In recent weeks, FOCUS: THE IDENTITY TRUST has been pleased to announce the formal launch of our Trans Manifesto in the Long Gallery, Parliament Buildings, Stormont on Wednesday 2nd June 2014.
Others who will be speaking in support of the Manifesto include Dr Michael Wardlow, Chief Commissioner of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, Norma Shearer, Chief Executive, Training for Women Network Ltd, and a relative of a Transgender individual from Northern Ireland.
Junior Minister Jennifer McCann (launching Our Trans Manifesto),
Norma Shearer, Chief Executive TWN, and
Dr Michael Wardlow, Chief Commissioner of the ECNI
Invitations were issued a few weeks ago, and we at Focus have been delighted with the response and support, with attendees confirmed from a wide range of statutory, voluntary, and public bodies amongst others.
“This is a milestone event in the development of a society where Transgender and Intersex Individuals and their families will be able to enjoy the same basic Human Rights that the rest of society rightly take for granted. To have our all-island Trans Manifesto endorsed and launched in such august surroundings feels like real progress in lessening prejudice and marginalisation of Transgender and Intersex individuals and their families by and from mainstream society“, commented Frances Shiels, secretary of FOCUS: THE IDENTITY TRUST.
Whilst the Manifesto makes two specific requests of politicians, our real hope is that politicians of all parties and key decision makers in all Government Departments and Agencies across the whole island of Ireland will subscribe to a fundamental shift in the way Transgender and Intersex people are viewed, and that by ensuring that all policy decisions are viewed through the three key statements contained in the Manifesto, the inequalities that Transgender and Intersex individuals continue to endure will start to be naturally eliminated.
“I lived most of my life in fear”, continued Miss Shiels, “I don’t want all of the Transgender and Intersex individuals yet to be born to have to endure the same pain I suffered, afraid to reveal my true identity. Hopefully the launch of this Manifesto and its endorsement will lead politicians and everyone else in positions of influence across the whole island to effect positive change in society that will directly impact on the lives of Transgender and Intersex individuals. After all Transgender rights are a cross–party issue which needs government support. These proposals, if acted upon, will have a hugely positive impact on the lives of many Transgender individuals and their families.”
As the only All-island organisation to exclusively represent and support Transgender and Intersex individuals and their families, FOCUS: THE IDENTITY TRUST launched its Manifesto in order to lobby all political parties to push for the inclusion of Transgender and Intersex equality as part of their party manifestos, and to adopt its priorities.
Immediate and Positive Response
Response across the whole island was immediate with recently elected MEPs and candidates in the recent local elections signing up to endorse our Manifesto. In addition to MEPs and candidates across all constituencies in the Republic of Ireland, the following politicians in Northern Ireland have publicly endorsed our Manifesto, Martina Anderson MEP, Jim Nicholson MEP and Anna Lo, MLA (pictured below).
Focus developed this Trans Manifesto following the success of our collaboration in the recently launched National Trans Manifesto where we worked with the other leading Transgender organisations across the UK including GIRES, Scottish Trans.org, Gendered Intelligence and The Gender Trust.
Briefly, it consists of three core statements and calls on all political parties:
1) To commit to promoting diverse, representative, realistic and positive portrayals of Transgender individuals
2) To empowering Transgender individuals to be the authority on all aspects of their own lives
3) To encourage society to treat Transgender individuals with dignity and respect and to regard them as equal citizens with equal rights
The Manifesto makes two specific requests of all political parties:
1) A commitment to include positive images of Transgender individuals in all Central Government publications to increase positive visibility
2) A commitment to the speedy introduction of Human Rights based gender Recognition legislation across the whole of Europe, which is independent of any necessity to fulfil any requirements or to undergo any medical procedures
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