Scottish trans advocate Danielle Robins, 21 found dead

A well known Scottish trans advocate is dead and by all accounts she was happily transitioned. But there is something deathly wrong with the UK's treatment of trans people.

Gender Recognition Act

Danielle Robins Facebook

Scottish trans advocate Danielle Robins, aged 21 was found dead in her Dundee city centre apartment last Sunday. Robins had been seeking treatment through the NHS for the past five years, according to the evening Telegraph. There was no mention of foul play by police.

Her mother Cath Ollenberg was quoted by The Tab as saying: “You were my son, my daughter, my friend… but most of all you were my baby child.

“I can’t imagine life without you in it… my hope and prayer is that you found your happiness and may you rest in peace.

“My heart hurts so much I am so proud of all you achieved in your short life. Goodnight my sweetpea, you took a piece of my heart with you so we will never be apart.”

Dad Keith Robins added: “My beautiful, beautiful daughter. I love you so much. Sleep peacefully, nothing and no-one can hurt you now xxx.”

Her death was shocking especially shocking as Danielle Robins was the president of Abertay University’s LGBT Society and had just been published on 22nd of July in the Evening Telegraph saying.

“Everybody I’ve met has been tolerant and respectful. I’m lucky to have family, friends and a girlfriend who all support me.  This has led to me fully embracing my sexuality and gender identity.

But was there was something so wrong, something she perceived as too overwhelmingly impossible to negotiate?

Her interview on the Telegraph was presented in conjunction with the Equality network report which “sends a clear message about the huge scale of change still needed before LGBT people will have full equality in Scotland.” which reads in part.

97% of LGBT people in Scotland have personally faced prejudice or discrimination, including 79% within the last year and 49% within the last month alone. Incidents reported by LGBT people ranged from homophobic, biphobic and transphobic comments and attitudes (82%), to acts of verbal (68%), physical (16%) and sexual abuse (7%), crimes against property (12%), and discriminatory treatment when accessing services (25%) and in employment (24%).

The report finds that as a result, a majority of LGBT people in Scotland still ‘never’ or only ‘sometimes’ feel able to be open about their sexual orientation or gender identity with their own family (52%), at work (60%) or when accessing services (71%), for fear of the prejudice they might face. 43% of LGBT people in Scotland have moved, or considered moving, to live in a different area or out of the country altogether because of the discrimination that they have faced, and in order to live somewhere more accepting of LGBT people.

This is in stark contrast to ILGA-Europe equity index which rated Scotland the best country in Europe for respecting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.

While not knowing the cause or reason of Danielle Robins death I need to point out…

The ILGA-Europe index doesn’t give sufficient weight to the issues facing UK’s trans people just to have their gender recognized. This human right is the very cornerstone that must be in place in order to have a chance, just a chance at a fulfilling life.

There’s an online petition which you can only sign if you live in the UK asking that parliament enact a gender recognition act similar to the one just passed in Ireland. It reads:

Transgender people in the UK are forced to pay to prove their identity to a Gender Recognition Panel. This process is humiliating, outdated and unnecessary. We urge the government to introduce an act equivalent to the Irish Gender Recognition Act, and allow trans* people to self-define their gender.

Having your gender recognised by the Gender Recognition Panel requires trans* people to go to pointless expense – whether requiring them to pay administration fees (and having to go through the lengthy and underfunded NHS gender transition system) or paying to attend a private clinic to receive the required evidence as well as paying to be seen by the panel.

Petition the UK Parliment and government: Allow transgender people to self-define their legal gender.

Leeah asked us to #FixSociety but we can’t do that if we ignore or depreciate issues facing trans people.

Leelah tweet

Editor in Chief at

Kelli Busey an outspoken gonzo style journalist has been writing since 2007. In 2008, she brought the Dallas Advocate on-line and has articles published by the Reconciling Ministries Network, The Transsexual Menace, The Daily Kos, Frock Magazine the TransAdvocate, the Dallas Voice and The Advocate. Kelli, an avid runner is editor in chief at Planet Transgender which she founded in 2007.

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