Ahead of Today’s Trans Pride #Rally4GenderEquality, We asked Keira McCormack to talk to us about the issues the Trans, Non-Binary & Intersex (TNBI) community faces and why Trans Pride matters.
CONTENT WARNING: DOMESTIC ABUSE & SEXUAL VIOLENCE
The Trans community is a diverse as any community going; some identifying at varying degrees in its spectrum, others not even happy to be within the umbrella term that is Trans. We’ve heard the acronyms – LGBT; LGBT+; LGBTQIQ; MOGII; GSD; etc. Experience has shown me that the more I think I know the less I seem to, which to me is such a positive thing as it spurs me to learn more.
I took over the running of Gender Essence Support Services in 2012; (Gender Essence being N. Irelands only counselling service specifically aimed at the Trans, Non-binary & Intersex community [TNBI]), converting it in to a charity, eventually stepping down as the manager to concentrate on other aspects of the charity.
In my time as the manager, Gender Essence worked on projects for Outburst. It was from this undertaking that Essence Arts grew, recognising the need for promoting TNBI themes and artists, with the first Essence Arts being in 2014. It was at that time that a Trans Pride was first put forward but was put to one side at the time due to what is quite common within the community – differences, in-fighting and the inevitable disagreements of the best way forward. However, the idea wasn’t forgotten and this year, to the credit of some determined people, Trans Pride has now become a reality. The inaugural event is being held 2nd June 2018.
It is my hope and belief that it will grow and only get better. It is my hope that the TNBI community is now starting to work together for the betterment of all the community – in all its richness and diversity. It is my hope that we make Trans Pride an open space where everyone can be supported, accepted and welcomed. Everyone has a right to define themselves as they see fit and no one person is more valid in their identity than another.
Trans Pride is important, because in 2018 – when abortion is still impossible in N. Ireland, when it has only just been challenged in the Republic, when it still isn’t possible to legally marry your same gender partner in N. Ireland – across the world Trans people are still being policed as to where they can go and what facilities they can use. The basic need to pee becomes a weapon to attack us, to humiliate us. Domestic abuse is also major issue within the community, and yet we still get attempts to exclude us from services.
If you have been affected by issues discussed in this article; there are organisations which can offer help and support:
Nexus NI – 02890 326803
Women’s Aid NI – 028 9024 9041
National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 999 5428
As a member of the community, I feel lucky that I am still alive and that I have not had to barricade myself into a room in my own home for safety, as friends have. I feel lucky that I don’t face the constant abuse others do on the streets. That I can hold my head up and deal with issues that others get. Why is Trans Pride important? Because I feel lucky that these things haven’t happened to me. One should not feel luck to not be abused; that is a basic right of any human being – the right to exist.
Why is Trans Pride important? I think it is important because I have been in a 16 year domestic abuse relationship & there was no support available, that I have been raped and no charges brought, that I had a career destroyed by an ex-partner ‘selling’ her story to the press.
Trans Pride important because we are human, and people seem to needed to be reminded about that.
We still have to justify our existence,
We are still being humiliated in the media,
We are still being attacked,
We are still being killed,
We still have to fight for our basic right to just exist,
We still have to write articles like this is explain why Trans Pride is important
Why is Trans Pride important? Because it is needed.
Yes, at times there might seem to be an anger in this article. Who wouldn’t feel angry when you see what happens, when you have experienced what happens to us? I look at the community now and see the next generations coming up; more open about who they are, more determined to self-identify and break away from the binary constraints and it’s wonderful. I look at the generations that preceded me and admire and acknowledge their part in our continued fight to exist. I look at what my future might hold and the issues of old age, nursing homes aren’t prepared and ready. I know from the experience of working on projects in this area last year; it’s hard enough being LGB in a nursing home, but to be TNBI is frightening.
Why is Trans Pride important? Because we have still a long way to go.