With the upcoming elections on February 8, many LGBTI+ community support groups have announced the most important issues they want the Government to address. In a new series during the lead up to polling day, we will share the priorities of those groups to keep readers informed of what problems and issues the community still face in 2020.
Alongside BeLonG To, GCN will also be inviting party candidates to answer questions about issues which matter to the community during a #VoteWithPride Hustings live on Facebook on February 4 at 7pm. The discussion is an opportunity for the LGBTI+ community to have their voices heard as the questions will address topics relevant to their own experiences.
LGBT Ireland, the national organisation which aims to improve the lives of LGBTI+ people across the country, have circulated their Recommendations and Priorities for Government strategy document to all candidates for the upcoming elections. It lists a number of key issues that require national and state attention.
Paula Fagan, LGBT Ireland CEO, shared “this election has the potential to set the political agenda for the next decade and it is fundamentally important that all politicians and soon to be legislators be aware of the issues and then work to end this discrimination through national policies and essential legislation”.
Fagan explained the need for a strategic approach to tackle discrimination and called for the two existing plans; the National LGBTI+ Youth Strategy 2018 to 2020 and the LGBTI+ Inclusion Strategy 2019 to 2021, to be fully resourced and implemented by the next Government.
Here are the important issues that LGBT Ireland shared:
Hate Speech and Hate Crime
The level of hate Speech and hate crimes against LGBTI+ people are significant and on the rise, therefore it is imperative that the next Government urgently progress effective legislation to combat incitement to hatred and hate crimes.
Measures to support LGBTI+ victims are also needed alongside the establishment of an on-line system for reporting of LGBTI+ hate crime.
LGBTI+ Family Rights
In 2020, LGBTI+ headed families remain unequal, with many families facing another decade without hope of legal rights or recognition.
To achieve this, the next Government need to progress comprehensive legislation that reflects the reality of Assisted Human Reproduction (AHR) in the 21st century, including providing for AHR procedures undertaken abroad, retrospective recognition for children already born and home insemination.
Legislation needs to be developed to prohibit the promotion or practice of conversion therapy in Ireland. These ‘therapies’ are dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Young LGBTI+ people are especially vulnerable, and an outright ban is needed to ensure we protect them.
LGBT+ people in the Asylum Process
With LGBTI+ people continuing to face widespread persecution, imprisonment and even death in many countries around the world it is imperative that our International Protection process and Direct Provision system are supportive and sensitive to the experiences and needs of LGBTI+ people.
To achieve this, the next Government must end Direct Provision and replace it with a system which focuses on Reception Centres that adhere to national standards which include strong independent oversight and enforcement mechanisms.
To protect the personal autonomy and bodily integrity for people born Intersex, legislation needs to be developed to prohibit the practice of involuntary, non-urgent surgery and other medical treatment on intersex persons without the effective and informed consent of those concerned.
To support trans, non-binary and intersex young people across Ireland to have access to the legal documents that reflect their true gender, there is an urgent need for the full implementation of the Gender Recognition Review Report 2018. A healthcare service that meets the needs of the LGBTI+ population is imperative and this includes:-
Training of all healthcare staff to deliver LGBTI+ inclusive care.
Tackling waiting lists for Trans healthcare through the rollout of services that meet international best practice standards, with a clear pathway from child to adult services.
In advance of the upcoming elections, LGBT Ireland and its membership organisations will be holding a series of regional briefings for GE candidates and they urge all of those running in these constituencies to attend and hear the issues. Visit their website for more information and don’t forget the #VoteWithPride Facebook live event on February 4.
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