USI Boycotts The Irish Times Over Trans Conversion Therapy Article
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USI Boycotts The Irish Times Over Trans Conversion Therapy Article

Ella Kipling April 16, 2022

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has voted to boycott The Irish Times following an article published about transgender people and the conversion therapy bill.

The article in question was titled ‘Bill to ban conversion therapy poses problems for therapists’ and was published back in August.

What the Irish Times article said

Proposed by Fintan Warfield in April 2018, the bill describes conversion therapy as ‘any practice or treatment by any person that seeks to change, suppress and/or eliminate a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression.’ The proposed bill is currently at committee stage.

The Irish Times article said the inclusion of ‘suppression of gender identity’ in the bill’s definition ‘risked throwing the baby out with the bathwater,’ and argued that ‘this approach to defining conversion therapy is in danger of unnecessarily restricting the openness, efficacy and ethics of therapy in areas such as gender identity.’

‘The proposed wording of the bill leaves therapists and clinicians unsure to what extent it is permissible to employ therapeutic interventions around a person’s gender identity,’ it added.

The article also said: ‘If therapists are fearful of accusations of ‘conversion’ therapy, first the majority won’t work in the area of gender and, second, there will be no chance for gender-questioning clients of this age to explore or be challenged.’

‘No room for growth, no time for reflection or self-discovery. The result of which would be a rigidity most alien to both effective psychological therapy and every single child development model that has ever existed,’ it stated.

USI Irish Times Boycott

However, this wasn’t well receibed the USI which then tweeted the plan to ‘implement an interim boycott of the Irish Times’, in solidarity with the Trans Writers Union.

The motion stated: ‘The student movement on the island of Ireland exists to promote and defend the rights of all students studying across third-level colleges and this extends to that of all transgender students.’

The boycott includes, but is not limited to, ‘the refusal to take interviews for the Irish Times by all officers of the union and the severing of any and all relations between the union and the Irish Times.’

President of the USI Clare Austick told the Sunday Times: ‘I think the main thing is that when we see something happening that we don’t agree with, we actually have to call it out for what it is.’

‘We’re here to support our trans students and ensure that their voice is heard in any conversations that take place on trans people, whatever it is. We hope that people will join the boycott, and that The Irish Times apologises and issues a statement, and that they ensure that going forward there’s support of trans people in general, and that they’re included in the conversation in the first place,’ Austick continued.

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Ella Kipling is an Entertainment and News Writer at GRV Media. She regularly writes a mixture of news and features for HITC and has been part of the team since 2020. After graduating from the University of Birmingham with a BA (Hons) in English Literature, Ella is currently studying for an MA in Magazine Journalism at City University. She has a keen interest in current affairs and can usually be found reading the news, with her nose in a book (and updating her Goodreads), talking about women’s rights, or listening to Showtunes.