To celebrate International Coming Out Day 2021, BeLonG To Youth Services have launched a new series of videos to raise funds for the organisation.
The series shares the coming out stories of four well-known community campaigners, including; feminist and LGBTQ+ activist, Ailbhe Smyth; Leinster rugby player, Jack Dunne; Glow Up contestant and drag queen, Michael Ryan; and BeLonG To CEO, Moninne Griffith.
Coming out, either to yourself or others is a common experience shared by all members of the LGBTI+ community. We collaborated with a host of well-known LGBTI+ personalities this year to share their coming out stories ?https://t.co/eigmDDchuE pic.twitter.com/mhUkfG8AT9
— BeLonG To Youth Services (@BeLonG_To) October 11, 2021
In launching the campaign, Griffith said, “Even today, in a post-marriage equality referendum Ireland, it’s still tough for young people to come out. Just like generations of LGBTQ+ people who have come out before them, young people today worry about rejection, negative reactions, bullying and worse. In fact, ‘coming out’ is still the number one issue faced by LGBTQ+ young people who access our services for support.
She went on to explain the benefits of coming out but is also quick to emphasise that this can only be done when a person is ready in their own time and nobody should feel pressured to come out.
“Coming out can reduce some of the stress and anxiety many people feel when they are hiding part of themselves. Saying that we always remind LGBTQ+ young people that they don’t need to tell anyone until they are ready. Come out when you are ready, and you feel safe to do so.”
In a tweet highlighting the valuable work that BeLonG To does and the importance of the campaign, Ailbhe Smyth said, “ I came out in a very different Ireland – not at all a kind place. But for all our progress, coming out can still be pretty tough and having support, understanding and love is so important.”
I came out in a very different Ireland – not at all a kind place. But for all our progress, coming out can still be pretty tough and having support, understanding and love is so important. Which is why I ? @BeLonG_To ? #LGBTIQ #TransRights #LesbianRights https://t.co/1FZSjZnGzo
— Ailbhe Smyth (@ailbhes) October 8, 2021
Established in 2003, BeLonG To Youth Services is a national organisation supporting LGBTQ+ young people. The organisation advocates and campaigns on behalf of LGBTQ+ youth and offers specialised services including information, support, crisis counselling in partnership with Pieta, and the provision of LGBTQ+ youth groups across Ireland. It aims to create a world where young LGBTQ+ people are equal, safe, and valued in the diversity of their identities and experiences.
Griffith also stated, “In BeLonG To you will meet other young people and youth workers who will support you on your journey to being out and proud. With this International Coming Out Day video campaign, we hope to raise funds to continue our vital support services and be there for LGBTQ+ young people and their families when they need us.”
According to a 2016 report by BeLonG To and GLEN (Gay and Lesbian Equality Network), LGBTQ+ young people are twice as likely to self-harm, three times more likely to consider suicide and four times more likely to experience stress, anxiety and depression, when compared with their non-LGBTQ+ peers.
Members of the LGBTQ+ community are invited to donate to the charity the amount reflecting the age they came out at via BeLonG To’s site, online here.
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