A choir of Irish pensioners has dedicated a cover of “Silent Night” to “transgender children everywhere” and is raising funds to support trans kids and their families in Chile.
“To transgender children everywhere: you are important, you are loved, you are wonderful exactly as you are. We are with you,” is the message from a group of singers behind a “very 2020” version of “Silent Night” – sung and filmed on Zoom.
Members of the Irish Pensioners Choir in London collaborated with singers in Cairo and Dublin for the video recording, which is raising money for Fundacion Selenna, a charitable foundation supporting transgender children and their families in Chile.
Members of the choir, which is mostly made up of Irish people in their 70s, 80s and 90s, have been singing together for 15 years – and in recent years have been learning about trans issues and doing what they can to support.
Singer Patrick Gormley, 70, told PinkNews that “when it comes to trans people, there has to be acceptance”.
“We older people carry the baggage of our own memories,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean we don’t want to be supportive. We’re of a different generation, and we might not have personal experience of the discrimination that trans people face, but how many grandchildren do you think we have between us?”
Explaining that many people in the choir are Catholic and were “schooled by nuns”, Patrick said that they’re “of a generation where sexuality and stuff was never spoken about”.
“The majority of older people wouldn’t know if they saw a trans person,” he continued. “We don’t have friends who are trans. When people like Molly Mulready [a lawyer and writer who is mother to a trans son] talk about trans kids, a lot of the Irish pensioners don’t know what she’s talking about.
“So we’ve got a lot to do around educating ourselves and accepting trans people. If a grandparent has a grandchild who is trans, they’ll love them, obviously.
“But how will they be impacted [by discrimination] down the line? The classic expression used to be, ‘Oh, they’ll grow out of it’. Or, ‘It’s just a phase’. I’m not claiming to know anything but just purely and simply from the people I’ve met, you think to yourself, really?”
Few things I love more in life than playing my fiddle – delighted to do so in this very 2020 version of Silent Night – supporting trans children in Chile, with musicians from all over the world. #TransRightsAreHumanRights https://t.co/vMLeecnalk
— Molly Mulready (@MulreadyMolly) December 15, 2020
The Irish Pensioners Choir‘s version of “Silent Night” comes in the wake of bad news for young trans people in England, with a recent High Court ruling that restricts access to puberty-blocking medication for trans under 16’s. Parents of trans kids described the ruling as “cruel“, while one trans teen said it was “devastating“.
The choir wants to raise £1,000 for Fundacion Selenna, which works with families in Chile on empowerment and education, towards a society that celebrates everyone for who they are.
“You’ve got the right people out there doing the doing,” Patrick explained. “I encourage people to give them money and let the people with the skills and talents and abilities do what is required to help trans kids. Anything you’re doing needs money.”