28 November 2019
By Elaine Murphy
Cork City Council will celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility, or TDOV, for the first time in 2020. TDOV is an annual event that takes place worldwide on March 31st that’s ‘dedicated to celebrating transgender people, raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people around the world, and celebrating the contributions transgender people make to society as a whole.
Cork City Council’s involvement in 2020’s TDOV comes as a result of a motion submitted by Green Party councillor Lorna Bogue, a motion which read: “this council recognises the contribution our transgender community makes to the city of Cork. However, Cork City Council notes that many within the Transgender Community still suffer discrimination and that visibility of the community is an important part of raising awareness and overcoming discrimination.” The motion goes on to call for Cork City Hall to be illuminated in the colours of the transgender flag on March 31st, and to fly the flag over city hall as well.
Speaking on her motion, Councillor Bogue said: “The transgender community face hardships and roadblocks just to live their lives every day that we might not even know about. Access to healthcare is limited to one unreliable clinic in Dublin when it could easily be done locally, for example. Our transgender friends and colleagues play an important part in our lives and in our city, and it’s time we formally recognise that.”
Cork City Council responded to the motion, saying that they already promote an awareness week during the week surrounding the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) in May, but that the request to mark TDOV “could be accommodated.”
Speaking today Robert O’Sullivan, the Chair of the Green Party’s LGBTQ+ group ‘Glasa Aiteacha’, praised Cllr Bogue and Cork City Council for their support for the trans community: “When you grow up as gay or trans, there can be an underlying fear that people around you hate you for who you are, despite not knowing your name or knowing anything about you. That can have serious repercussions on your mental and physical health, a fact sadly represented in the high self-harm and suicide statistics among trans people.
“This isn’t a measure that’ll end transphobia, or end that hatred some people have for trans people,” O’Sullivan continued, “but it is a message from the city of Cork, to its trans citizens, that tells them that they are welcome here, and that the bigots do not speak for the majority of the people of Cork.” The Glasa Aiteacha (which is Irish for ‘Queer Greens’) Chairperson also noted that they hope it will create greater awareness around the issues trans people in Cork face, such as the lack of access to basic healthcare, and the absence of legal recognitions for non-binary gender identities.
The motion will go before Cork City Council for a formal vote, likely in a December/January sitting of Councillors.