LGBTQ+ activists demand end to Irish Independent’s ‘anti-trans crusade’ with powerful protest

A crowd of LGBTQ+ activists and allies gather outside the Independent House

Protesters outside the Irish Independent’s offices have rallied the publication’s continued “anti-trans crusade”.

Over 100 people gathered outside Independent House in Dublin on Saturday (27 August) to highlight a rise in anti-trans coverage from the Irish publication. 

In August alone, the publication published a string of articles attacking gender-affirming care for trans youth.

One op-ed alleged future generations would “condemn” Irish society for “pandering to the trans agenda” and described NHS England’s Tavistock gender clinic as a “dangerous medical clinic abroad”. Another piece claimed that “swathes of the human population” were being “branded as transphobic” for airing anti-trans views. 

Trans and Intersex Pride organiser Ollie Bell told the crowd the community has had “enough of the media attacks on trans people in the Irish media”.

“[The Irish] Independent especially has been on this anti-trans crusade with article after article spewing and spreading hateful, harmful transphobic rhetoric,” Bell said.

“They are profiting directly from the misinformation by having these articles behind a paywall.”

“Why aren’t the real issues being talked about?” they added.

“The rise in anti-LGBTQ+ violence, the dire state of healthcare in Ireland and the barbaric practice of intersex genital mutilation happening in our hospitals – these are issues that should be given a platform.”


Bell told PinkNews there had been an “uptick in the amount of harmful transphobic articles” published by the newspaper.

They said this included “misinformation about the Cass report [on gender-affirming care for young people, commissioned by NHS England], calling LGBTQ+ sex education ‘propaganda’ and claiming ‘the future will condemn us for pandering to the trans  agenda’.”

“We’re in the middle of a housing crisis, cost of living crisis and climate change crisis, yet the Independent would rather give a platform to anti-trans conspiracy theories,” Bell said.

They added that it’s “essential” society doesn’t “ignore this increase in anti-trans rhetoric” as it coincides with “increased violent attacks on LGBTQ+ people in Ireland”. 

“Trans people fighting for our right to informed, consent-based trans healthcare and to exist in a world without transphobia isn’t an agenda,” Bell said. 

A crowd of LGBTQ+ activists and allies gather outside the Independent House

Ollie Bell says the rise in “anti-trans rhetoric” in the media coincides with “increased violent attacks on LGBTQ+ people in Ireland”. (Trans and Intersex Pride Dublin)

A spokesperson for Mediahuis Ireland, which publishes the Independent Ireland, said it “believes in the fundamental right to equality for all members of the LGBTQ+ community”. 

“We believe in the right to freedom of expression, including the right to peaceful protest,” it added.

A speech was also read during the protest on behalf of Vic from support group Trans Waterford, calling on news organisations to conduct more thorough research when writing “hate-fueled articles”. 

“We need a readership that demands objective accuracy,” Vic’s speech said. “That asks: ‘Why are the writers lying or using scare tactics?'”

A crowd of LGBTQ+ activists and allies gather outside the Independent House

Vic from Trans Waterford said news publishers need to be “held to account for the hate that they platform”. (Trans and Intersex Pride Dublin)

This is not the first time Irish news publishers have been called out by LGBTQ+ activists as of late. In June, Dublin Pride cut ties with Ireland’s national broadcaster RTÉ, due to its “anti-trans rhetoric”.

The Pride organisers said the decision to end the years-long partnership came after “unacceptable, triggering and extremely harmful anti-trans ‘discussions'” which were given a platform on Joe Duffy’s Liveline on RTÉ Radio 1.

The broadcasts featured Duffy having conversations about trans-inclusive language with callers and discussing its proposed inclusion in maternity-related legislation.

The Trans Write Union began boycotting The Irish Times in August after the publication published an article titled “Bill to ban conversion therapy poses problems for therapists”. The piece received immediate and significant backlash from LGBTQ+ activists and allies. 

The boycott doesn’t solely concern that article as the union has highlighted how the Irish Times needs to “integrate a trans-inclusive ethos into its publication” by working with the “many available trans bodies to achieve this”.