle asked people to stay away from conversations in the national media which she says are constructed to “scare”.
“I would tell people that the debates around bathrooms and child transition have stalled the conversation. These questions have been done to death.
“We should start talking about trans healthcare in Ireland and the very high level of mental health issues in the trans community which have increased due to the transphobic debate.
“I would ask people first to listen to trans people and hear their personal stories rather than those who have no personal experience with the issue.”
Last month, in an interview with heat press, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said it was “extraordinarily difficult” to be a transgender person in Ireland. He said “in terms of acceptance” attitudes towards trans people are no different from those towards gay men two decades ago.