21 years after the opening of Dundalk Outcomers, new LGBT+ support group Outcomers Drogheda had its official launch last night at the Westcourt Hotel. The packed event attracted locals and politicians as well as LGBT+ activists such as Brendan Fay and CEO of TENI Stephen O’Hare.
An independent not-for-profit organisation, Outcomers provides a “confidential drop-in space, information, integration & advocacy” for LGBT+ people in the Drogheda area.
Although they officially launched last night, Outcomers Drogheda was established in January. This allowed their governance to be in place and volunteers fully trained before the group opened its doors to the Drogheda public.
The launch saw an array of speakers and local singer-songwriter Saidhbhin Gorham provided music for the event. Mayor of Drogheda Paul Bell asserted his alliance to the LGBT+ community on the night by highlighting the necessity for “people that are coming to terms with their sexual identity do so in a supportive environment and have access to guidance and support on a confidential basis.
“There is unfinished business to be done before we can declare that all citizens enjoy full equality before the law in this Republic and I as Mayor support you in this battle.”
Similarly, CEO of LGBT Ireland Paula Fagan touched upon the value of decentralised LGBT+ safe spaces throughout the country: “since the Marriage Equality Referendum in 2015, still there’s only a handful of services around the country that are in people’s communities where they can go to … now people in Drogheda, they don’t need to leave the town anymore.
“There’s a service now for them and they can get the support they need and the support really does make a huge difference to people’s lives.”
This was emphasised once again by Anthony Kinahan in the powerful statement “and while it’s great to have Dublin & Dundalk just down the road, they can feel like a million miles away when you’re feeling vulnerable”.
Outcomers Drogheda is managed by a volunteer-led Executive Committee of eleven members, of which Anthony is chair. The organisation pledge to provide a safe space for all LGBT+ people, regardless of their identities and backgrounds.
© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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