UPDATE: This documentary has now been unblocked by TV3 and is able to be viewed internationally, with some exceptions in North America. Focus’s original article is reproduced below, and you can access the documentary to watch in full by clicking here.
Irish Lives: My Transgender Journey originally aired on Wednesday 16th April at 9pm.
“It tells the story of three people, as they search for a sense of their own identity, strive for acceptance and continue to battle against their own government to be recognised in their true gender. Ireland is currently the only EU member state that does not provide a mechanism for the legal recognition of transgender persons. In the documentary Sam, Louise and Kay give an up-close and personal account of their transgender journeys and what it is like to live in a country that does not fully accept them.”
Given recent representations of transgender individuals on television it is important that positive and realistic representations of transgender people reach our screens. Focus recently highlighted the negative and offensive portrayal of the transgender character, ‘Nuala’ on RTE’s, ‘The Centre’, a programme which unfortunately is still being televised, click here for the article.
If society is to attain a greater understanding of what transgender means and of the issues that transgender individuals face on a daily basis, we need television to take a responsible attitude and show transgender people in a positive and representative fashion.
Research shows the importance of this, given the statistics of recent reports;
Here are some findings from the 2012 UK wide ‘Transgender Mental Health’ survey. Of the transgender respondents;
- 76% of respondents reported that they had used mental health services
- 53% of the participants had self-harmed at some point, with 11% currently self-harming
- 84%, had thought about ending their lives at some point
- 33% had attempted to take their life more than once in their lifetime, 3% attempting suicide more than 10 times
In 2013 an Irish study, modelled on the UK study, ‘Speaking from the Margins’ was completed. Some of its findings were;
- more than 70% of considered media portrayals of transgender people to be negative,
- 40% stated that these representations negatively affected their emotional wellbeing or mental health
- 78% had considered suicide
- 40% of those people had made at least one attempt
- 44% had self-harmed, 6% currently self-harming