Representatives from various Irish LGBTQ+ organisations are set to meet with gardaí to discuss the rising level of homophobic violence in the country. The move comes following an array of attacks having been reported nationwide in recent months, igniting fear and concern in the queer community.
Outhouse CEO Oisín O’Reilly is among the community group leaders spearheading the discussions. O’Reilly told The Journal that he wrote to authorities on Thursday, June 9, and received a swift response from the Chief Superintendent at Store St. According to reports, representatives from Dublin policing districts and other relevant garda figures will meet with the LGBTQ+ groups next week, ahead of Pride celebrations at the end of June.
Speaking on the importance of the meeting, O’Reilly said that many community members feel “deeply worried” because of the current situation.
“Outhouse is a safe space for the community – we were born out of a need for safety and for the community […] I am seeing fear, anxiety, worry – that sense of ‘can I wear a pride flag, will that make me a target?’”
He added that there seems to be a rise in violence in general in Ireland, which is not always anti-LGBTQ+.
“Some of what is happening is definitely homophobic in nature – someone might be carrying a symbol of the community, with someone noting that while carrying out the crime. And some of it is LGBT people who happen to be a victim of crime that is not related to their identity,” he said.
“My concern as someone working and leading in the queer community is our community has a perception [that] the streets are unsafe.”
As recently as May 16, less than 24 hours before International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), a lesbian couple was allegedly assaulted at a Dublin bus stop, with one of the pair suffering facial injuries. A month previous on April 10, Evan Somers was attacked on Dame St, resulting in a fractured eye socket, fractured and dislocated ankle and other minor injuries.
There were also of course the horrific crimes in Sligo in April, where two gay men, Aidan Moffitt and Michael Snee, were murdered, and another was stabbed in the face. A 22-year-old man has been charged with all three offences that are suspected to have been homophobically motivated.
O’Reilly’s main question for gardaí regarding the safety of the LGBTQ+ community “is what are you going to do to tackle [this]?” The Journal reports. “This is about the prevention of crime in the first place, and how are going to create a climate of safety for LGBT+ people, women, members of the Traveller and Roma communities, and other minorities?” He added that it is essential that action is taken now.
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