Dublin Lesbian Line research finds that specific education for Gardaí is needed to combat sexual harrassment faced by LGBT+ women

Dublin Lesbian Line have launched groundbreaking research exploring sexual harassment experienced by LGBT+ women.

Dublin Lesbian Line

Dublin Lesbian Line last night launched Empowering Change, which is the first ever Irish research project into the sexual harassment of LGBT+ women.

The research was conducted by Laura Louise Condell of Dublin Lesbian Line and was funded by the Community Foundation of Ireland. DLL conducted this research to publicly recognise and challenge sexual harassment of LGBTQIA+ Women*.

For the purpose of this research, sexual harassment included unsolicited and unwanted sexual language and behaviour. DLL conducted focus groups with LGBTQIA+ female participants of varying ages and identities who shared their experiences of sexual harassment in a safe space. They also conducted a survey in order to get a picture of the kinds of sexual harassment, if any, women* in the wider LGBTQAI+ community experience. The survey was developed using findings from 3 focus groups into this topic.

Key Findings of the survey

  • 71.5% of respondents said they have felt uncomfortable or unsafe holding hands with an LGBTQIA+ partner because of the reactions they get.
  • 47% of respondents said they have felt uncomfortable or unsafe dressing a certain way to express their gender identity
  • 37.5% of respondents said they have felt uncomfortable or unsafe because of the reactions they get from being an identifiably queer or butch woman.
  • 83% of respondents have seen or experienced unwanted sexual attention relating to their LGBTQIA+ identities online, with the majority having witnessed homophobic, transphobic and biphobic comments and posts.
  • 80.5% of respondents who have tried online dating said they have experienced unwanted sexual attention or language when identifying themselves to others as LGBTQIA+
  • 23% have experienced being deceived by people who want to talk to bisexual women or lesbians only for sexual gratification.

The top three suggestions for solving the problems surrounding sexual harassment of LGBTQAI+ Women were, increased visibility of different LGBTQIA+ identities, specific Hate Crime legislation and education for the Gardaí on specific issues LGBTQIA+ Women* face and consent awareness.

When discussing the key findings of the research Laura Louise Condell, principle researcher of the Empowering Change Research Project, said, “These results show that fear and concern for safety is a huge barrier for LGBTQIA+ Women* when it comes to expressing their identities; whether it be in public, in the workplace, and even in places which are supposed to be safe for our community such as LGBT+ bars and nights. We hope that by drawing attention to this issue we can start empowering people to name and safely challenge sexual harassment when they witness or experience it.”

Dublin Lesbian Line Acting Coordinator Niamh Grennan said, “as a support organisation, one of the things Dublin Lesbian Line are most aware of is the impact of sexual harassment on LGBTQIA+ Women*. We hope that through the Empowering Change Project people will feel more empowered and supported to express themselves when they experience sexual harassment. Whether it is by calling a helpline for anonymous support or talking to someone you trust acknowledging and talking about these feelings can help”.

Empowering Change was funded by Community Foundation Ireland and was supported by The Tara Building, LGBTQ+ 20s30s Ladies*, Running Amach and Papercutt Designs.

See the full summary of results here.

*Women is inclusive of all people who identify as female, or people who align with female spaces and identities.

If you were affected by any of the issues highlighted in this article you can reach out to the following:

Dublin Lesbian Line

T: 01 8729911 | W: www.dublinlesbianline.ie/

LGBT Helpline

T: 1890 929 539 | W: www.lgbt.ie

TENI Helpline (Transgender Support)

T: 085 147 7166 | W: www.teni.ie

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre

T: 01 661 4911 | E: [email protected] | W: www.drcc.ie/

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