The Careless State April 5, 2013Posted by doctorfive in Inequality.
The Rise of Neoliberalism and its Impact on Inequality.
GCN is 25 years old March 3, 2013Posted by Tomboktu in Community, Gay Community News, Gender Issues, History, Human Rights, Inequality, LGBT Rights, media, Media and Journalism.
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Rights and charity January 16, 2013Posted by doctorfive in Inequality.
Tags: inequality, Oireachtas
Just wanted to highlight this from December.
I think it speaks for itself in more ways then one but here’s the transcript
I remember a time in this House when I was trying to introduce legislation for people with disabilities and subjected to a most horrendous campaign outside Leinster House driven, conceived and led by the Labour Party.
It convinced people that what people with disabilities were entitled to were absolute rights, regardless of the state of the finances of the country, something that did not apply in any other country and which by definition could not apply in any other country. The campaign was led by people such as Mrs. Finlay and her husband who are closely associated with the Labour Party. I tell Deputy Dominic Hannigan and the Minister of State, Deputy Kathleen Lynch, it is a long way from seeking absolute rights, regardless of the state of the finances of the country, to slashing and cutting the inadequate provision made.
“I do not have to prove that I am ‘trans enough’ for anyone” December 7, 2012Posted by Tomboktu in Crazed nonsense..., Human Rights, Inequality, Irish Politics, Justice, LGBT Rights.
While the country was getting ready for the budget on Wednesday, elsewhere in the Leinster House complex, an Oireachtas committee took evidence on the experience and legal situation of trans people in Ireland.
All of it is worth watching, but I was particularly moved by the evidence of Darrn matthews, from 8:30 into the film:
Hi. My name is Darrin Matthews. I am a board member of TENI and also run he Cork Peer Trans Support Group.
I am a transgender man.
I had a woman from the Disability Allowance Office ring me and she wanted to know why my name had changed from a female name to a male name, and when I told her it was because I was transgender, she laughed at me and hung up the phone.
When I go out and I get asked for my passport as identification to get in, I sometimes get turned away because my gender marker still says “F” and I have both my birth certificate name and my current name Darrin printed.
Everybody has a right to a private life. I would just like that my right would be recognized. Issuing new birth certificates and can easily do this and prevent embarrassment and harassment and potentially dangerous situations.
My experience of being transgender doesn’t just affect me, it also affects my family. I have an amazingly supportive and loving family. My mother put herself into almost €12,000 worth of debt so she could send me to a private school because I was bullied for 2 years in my state school. My mother took out a loan to send me to a school where I could be called Darrin, not wear a girl’s uniform and be happy and every member of staff and every student called me Darrin instead of derogatory and cruel names.
I have many friends who are straight, gay and transgender. In this day and age if a gay friend of mine come to me and told me they had gotten their official diagnosis of “homosexual”, I would be shocked and appalled. Nineteen years ago homosexuality was decriminalized and people now cannot imagine a time when homosexuality was illegal. Most people don’t know that transgender people must be diagnosed with a psychiatric illness to access treatment in this country because this is such an inconceivable and ridiculous notion and is discriminatory in its nature.
I do not feel that because I was born in the wrong body that that automatically means I have a mental illness. There is still stigmatization attached to having a mental health issue in this country and to force a psychiatric condition onto another human being can have detrimental effects on a person’s self-image and self-esteem.
When a couple applies for a civil partnership, they are not asked for their gay diagnosis to prove their homosexuality. I had to prove to many people I was happier as the man I should have always been, to my mother, my siblings, to my friends. And I had to prove that I had a psychiatric illness. But I should not have to prove anything to a complete stranger and seek their acceptance. I do not have to prove that I am ‘trans enough’ for anyone.
My mother once asked if I was sure, and if I was really sure that being Darrin was what I wanted. When I told her I couldn’t go go back and be happy, she just said to me ‘Well then we can only go forward, my son’.
I always knew transitioning would never be easy but please don’t make it any harder than it already is. All I want is to be treated as an equal. To be treated with respect and dignity as much as a non-transgender person would be. Nothing more and nothing less. Thank you.
Declaration of the 4th European Transgender Council September 9, 2012Posted by Tomboktu in Gender Issues, Human Rights, Inequality, Ireland, LGBT Rights.
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I received this in an email today.
Declaration of the 4th European Transgender Council on transphobic and racist violence and harassment, targeted at three Council participants
We the participants and organizers of this 4th European Transgender Council condemn the transphobic attack directed towards three participants of our Council in Dublin – two of the newly elected steering committee members and a Council of Europe official. Two years ago delegates were attacked during the 3rd European Transgender Council in Malmö (Sweden). We are shocked and deeply concerned that this type of violence has been repeated in Ireland. Once again it has been proven that no space is a safe space for trans people.
On Saturday night, 8th September 2012, a group of ten delegates were on their way to the Council’s social events in the Temple Bar District. Two persons, unknown to them, targeted our Turkish Steering Committee member, Kemal Ördek, and physically and verbally attacked hir and hirs colleague Laura LePrince from France. Lauri Sivonen, Advisor to the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, intervened to protect the delegates and the attackers spat in his face before leaving the scene. Due to the fact that their first target was one of our Turkish delegates, we assume that the attack was not only based on trans- and homophobia, but as well on racism and xenophobia.
Lauri Sivonen, accompanied by a representative of TENI, reported the incident on Saturday night to An Garda Síochána. Kemal Ördek and Laura LePrince will give a report at the garda station as well. The gardai are expected to ensure that the delegates will have a chance to report in a safer space with respect to their gender identity and expression. TGEU has been assured that TENI will observe and follow up on the process.
In view of the above,
We require An Garda Síochána to
Investigate this case quickly, properly and without any trans-, homo- or xenophobic or racist prejudice. Implement a trans-inclusive monitoring system that will effectively record transphobic incidences. Have LGBT trained liaison officers on duty 24 hours. Collaborate with TENI to make Dublin and Ireland a safer space for trans people.
We demand that the State of Ireland
Ensure that gender identity and gender expression are explicitly covered by equality legislation and work to develop hate crime legislation that protects all trans people. Collaborate with Irish trans organizations and support their work to make Ireland a country that does not tolerate bigotry, discrimination or violence against trans people. Raise awareness that trans people’s equality and human rights must always be respected thus making sure that such incidents cease to happen. Protect trans people’s private life through gender recognition legislation that fully respect human rights according to the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe’s Recommendations and the Yogyakarta Principles.
Dublin, 9th September 2012.
What should be the Garda priorities? July 4, 2012Posted by Tomboktu in Crime, Inequality, Justice, Society.
An Garda Síochána is conducting a public consultation as part of its preparation of a three-year strategy for 2013–2015. Have a look at how they frame the discussion with the first question in the consultation [the Gardaí use drop-down boxes with the numbers for ranking, but they don't transalte to CLR's website]:
An Garda Síochána has limited resources and is faced with a wide range of demands. In your opinion, what priority should An Garda Síochána give to the following policing areas? (Rank in order of priority – 1 being most important and 10 being least important. Each number can only be used once.)
Drugs (including importing, selling and taking drugs) Public Order (for example, tackling drunkenness or rowdiness as well as anti-social behaviour) Hate crimes (for example, targeting someone based on their race or sexuality) Ensuring road safety (for example, preventing serious and fatal collisions, young people racing around in car etc) Violent crimes (such as assaults rape, sexual assaults, and domestic violence) Property crime (such as burglaries, thefts and robberies) Criminal damage (for example, damage against your property, vehicle or graffiti) Fraud (for example, computer and telephone scams or someone else using your identity without your knowledge) Financial crimes committed by those working in businesses and large corporations. Human Trafficking (for purposes of labour or sexual exploitation)
Now, even leaving aside the question of precisely how the responses to a public consultation will affect the choices the Gardaí make for priority areas (if, oh, 400,000 responses tell them they should make hate crimes based on race or sexuality the first priority, and the next highest priority is in the 100s of responses, will that put it to the top of the list?), isn’t that opening question just weird?
Financial crimes presented as a separate category from fraud. And young people racing around in car — is it different when middle-aged people do it? All of the compenents of the drug trade lumped together without distinguishing those with power in the trade from those without. Anti-social behaviour — when it is not a deliberate political action — would seem to me to always be wrong, but drunkeness — if I don’t get rowdy or drive a vehicle — might not be, but the Gardaí have put them in the same category.
I would like to know how they rank crimes where there are large numbers of potential and articulate “direct” victims (public order and property crime, for example) against crimes where the victims may indirect (the gardaí’s ‘financial crimes’) or smaller in number (hate crimes) or vulnerable (trafficking). And how do you rank any of the crime categories against the more-than-just-crime issue of road safety?
I live in an area where the Chief Superintendent has gone beyond the legal requirements for county-based Garda Joint Policing Committees and holds quarterly meetings with residents’ associations and other local community groups in each of the areas covered by the individual stations across the Division. And he takes seriously the two questions of listening to concerns raised and reporting back. [Complaints about dangerous parking outside seven schools in the school rush-hours resulted in this response at the following meeting: They had checked the issue at all schools, and in two cases they agreed that the situation was dangerous, but in the others, just an inconvenience for a short period. They met the two school principals, and a letter went out to all parents at the two schools. A week later, some garda shifts were changed to have officers in place at both rush hours -- that week, the gardaí spoke to drivers who tried to looked like they intended to park dangerously, told them to move on, and reminded the parents of the letter. The following week, the officers started issuing tickets, and 70 were issued in a month.]
At one of the meetings last year, the Superintendent presented statistics on garda activity in the station’s area. Among the data on speeding traps set up, speeding offences detected, drunk and disorderly outside pubs, burlaries, damage to property, etc. were two tables on drugs operations. One operation was implemented by the local drugs squad, and targeted local dealers. The other was an operation implemented by ‘beat’ and community gardaí and was targetted at the buyers. Up went a table showing the number of stops and searches in public spaces in the hunt to catch users with stock for their own use. That number over a year was in the high hundreds — I think it was between 700 and 800. But the total number of detections was in two digits. I made myself unpopular with a pair of questions: First, was it an effective use of resurces to stop and search so many people with so little crime detected for it? Second, what mechanisms did they have to ensure that the stops and searches did not work to alienating young men from the disadvantaged estates in the station’s area?
The current Garda national questionnaire does provide space to expalin your views, although some of the options you get appear to depend on the choices you make in previous questions. It would seem to be a bit difficult, but possible, to use the survey to present the kind of conerns I raised at the meeting. But I am minded to ignore some of the questions and say what I want to say anyway.
And in fairness, it is refreshing to get the opportunity to say that financial crimes need a bit more profile in the Gardaí’s work, although I am deeply uncomfortable having to rank that ahead or behind concerns like human trafficking or hate crimes.
If you would like to add your views, mosey on over to http://www.garda.ie/Controller.aspx?Page=9358
A peculiar tax break May 2, 2012Posted by Tomboktu in Crazed nonsense..., Inequality, Taxation Policy.
The May issue of Alive! was delivered to my house today. I am not happy to see that it is a registered charity. They advertise the fact because
- If you pay PAYE and your total donation to Alive! was €250 or more in 2011 we can reclaim your tax.
Please ask us for a for or Tel 01 4048187 for more info.
- If you are self-assessed or a company and your donation to Aive! was €250 or more in 2011 you can clain tax releief on your donation.
How can an organisation that is so overtly political have been granted charitable status?
Inequality up, but no efforts to address it December 6, 2011Posted by Tomboktu in Economics, Inequality, Ireland.
On Wednesday of last week, 30 November, official Ireland presented two faces of its approach to equality.
The Central Statistics Office reported the latest findings of levels of poverty and inequality (PDF here):
There was an increase in income inequality in 2010 as shown by the income quintile share ratio and the Gini coefficient. The quintile share ratio indicated that the average income of those in the highest income quintile was 5.5 times that of those in the lowest income quintile. This ratio was 4.3 one year earlier thus signifying greater inequality in the income distribution in 2010. The Gini coefficient showed a similar pattern increasing from 29.3% in 2009 to 33.9% in 2010. A Gini coefficient of 0% corresponds to perfect equality while higher Gini coefficients indicate a more unequal distribution. The Gini coefficient and the quintile share ratio indicate that the income distribution has become more unequal between 2009 and 2010 and reverses the downward trend evident since 2005.
In fact, the statistics show more than an increase from the previous year. They show that it is the highest since the SILC study (conducted under EU law) was first produced in 2004.
Michael Taft (here) and Sinéad Pentony (here) have separately written about what the CSO’s report tells us. Indeed, a comment on Taft’s post asks a very interesting question about the validity of the modeling used by the ESRI to assess the changes in the level of inequality. The ESRI’s model says there is none. Paper referred to in the comment here – 286-page PDF)
You would think that the CSO data showing increasing inequality (“INEQUALITY UP — OFFICIAL!“, as a red-top might put it), might lead those designing the bidget to think about what they are proposing. But by coincidence, Wednesday also saw the Department of Finance, through its mouth-piece Michael Noonan, confirm that inequality is not an issue that concerns them. They were prompted by Labour TD John Lyons, who was, in turn reacting to two reports from TASC on equality lessons for the budget (PDFs here [56 pages] and here [59 pages]). Lyons asked
Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for Finance if he will consider, in the course of his consideration of budgetary measures, the request by a group (details supplied) that all such measures be subject to an equality audit; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The answer was awful (emphasis added by me).
Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Where budgetary matters are concerned the Government’s primary focus at present is on reducing the deficit further and returning sustainability to the public finances in the coming years. The focus of Government in this regard will be on taking decisions in a way that spreads the burden of the adjustment in as fair and equitable a manner as possible, while at the same time, seeking to minimise the negative impact on economic growth, which as we have seen is returning.
There are currently no plans to equality audit the measures in Budget 2012. However, I would point out that the Programme for Government does contain a commitment to require all public bodies to take due note of equality and human rights in carrying out their functions. I would also remind the Deputy that the State and its bodies take the provisions of equality legislation into account in the development and delivery of its policies and services.
Furthermore, the Cabinet handbook requires that Government memoranda indicate clearly, as appropriate, the impact of the proposal for, amongst other things, gender equality, persons experiencing or at risk of poverty or social exclusion and people with disabilities.
I hope John Lyons follows that up.