A group representing the trans community in Ireland has accused RTÉ’s Liveline of debating whether “trans people have the right to exist”.
Dublin Pride has terminated its partnership with RTÉ over the discussions featured on the show late last week and early this week.
This morning, The Irish Times published a letter from Trans Equality Together (TET), a coalition established groups including TENI, BeLonG To and LGBT Ireland which was officially launched this week.
The letter accused Liveline of hosting debates about whether trans people, “have a right to exist, are entitled to basic human dignity and have a right to live free of discrimination and harassment”.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, TENI Director Sam Blanckensee outlined the group’s concerns.
He said the show gave a platform to “what we believe was a group of coordinated organisations who actively deny the basic humanity and rights of trans people” and allowed them to use “language that is aimed at dehumanising the community”.
They said RTÉ also used the logo of one of the organisations in question, “which we believe was a very serious error”.
“We need to move on from debates about whether trans people have the right to exist, to speaking about the vulnerability of our community and the violence we face,” they said.
They said, “we can definitely have really respectful conversations about this” but not conversations that “deny that trans women are women”.
“This programme became about whether trans people have the right to exist and had [the question of] whether we have the right to live free of discrimination and harassment up for debate,” they said.
“That was the whole premise this programme was based upon. Rather than looking at how we move forward and educate and have these conversations respectfully, this was looking at whether we should exist or not.
“I think that is the difficulty for us.”
They said TENI “absolutely want to protect women within all of our work” and noted that trans women “face so many of the difficulties that every woman faces in society”.
They noted that trans people still can’t access gender recognition if they are non-binary or under-16.
Meanwhile people under the 16 do not have access to trans healthcare, which can include psychological care and puberty blockers.
Sam said trans people currently do not feel safe participating sport and called for the debate to shift from “whether or not we have the right to participate” to “how we participate and ensure everyone is respectful”.
RTÉ has said it is “disappointed” with Dublin Pride’s Decision but insisted public discussion is ‘central to RTÉ’s prescribed purpose’.
Meanwhile, the State broadcaster has been called before the Oireachtas Media Committee to explain what happened.
On Newstalk Breakfast yesterday, psychologist Stella O’Malley labelled the decision to questions RTÉ a “direct line to totalitarianism”.
You can listen back to Sam Blanckensee here: