GBTQ+ people of colour in Cork face multiple discrimination, finds new report

A new report launched by Cork's Gay Project explores racism amongst the GBTQ+ community in Ireland.

Iris Aghedo, Thomas Heising (Researcher), Leo O’Mahony, Ailsa Spindler (Gay Project Co-ordinator) at the launch of the Crossroads Report. The four people are photographed in a park with a pink and blue building in the background. They are holding a white card with the report logo.
Image: Aoife O'Leary

To mark Zero Discrimination Day 2022, Gay Project Cork has launched the Crossroads Report, ‘a 2021 study on discrimination towards GBTQ+ people of colour in Cork, Ireland’.

Funded by Cork City Council and the Department of Rural and Community Development, the report has been compiled from data gathered by researcher Thomas Heising in an attempt to look at the lived experiences of, and attitudes towards, racialisation and discrimination of GBTQ+ people of colour.

In his research, Thomas conducted interviews with GBQT+ people of colour living in Cork to analyse their experiences around navigating queer spaces, encountering notions of whiteness, stereotyping, experiencing and dealing with discrimination, queerphobia, racialisation and more.

Through the interviews, participants revealed concerning experiences of racialisation and xenophobia across a wide range of settings including in nightclubs, in the workplace and even on the street. These experiences were also divulged in the context of dating.

Accounts from participants included hearing discriminatory comments such as “you’re too black to be Irish”, assumptions that “every coloured person is looking for a visa”, and general racist slurs. One particular participant described how an incident involving a group of racially abusive youths had left him in fear of leaving his house for almost a week afterwards.

Another troubling issue highlighted by non-EU participants was their hesitancy in reporting discrimination or hate crimes to the Gardaí. This lack of confidence to approach Gardaí was primarily out of fear of compromising their immigration status. 

The findings of the research were not all negative though. In a number of accounts, interviewees described how they had felt more accepted after moving to Cork than they had in other parts of the country. 

They also acknowledged the positive impact of services, supports and social initiatives provided by the Gay Project. One participant also noted the lifesaving support that they had received through the Sexual Health Centre.

Whilst some participants spoke of finding much-needed kinship in the one LGBT+ Cork City bar after moving to the city. The research demonstrated a vital need to create spaces that would primarily cater for GBTQ+ people of colour, where they can express themselves and actively seek seclusion from othering attitudes in primarily ‘white’ LGBTQ+ spaces.

In launching the Crossroads Report, Gay Project Coordinator, Ailsa Spindler said, “We are delighted to launch this important report. It shines a light into an aspect of society which has been ignored for too long – the multiple discrimination faced by people who are both queer and of colour.”

The full Crossroads Report is available to read here.

© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

Support GCN

GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.

During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.

GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.

0 comments. Please sign in to comment.