Just over a year after Marriage Equality was bestowed upon Northern Ireland, the city of Belfast may be getting a hub specifically for the LGBTQ+ community.
The request for a queer-friendly hub was directed at Belfast City Council Chief Executive Suzanne Wylie, and without conflict or contention, the council committee approved financial aid for the feasibility study.
There is not yet an exact cost for the undertaking, but the decision will be put forward to the full council next week for formal approval.
“The need for an LGBTQ+ Hub to support the LGBTQ+ community has been developed over many years,” reads the letter of request, signed by representatives from HERe NI, The Rainbow Project, Cara-Friend and Transgender NI.
It's been a rough year, hasn't it?
We're excited for next year being better, and we're fundraising to reopen our unique trans community centre & continue our work at @belfasttransrc!
— TransgenderNI (@TransgenderNI) October 19, 2021
“…No central government funds have ever been dedicated to addressing the needs of, or inequalities experienced by, LGBTQ+ people in the last 20 years,” the letter goes on to say, highlighting some of the many reasons why Belfast needs this LGBTQ+ hub.
“For many years LGBTQ+ organisations have rented buildings which quickly become not fit for purpose, due to the continued increase in demand for our services and our limited capacity to cover rent and overheads, as all organisations receive little or no core funding. With the development of a fit for purpose LGBTQ+ Hub, the cost of rented premises could be invested in addressing the needs of LGBTQ+ people in the Belfast area.”
Something we three have been working on for some time. Our LGBT+ Community has no permanent home in Belfast – we're working to change that. We need more LGBT+ folk elected to City Hall to work with!
— Cllr. Séamas de Faoite (@SeamasBelfast) November 1, 2021
Those who penned the letter of request believe that an LGBTQ+-friendly hub would be nothing but beneficial to Belfast city, directly impacting “tourism, city branding and international image, safety, inclusion, equality and promote Belfast as a city for all.”
“This building will also act as a shared space for everyone in Belfast to celebrate, engage with and learn about the LGBTQ+ community,” the letter declares.
“A dedicated LGBTQ+ space will be a landmark project relating to the ongoing regeneration of Belfast city centre, and stand as a beacon of diversity in a city with a strong history of LGBTQ+ activism.”
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