Karla O’Brien spoke at Inspirefest of her journey from ‘baby of the year’ to becoming the woman she always wanted to be. With spontaneous applause throughout, O’Brien was eventually cheered off the stage with the audience on its feet.

“Hi, my name is Karla. It wasn’t always, but it is now.” So began the gripping keynote at Inspirefest from transgender Karla O’Brien, which ended with the audience on its feet.

O’Brien, a computer science student at UCD, joked that her peak was 1994 when she won the ‘Johnson & Johnson Baby of the Year’ award, before a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome made her early years a little tricky.

Taking in awkward years at school right through to an eye-opening outing to Berlin, O’Brien’s description of her enjoyment of 2015, and the marriage equality referendum, ends with the audience on its feet.

Words by Gordon Hunt