Grasping the nettle: the experiences of gender variant children and transgender youth living in Northern Ireland

Date published: 18 February 2013

Author: Ruari-Santiago McBride, Institute of Conflict Research

Publication Date: April 2013



This report was funded by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) and was conducted by the Institute for Conflict Research (ICR). It is the first piece of research from Northern Ireland to specifically investigate the experiences of young people who experience gender distress and/or identify as transgender (aged 25 and under).

The data presented was collected through a series of 12 interviews and five focus groups. In total 55 people, including young transgender people, family members, youth workers, and healthcare professionals, contributed to the findings put forth in this report.

The report highlights the numerous challenges that young transgender people and their families face in multiple spheres of their lives because of the widespread ignorance, prejudice and discrimination that continues to exist towards transgender people in Northern Ireland. 

The report argues that service providers and policy makers need to take a proactive approach in order to erode the cultural inertia that is marginalising young transgender people and preventing many of them from reaching their full potential. Only by grasping the nettle can young people, their families, the voluntary sector and government agencies co-operate to make Northern Ireland a more inclusive society in which young trans people are able to participate freely without fear of reprisal.

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