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SC2003 Gender Identity in Ireland: Perceptions and Practice

Ended 15 Mar 2021

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Full course description

Course Overview

Throughout history transgender people have been misunderstood and stereotyped; victimised, abused murdered and are above the national average for committing or attempting to commit suicide and self-harm. Transgender people have also been discriminated against, marginalised and excluded from families, communities, education, the workplace, faith groups and pretty much every area of society. And yet people are still largely unaware of the highly complex nature not only of what it means to be transgender but also the multi-various forms of gender identity; with the least understood being Gender Dysphoria, and its congenital neurobiological origins. Also, the confusion around those who self-declare being of a different gender identity or being non-binary. Added to this is the increasing negative reactions in many countries normally regarded as being more liberal, open and inclusive, e.g. the US and UK etc., and where is Ireland in the midst of the swirling confusion. The truth is there seems to be far more questions than answers around gender identity.

Gender identity, transgenderism and the complex issues around gender reassignment are of increasing interest across all areas of society, from the typical stereotypes to the more complex clinical issues including the increasing number of young people being assessed and diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria. There is also the ethical questions around transitioning at a young age, including hormone blocking interventions and whether this is appropriate for very young children, those seeking to reverse their gender reassignment. There is also the growing need for clarity around these multi-various and complex issues, especially in relation to how people can be more appropriate when it comes to using the correct pronouns for gendering and misgendering transgender and gender dysphoric people. Another concern is to do with how trans people are perceived to be so angry and so quick to brand others as transphobic simply because they may ask a particular question, or make what is perceived to be inappropriate comments, or inadvertently misgendering someone. These all have the effect of instilling fear into others and thereby making it more difficult for the general population to have a better understanding of these issues which consequently makes it more difficult to engage, interact and show support.

This course will help participants address these and other issues which will both stimulate and challenge people’s perceptions, attitudes, and ability to respond appropriately in equal measure. The programme is designed for anyone with a genuine interest in the subject and the practical positive change that can be accomplished through a broader understanding of the many and varied issues discussed during the course. Unique aspects of the course This course is unique in that it combines an academic and practical approach to understanding the broad range of issues relating to gender identity and transgenderism and is delivered by one of Ireland’s leading authorities on this subject.

Course Schedule 


Classes will be delivered online on Mondays 7-9pm for eight weeks from 25 January to 15 March.


Module 1: Transgender the T In LGBT+ and Why the Terminology Matters Self-Reflection

Module 2: Being Transgender in Ireland Making History – A Personal Journey

Module 3: The Disconnect – Gender Dysphoria and Non-Binary Gender Identities

Module 4: Gender Identity & Healthcare – Why so Controversial, and why Age Matters? 

Module 5: Gender Identity – The Social and Legal Impacts for People who are Gender Different

Module 6: Gender Identity & Social Inclusion – Where Do We Draw the Line?

Module 7: Transgender Movements – Reactions and Backlash

Module 8: Gender Diversity in the Workplace – A Practical Approach (Self-Reflection-2) Course Practicalities Assessment:

Course Lecturer

The course will be delivered by Sara-Jane Cromwell. Sara-Jane graduated from the National College of Ireland (NCI) in 1990 with Diploma in Industrial Relations and Trade Union Studies, she served for two years with the NCI as Associate Faculty Lecturer 2002 – 2004, and several years as Senior Union Representative in Gilbeys of Ireland. Sara-Jane has a career spanning 48 years, currently working in Workplace Relations Consultancy, and 45 years working in the voluntary non-profit sector. She is a lecturer, published author, Lifecoach and speaker. Sara-Jane is an occasional lecturer for UCC since 2017 lecturing and speaking on various courses and has participated in several staff LGBT events since 2018 and coordinated the first ever Fresher Fest Workshops for new LGBT students coming into UCC. She was guest speaker at the EAP conference in October 2019 and is booked to speak at the Third-Level Chaplaincy AGM, due to be held in UCC in January 2021. She is also doing ground breaking work with the Church of Ireland on marginalisation and exclusion of LGBT people from their faith communities.

Sara-Jane has long been regarded as one of the leading authorities in Ireland on gender identity issues. She is the initiator and co-founder of Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI), and Gender Identity Disorder Ireland (GIDI); the first two organisations to be established in Ireland for the purpose of providing support and awareness. She is responsible for many of the initiatives that have led to significant change in Ireland, including the assessment and gender reassignment pathway for people with gender dysphoria, and public awareness of people with a different gender identity. She assisted in drafting the Heads of Bill for what is now the Gender Recognition Act, 2015. Sara-Jane has published two books about gender identity including her first autobiography “Becoming Myself” and her second book “Wrong Body Wrong Life.” Her third book (second autobiography) “No Ordinary Life” is due for publication in 2020. She has also been published extensively with the Irish Medical Times 2009.

Entry Requirements

Applicants must be at least 18 years old at course commencement.


Short courses are not assessed. Students will receive a UCC Certificate of Attendance upon completion.

Closing Date for Application

Monday 18 January

Contact Details for Further Information


Regina Sexton, Phone: 021-4904700, Email: