A transgender singer has spoken out to highlight the importance of LGBTQ Pride month.
Darragh Jan McGann said she concealed her true person for 47 years for fear of hurting her deeply religious family and friends.
Ms McGann is transitioning to female through hormone replacement therapy after deciding last September she had to be true to herself.
However, the singer – who has released multiple successful albums and was once praised by Marlon Brando – warned that Irish society needed to learn from Pride month to offer kindness, acceptance and equality to all.
Ms McGann is known as “The Singing Taxi Driver” in her home town of Cobh, Co Cork, and has performed with Brian Kennedy, the late Cara O’Sullivan, Mary Byrne and Tony Kenny over the years.
Beatles producer George Martin once approached her Jan after a performance to urge her to stick with her career.
However, she said she takes greatest pride in having found the courage to reveal her true self to the world.
“Last August, following many years of hiding and denial, I finally found the courage to face my reality and at the age of 47 I came out to my mum and family as a transgender female,” she said.
“I knew who I was on the inside since I was a child but was so afraid of rejection.
“But the reaction of my mum really blew me away. At age 86 she was able to tell me she always knew I was different.
“The support I have received for the most part has been fantastic. However, a recent experience really upset me.
“I have been attending a hospital since 2016, ever since I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Last September, I spoke with my medical team and shared my news and they were so happy for me.
“In November, when I received my Gender Identity Certificate (GIC) officially recognising me as female, I asked the hospital to amend my records to reflect my gender as female and also my pronouns of Ms/She/Her.
“This past week when I attended the hospital, to my shock I discovered that my records had been altered and my gender was changed back to male and pronouns to Mr/He/Him. I went back to the person who had been dealing with me and I questioned this.
“The person referred to me as being ‘one of those’ and said ‘I didn’t look very feminine’. I was absolutely devastated. Is it not time to educate people and not tolerate ignorance?”