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RTÉ picketed in row over Graham Linehan transgender comments | Culture


Transgender activists have picketed Ireland’s national broadcaster to protest against comments by Graham Linehan, the co-creator of Father Ted, in a programme about transgender people.

Dozens of protesters, some with placards, gathered outside RTÉ’s gates in Dublin on Tuesday night to condemn Linehan’s inclusion in that night’s edition of Prime Time, a current affairs show, which examined the rising number of young people wishing to change gender.

More than 4,000 people signed a petition demanding the comedy writer’s exclusion from the programme. Activists also lodged complaints with RTÉ and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, saying Linehan was unqualified to comment on trans issues.

A picket organiser, Noah Halpin, told the gathering that RTÉ should have omitted Linehan and included more than two trans people in the panel of 10 contributors.

“No one is more expert in trans lives than trans people. This conversation must include trans people, and those with educated experience in subjects relating to trans identities. This is who Prime Time should be featuring to ensure complete accuracy,” he said.

Linehan has more than 650,000 followers on Twitter and has used the platform to critique what he calls a “trans ideology” that bullies and misrepresents trans people and lesbians.

A trailer for the programme included a clip from a pre-recorded interview with Linehan in which he said: “You do not tell kids that they have been born into the wrong body, just as you don’t tell [people with anorexia] that they are fat.”

Speaking to the Irish Independent before the broadcast, Linehan said his views on transgender issues were based on difficulties faced by his transgender and lesbian friends because of trans activism.

Last year West Yorkshire police gave the writer a verbal harassment warning after a transgender activist complained Linehan referred to her as “he” and called her by names used before she transitioned to a woman.



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