“Not brave enough to die”

Sad words from a very courageous woman. This weekend we had the privilege of honouring Dr Lydia Foy with Lord Mayor Arder Carson in Belfast City Hall, for Lydia’s achievement in becoming European Citizen of the year 2015 nominated by the four Sinn Fein  MEP’s on the island of Ireland. The first Transgender person ever to have this honour bestowed upon them.

The Southern Government refused to recognise Lydia’s true gender for 22 years and removed all her human rights and dignity. She lost everything, her career as  a dentist, her home, her friends and all of her family.

Alone in the world she had nothing left to live for and was told it would be better for everyone if she was dead. So she found a derelict  house and she crawled into it to provide a little shelter and with 20 Euros of charity Lydia slowly began her struggle to survive in order to fight back at the injustice imposed on her.

She took on the Irish government  alone until 10 years ago when solicitor Michael Farrell ( solicitor with FLAC free legal advice centre) took on her case. Lydia fought the Government in the South of Ireland until September 2015 when after pressure  from Europe when finally she was granted her long awaited birth certificate.

Today Lydia still lives in that same house and still cannot practice as a dentist, still most of her family ignore her, but she lives as the woman she always knew herself to be.

I asked her if she would do it all again and she said

“I wouldn’t have a choice”

Our European Citizen of the year requested two certificates from Brussels, one for the North and one for the South so that we would be included in her honour, so we honoured her by presenting Lydia and Michael Farrell with our Transgender Champion of the year 2016 award in Belfast City Hall, supported by a host of high profile and influential guests, Including some of our most avid supporters Aengus O’Snodagh TD (first to introduce the gender recognition bill in the ROI (who took time out from his electioneering to attend) and Martina Anderson MEP.

I guess for all of us involved in making change, like Lydia, we don’t have a choice when faced by injustice.

Not brave enough to die Lydia? Thank you for having the courage to live and make the change for future generations.

Go Raibh mile Maith Agat

Lord Mayor Lydia and Michael