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 questionsabout 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 in advance of the upcoming elections to have their voices heard as the questions will address topics relevant to their own experiences.
Cork’s two LGBT+ NGOs – LINC and the Gay Project – have joined with LGBT Ireland to set out what they see as the LGBTI priorities for the next Government.
Pádraig Rice from the Gay Project shared, ‘We have made significant progress on LGBTI+ rights over the last 30 years. But, our work isn’t done. There are a number of outstanding issues that need to be sorted by the next Government. We need hate crime legislation, full family rights, and better sexual health services. Cork is the only city in Ireland where you can’t get free access to the HIV prevention medication, PrEP. That’s a disgrace.”
Rice continued, “There is the new national LGBT strategy – but we haven’t seen much delivery of that locally. A lot of the dedicated services are in Dublin which makes them hard to access. I want to see better community supports and healthcare services here in Cork. We also have to do more work in supporting parents and families. We need to change the culture in schools and workplaces around bullying. And we have to ensure that everyone in the LGBTI+ community feels included and supported. To do all this we need adequate support.”
Kate Moynihan, the Project Coordinator of LINC said, “It is essential that our next Government address the inequalities that are still experienced by LGBTI+ people. While advances have been made, LGBTI+ people still face discrimination and prejudice eg. LGBTI+ families still need to be legally recognised; hate crime legislation needs to be introduced to address the increasing incidents of homophobic and transphobic violence, and health care for transgender people is completely inadequate.”
Here are the important issues that LINC and Gay Project shared for the upcoming elections:
Hate Speech and Hate Crime
The levels 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 the 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.
LGBTI+ 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 treatments 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.
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