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.
We are so excited to launch our 2022 Annual Report today! 🌈
We pride ourselves as being trustworthy as an organisation. We are transparent in our work, how we operate & in our governance.
Check out the screen-version of our Annual Report below ⬇️https://t.co/4dXM6MYHCm pic.twitter.com/HBToRaNWZm
— Belong To (@Belong_To) May 25, 2023
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.”
We are at the Mansion House for the launch of the 2022 Annual Report by @Belong_To with Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth @rodericogorman. pic.twitter.com/jCVZxRGgg5
— Gay Community News (@GCNmag) May 25, 2023
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.
© 2023 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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.
comments. Please sign in to comment.