University College Cork has become the first university in the Republic of Ireland to fly the Transgender Pride flag.
As part of the university’s Equality Week, which ran from 5 to 9 March, the blue, pink and white flag to denote commitment to trans and non-binary staff and students was raised in UCC’s quad.
“Flying the Transgender Pride flag indicates UCC’s growing appreciation and understanding of trans and gender non-binary issues in Ireland and internationally,” explained Karl Kitching, director of equality, diversity and inclusion at the university.
He added that the institution is in the process of finalising its policy on gender identity and expression policy, which “seeks to support trans and non-binary staff and students in a variety of ways”.
As part of UCC’s equality week, Máire Leane and Fiachra Ó Suilleabháin, who are both academics at the university in southern Ireland, discussed their research on the experiences of the country’s trans young people.
In a press statement, Dr Leane and Dr Ó Suilleabháin explained that the work they have done “indicates that trans and non-binary young people often feel excluded in public spaces” and that “flying the trans flag at UCC sends a strong message of recognition and welcome”.
Vanessa Lacey, from Transgender Equality Network Ireland, also presented UCC with the Transgender Pride Flag at an event on 5 March, ahead of the launch by UCC president Patrick O’Shea of the university’s new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Unit on 6 March.
The unveiling of the flag on 5 March comes at the same time as the launch of LGBT Ireland, an advocacy group that will also expand services nationally for LGBT people, their families, friends and communities, and deliver training on LGBT issues to wider audiences in the Republic of Ireland.
The decision to fly the Transgender Pride flag follows University College Dublin’s (UCD) announcement that it would repurpose more than 170 bathrooms as gender-neutral, according to the University Times website.
Announced as part of a range of sweeping changes, the college also said that it would introduce transgender changing facilities and bring in a system that allowed students to change their name on official university documents without a gender recognition certificate.