I work in Transgender Equality Network Ireland. Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) seeks to improve conditions and advance the rights and equality of trans people and their families. My role in TENI is to increase capacity of community groups and in mental health promotion.
My experience in Boston and North Carolina was once in a lifetime and will remain with me for the rest of my life. Working in the sector of transgender issues, it can sometimes feel like you are the only group pushing forward. What going to Boston and North Carolina gave me was, not only the opportunity to get to know people in the US, but also to develop a network of people to call on in different parts of the community here in Ireland.
The highlight of my week was probably the visit to the Fenway Institute. What Fenway showed us was innovation that hadn’t yet made it to Ireland. Fenway Health, in many ways, was the dream, something not yet achievable here due to costs and a smaller population. But what we could take from the Fenway Institute was their emphasis on data collection, their research and guidance in trans healthcare, and their ethos and training methodology.
Although Fenway was my favourite visit, every other meeting that we had included incredible people. People who were making a difference in their fields and who were working in a range of areas. There were people who I will remain in contact with, as well as those who I would like to see again in the future. Overall the trip was incredible and I am so grateful for the opportunity.