LGBTQ+ youth in Ireland seeking support amid increased climate of fear, Belong To reports

With the rise in reported hate crime, Belong To's new annual report showcases high numbers of LGBTQ+ youth seeking support.

Belong To annual report launch press picture.
Image: Julien Behal for Belong To

At the launch of its 2022 Annual Report, today, May 25, Belong To revealed that high numbers of LGBTQ+ young people in Ireland are seeking support amid a climate of increasing fear. In the last year, the national LGBTQ+ youth organisation reports that youth workers carried out 2,395 interventions with queer youth.

Moninne Griffith, CEO of Belong To, says: “For the LGBTQ+ community, the world around us seems more unsafe every day. Recently, we have witnessed horrific violence and hate inflicted on members of the LGBTQ+ community in Ireland. The impact of this on the young people in our service is palpable, with requests for self-defence classes and a high number of LGBTQ+ youth seeking support.”

This data goes hand in hand with a report by the An Garda Síochána that shows a 29% increase in reports of hate crimes and hate-related incidences in 2022.

Amidst this rise in hate crimes, Belong To has been there offering crucial aid to young members of the LGBTQ+ community, as it has done for the two last decades. The organisation has grown to encompass everything from support services and training to education and advocacy, with Griffith assuring that these services will remain standing for a long time to come.

“I believe that when we face challenging times like these, it is in coming together and connecting that we see real, progressive change,” she stated.

“At Belong To, we are working to reach through misinformation and polarisation to help people understand the life experiences of LGBTQ+ youth.

“Through our work, we call people in and help them understand that behind Tweets and viral comments, there are real human beings whose worlds can be shattered by discrimination and hate. We have been here for LGBTQ+ youth for 20 years providing life-saving services, and we won’t stop as long as they need us,” she added.


Attending the launch today, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman TD, also remarked on the 20 years of activism, saying: “2023 marks an important milestone for Belong To. Much has been accomplished in the last twenty years of Belong To and as we look forward, their work to create a better future for LGBTI+ young people at school, a future where they feel safe, equal, and valued, is as important as ever.”


A small part of that future is the new Belong To Rainbow Award, an LGBTQ+ accreditation programme for youth services in Ireland. With the aim to support an organisational approach to being a safe, supportive and inclusive service for LGBTQ+ youth, staff and volunteers, youth services must meet different criteria to qualify for accreditation.

The goal of the programme is for more youth services to become fully inclusive of LGBTQ+ young people.

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