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Trans visibility is ‘an act of defiance’

The president-elect of Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) has spoken about the importance of trans visibility, describing it as “an act of defiance”.

Jenny Maguire, 22, was speaking on International Transgender Day of Visibility, an annual event dedicated to celebrating transgender people, and raising awareness of the discrimination faced by the community around the world.

Jenny was elected TCDSU President earlier this year after campaigning on a broad range of issues including student housing, mental health supports and a proposed working students’ policy.

The 22-year-old Arts student had previously served as TCDSU LGBTQ+ Rights and Gender Equality Officer.

She said: “Trans visibility is important because it is an act of defiance. Growing up, you’re told exactly how to live your life. What is right and what is wrong. Being trans stands against that.”

Jenny is a co-organiser of Trans & Intersex Pride Dublin, a role that has enabled her to advocate for the reform of the trans healthcare system in Ireland and campaign against gender-based violence.

She told RTÉ News that she has always felt compelled to try to make a difference.

“I do it because I have an innate sense of justice. I find it infuriating when I see people being mistreated because of preconceived notions, or systems that don’t work for them – because they aren’t meant to work for them.

“The work should be bigger than yourself. When you don’t recognise this, you lose touch with the people you’re actually trying to affect.”

Reflecting on her recent victory in the TCDSU election, Jenny said it should not be seen as a wider acceptance of the transgender community.

“It’s impressive for anyone to do and I am proud of myself for what I have achieved, but I would caution that it’s a sign that things are moving forward, or things are getting better.

“For me, for a long time I couldn’t be visible. So it’s important that when you can be, you are.

“Being a representative of yourself, and in turn of a broader community, inspires hope in people that no hatred can overcome.”

International Transgender Day of Visibility was founded in 2009 by Rachel Crandall-Crocker, a Michigan-based psychotherapist.

Crandall-Crocker was frustrated that the only well-known transgender-centred day was the Transgender Day of Remembrance, and she wanted to establish a day “that we can celebrate the living”.

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