Members of the LGBT community contesting election to Seanad Éireann 2016, were given an opportunity to set out our priorities. I focus on the need for island wide marriage equality, and trans young people.
During my term as Mayor of South Dublin, I was proud to prioritise LGBT rights, homelessness and young people. My work alongside relevant NGO’s and their successful record in working with previous Senators instilled in me a belief, that although Seanad Éireann demands radical reform, it has been an effective political space for a number of progressives.
I believe in using every available forum to make social and political change for those whose interests continue to be under-represented. It is not lost on me that I argued for Seanad abolition just three years ago. Citizens however, voted for a radically reformed Seanad. Standing by and allowing the continued under-representation of the most vulnerable and disenfranchised is not an option for Sinn Féin. Nor is it an option for young people, the LGBT community, or the arts.
I want to be a campaigning Senator, using my activism to progress inclusion and equality.
LGBT rights in Ireland are entering a new phase. Our struggle post-referendum demands the prioritisation of healthcare, tackling homophobia, the blood ban, rural isolation and domestic violence.
I was politicised by a demand for LGBT rights but quickly recognised that only with Irish unity could we ever foster the amazing diversity on this island. The passing of island wide civil marriage equality remains a challenge. The disparity in legislative equality on this island is a real consequence of partition. Following a succession of victories at local government and at Stormont, December’s court ruling allowing a judicial review to challenge the ban on equal marriage in the north, is a step forward in the campaign for equality.
Trans young people.
If elected to Seanad Éireann, I will immediately move to prioritise Trans young people. The lack of State recognition of our young people is a major contributing factor to marginalisation and it is an urgent health and human rights issue.
Despite the incredible progress of the Gender Recognition Bill, young people are being left behind and their rights are not enshrined in this legislation. Trans people aged sixteen and seventeen may apply for legal recognition but the process is onerous. There is also no process for legal recognition of young people under the age of sixteen meaning that this state does not recognise the existence of Trans children. The LGBT community will not stand for stigmatisation and marginalisation of young people within our community and we will campaign for the removal of minimum age criteria.