Words: Ellen Kenny
Dublin Pride has terminated its partnership with RTÉ following “extremely harmful anti-trans” discussions aired on Joe Duffy’s Liveline.
Dublin Pride explained that they have worked with the national broadcaster “to increase positive representation of LGBTQ+ people on TV, radio and online”, but they are now ashamed to see “the good work of so many people undone” by RTÉ Radio One’s recent broadcasting.
For three consecutive days, Liveline offered a platform to several so-called “gender critical activists”. This includes one woman who was denied access to the National Women’s Council of Ireland AGM due to her involvement in the anti-trans advocacy group “The Countess”, which claims that transgender women are a biological and social threat to cisgender women.
Other rousing and entirely rational debates facilitated by Duffy include the wording of statements such as “people who menstruate” (because Duffy has always been sympathetic to menstrual cycles of his listeners) and the validity of the Gender Recognition Act, a piece of legislation passed that seven years ago allowing transgender people to self-identify on official documents.
One tactless, transphobic debate might be seen as misguided, but three? That can only be described as either grossly negligent or intentionally nasty.
Dublin Pride has accused RTÉ of stoking “the flames of anti-trans rhetoric”, emphasising that this coverage “breaches trust with our community and causes untold hurt.”
RTÉ have expressed their “disappointment” in Dublin Pride’s decision to terminate their relationship. In a statement released this morning, RTÉ said they were “acutely aware” of the sensitive topic of transgender rights, but while “it is important we listen to them, their families and those close to them… it is also important that we allow our audiences engage with and understand the issues involved.”
Following Dublin Pride’s announcement, Duffy, who has hosted Liveline since 1999, liked a Tweet for the first time in over three months:
Glad to see we can all be grown ups about this.
This is the second time that Dublin Pride has ended its partnership with RTÉ. They previously cut ties with RTÉ in 2014 after the broadcaster paid damages to six people following comments made by Rory O’Neill, also known as drag performer Panti Bliss, during the course of an interview on The Saturday Night Show.
Dublin Pride rekindled their relationship with RTÉ in 2019, and were clear that they wanted RTÉ to “tell the story of real people in our community”.
You know what they say. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, you’re still queerphobic, then.
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