“This weekend last year was an extraordinary and joyful weekend for LGBT people, their families and indeed all of Ireland, when with great generosity, Irish people voted that their lesbian and gay children, brothers and sisters, family members, friends and community members should be equal citizens and equal in our Constitution for the very first time” said GLEN co-chair Kieran Rose.
“The referendum result has had a profound and positive impact all across Ireland, and has rippled across the world. Many LGBT people have a new confidence in their status amongst their families and friends, and in their status in Irish society. 412 couples have married, thousands of LGBT people are planning to marry, and hundreds more couples have had their foreign marriages automatically recognised” said Rose.
“However, there are still significant challenges yet to be overcome to ensure that all LGBT people are safe. There is an urgent need to tackle the remaining barriers that LGBT people face in being who they are” said Rose
Recent research has shown that many LGBT people experience high levels of bullying, harassment and violence which makes it difficult to come out and to live openly. These experiences have a very significant impact on mental health and wellbeing. Irish LGBTI teenagers report twice the level of self-harm, three times the level of attempted suicide and four times the level of severe and extremely severe stress, anxiety and depression as their peers.
The LGBTIreland Report a national study of the mental health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people was published recently. It found that a majority of those over 26 were doing well, but that a very significant number of those under 25 did not experience the same levels of positive mental health and wellness.
“The next few years are crucial. The new Programme for Government includes measures to address the issues for LGBT youth and to tackle outstanding discrimination and inequality. Comprehensive and robust implementation of actions across all Government departments, particularly Education, Youth Affairs and Health, and with other key stakeholders – employers, schools, the Gardai, local authorities – are necessary” said Rose.
“The goodwill and determination of Irish people to see LGBT people treated equally is a critically important platform on which to ensure that LGBT people are accepted, protected and supported in every aspect of Irish life – in our families, our schools, our workplaces and our communities. That is what Irish people voted for and what we now need to deliver” said Rose.