Trans woman placed in men’s asylum centre found dead in Ireland

Trans pride flags flutter in the wind at a gathering to celebrate International Transgender Day of Visibility, March 31, 2017 at the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building in Los Angeles, California. International Transgender Day of Visibility is dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide. / AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

A trans woman was found dead in a centre for male asylum seekers in Galway, Ireland, on Thursday.

The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI), a nonprofit group advocating for migrants in the country, announced the news on their Facebook page on Friday.

Little is known about the woman herself, as her name and nationality have not yet been released.

According to MASI, the woman was in her 40s and stayed at the Great Western House, one of the nine direct provision centres located in Galway. It’s not clear why the woman was housed in the men’s wing of the facility.

“The whole LGBT+ family in direct provision is saddened with this untimely loss,” the association wrote on Facebook.

Dublin held its first ever Trans Pride on July 28. (Twitter/@ElizaaDoesalot)Some people took to Twitter to express their solidarity with the woman, her close ones and the LGBT community. Some also called for the end of the direct provision system, through which asylum seekers are housed.

“The death of a queer woman in the Galway Direct Provision Centre is not the exception but the norm. The system is isolating and inhumane with countless evidence of mental and physical struggles,” one wrote.

“Just last week at @DubTrans we heard a man from masi talk about the dangers faced by lgbtq+ people in direct provision. today, we hear that a trans woman held in the men’s wing in a Galway dp centre has died. we may not know her name but we will remember her. #EndDirectProvision,” wrote another.

Queer Action Aid, an LGBT+ association, tweeted that the news was “deeply upsetting and disturbing,” and that “Direct Provision is a source of shame for this country and it needs to be ended NOW.”

Direct provision centres are subject to contention in Ireland, where they were introduced in 1999.

Such centres provide emergency accommodation and food for asylum seekers awaiting to be granted international protection in Ireland.

According to the Irish Times, 5,096 people lived in 34 centres in 17 different counties in 2017. This included 801 families and 1,420 children. On average, asylum seekers spent 28 months in provision centres in 2017, but as many as 432 people have been in the system for the last five years.

In 2017, the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA)  found that 40 people died in direct provision centres across the country between 2007 and 2017, “including three stillborn babies and one ‘neonatal death.’” Most of the deaths remain unexplained.

The death of a trans woman in the men’s wing highlights the challenges LGBT asylum seekers face in the direct provision system.