International conference on LGBTQ+ policies kicks off in Cork

Ireland's only Rainbow City is hosting this year’s conference with a theme of combatting hate crimes against LGBTQ+ communities.

Cork City council building with rainbow lights projected on it, Cork is hosting the international Rainbow Cities Network Conference.
Image: Twitter @corkcitycouncil

Cork City Council is hosting the Global Rainbow Cities Network conference on LGBTQ+ policies this week alongside Cork LGBTI+ Inter-Agency.

Cork joined the Rainbow Cities Network, a growing network of international cities concerned with LGBTQ+ policies, in 2020. The Rebel City is one of 20 European cities engaged in the EU-funded policy initiative which offers a collective and collaborative approach to improving LGBTQ+ policies.

The first conference was held in Amsterdam in 2013 and this year’s LGBTQ+ rights event runs from January 17-19 in Cork City Hall.


The Global Rainbow Cities Network plays a pivotal role in creating safe and inclusive spaces as many queer people remain subject to violence and hate and many countries continue to struggle to secure LGBTQ+ rights.

This year’s conference theme is Combatting Hate Crime towards LGBTI+ Communities and the keynote address will be delivered by Luna Lara Liboni from the Irish Council of Civil Liberties and Chair of the Coalition Against Hate Crime.


The Lord Mayor Councillor Deirdre Forde stated, “I am indeed honoured to open such an international conference here in Cork City which will meaningfully address policies to tackle discrimination, hate, and inequality consistently faced by the LGBTI+ community.”

With its continued commitment to combatting hate, discrimination, and inequality, Cork is the only Irish city that belongs to the Rainbow Cities Network. What started as a small organisation with only four countries (Amsterdam, Barcelona, Cologne, and Turin) is now the largest professional LGBTQ+ network in the world thriving with 41 members from 22 countries, and it continues to grow every year.

Representatives of Cork’s sister city, San Francisco, are unable to attend due to severe flooding this week, but they recently became the first US city to join the Rainbow Cities Network. San Francisco Mayor, London Breed, will send Cork her greetings via a video message.

Ireland currently ranks 16 out of 49 on ILGA Europe’s LGBTQ+ human rights and equality index 2022. While the Hate Offences Bill is currently undergoing its second stage in the Dáil and will hopefully become law soon, at the moment Ireland still has no legislation protecting all members of the LGBTQ+ community from violence and hate speech.

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