Dublin Pride cuts ties with Irish broadcaster RTÉ over ‘extremely harmful anti-trans rhetoric’

Dublin Pride Declan Flynn

Dublin Pride has emphatically cut ties with Ireland’s national broadcaster RTÉ over “anti-trans rhetoric”.

The announcement was made on Twitter by Dublin Pride late on Tuesday (June 14), with organisers citing “harmful, anti-trans discussions” on recent episodes of RTÉ Radio 1’s show Liveline.

Dublin Pride said it has spent the past three years working with RTÉ “to increase positive representation of LGBTQ+ people on TV, radio and online, and to see the good work of so many people undone is sadening in the extreme and negates much of the efforts made to date.”

“Dublin Pride is both angered and disappointed by the recent unacceptable, triggering and extremely harmful anti-trans ‘discussions’ that have been given a platform on Joe Duffy’s Liveline on RTÉ Radio 1,” it continued.

“As an official media partner of Dublin Pride, but more importantly as Ireland’s national broadcaster, we expected more than for RTÉ to stoke the flames of anti-trans rhetoric.”

Dublin Pride said it “expects a response” from RTÉ outlining how it plans to “make amends” for the situation, as well as how the broadcasting body is “committed to continuing the fight for equality, fairness and respect for all members of our LGBTQ+ family.

“RTÉ is our national broadcaster,” it added. “LGBTQ+ people and our allies make up the majority of people in Ireland. We are the majority shareholders in RTÉ, and we have a right to hold it accountable for its actions.”

In response, RTÉ expressed its disappointment with Dublin Pride’s decision to end its three-year partnership, noting its belief that “sometimes uncomfortable” discussions should be had.

“RTÉ is acutely aware that discussions on issues such as gender and identity are deeply personal to many,” RTÉ said in a statement. “It is important that we listen to them, their families, and those close to them.

“Standing with the LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month sends an important signal that RTÉ is here to serve everyone, and over the last three years RTÉ has sought to include these communities and extend understanding through a range of specially produced content.”

The broadcasts which sparked Dublin Pride to cut ties saw host Joe Duffy having conversations about trans-inclusive language, with callers discussing its proposed inclusion in maternity-related legislature.

Speaking on Monday (June 13), Duffy responded to the criticism of his “deeply harmful” discussions, saying: “I found it deeply disturbing. Of my 25 years presenting in here, to be told that a debate on Liveline was ‘incredibly irresponsible’ in the context of increasing transphobic and homophobic attacks is just so insulting.”

Duffy apologised earlier last year when a Liveline caller, who was discussing the topic of issues that trans people face, yelled a multitude of insults at a contributor.

Duffy then interrupted the insults, shouting: “No, no! None of that language on this show! No, no!” The caller was then cut off and the show went to an ad break.