Transgender farmer from Cork shares story on TV

Cork farmer Erica Coates features on Ear to the Ground on RTÉ this week, writes John Dolan
Transgender farmer from Cork shares story on TV

TRANSITION PLANS: Erica Coates features on Ear To The Ground on Thursday

A 65-YEAR-OLD farmer from Kildinan in North Cork, Erica Coates, although assigned male at birth, never felt comfortable with that identity. Now she is setting out on the path of transiting from male to female.

In the next episode of Ear To The Ground on RTÉ1 at 7pm on Thursday, Ella McSweeney spends the day with Erica to find out more about her journey.

Erica shared her story with Chris Dunne in The Echo last year. She revealed how it was only when she plucked up the courage and took the plunge in July, 2019, confiding in a friendly make-up assistant, that she announced she was transgender.

“I never felt like a boy,” said Erica, who said she was amazed at the tremendous goodwill and messages of support conveyed to her after speaking about it on Liveline last year.

She appeared on the Joe Duffy show, offering helpful advice to a transgender young man experiencing delays for his endocrinologist appointments.

“All my neighbours were listening in to Joe Duffy,Erica told The Echo in 2020. “I wasn’t aware of the discussion until a friend rang me and told me to listen in. She said ‘turn on the radio quick — there is somebody on struggling with gender issues.’”

I wasn’t keen to talk on air, but I was always born and bred to help people if anyone had a problem. So when I was asked to give a positive message, I did my best. If I could save one life, I knew it would be worth it.

“The young man on the radio was struggling with gender issues most of his life, causing depression and anxiety. I was keen to help the caller.”

Erica is a celebrity in her neck of the woods and said after she went public. “Some of the neighbours came and hugged and kissed me!”

Also on Ear To The Ground, Darragh McCullough travels to the dairy heartland of Cork to find out more about the future of the national herd. At the start of November, the Climate Change Advisory Council signed off on Ireland’s first carbon budget.

Once adopted by the Oireachtas, this will become policy and will have a massive impact on Irish farming over the coming decade as it attempts to cut emissions by between 22 and 30%.

But, Darragh asks, how can this be achieved without reducing the national herd? He also looks at environmental schemes on the Inishowen peninsula.

Plus, Helen Carroll asks how the future looks for Irish agriculture as farmers grapple to come to terms with emissions reductions on Irish farms.

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