Here are just some of the milestones and highlights for Ireland’s LGBT+ community over the past year.
January 20: Trans Healthcare March Takes Place in Dublin
Hundreds of people marched to Leinster House to petition the government for better access to healthcare for trans people.
January 24: Ireland Says No To TERFs
An Irish feminist collective of over 1,000 individuals signed an open letter to British trans-exclusionary radical ‘feminists’ (TERFs) who planned an event in Dublin stating that they were not welcome here.
February 10: GCN Turns 30
On February 10 1986, GCN was founded by Tonie Walsh and Catherine Glendon.
March 6: LGBT Ireland Launch
The Minister for Children And Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, TD, officially launched LGBT Ireland as a national service provider and advocacy organisation in Dublin’s Mansion House.
March 14: Irish Legislation To Ban ‘Conversion Therapy’ Launched
The legislation aims to prohibit conversion therapy as a deceptive and harmful act or practice against a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and, or gender expression.
April 16: Radical Queers Resist Held Counter Protests Against An Extreme Anti-Abortion Group
Radical Queers Resist, a queer group fighting for change by direct action, organised counter protests in response to an extremist anti-abortion group specifically targeting LGBT+ spaces.
April 23: Maser’s ‘Repeal’ Mural At Project Arts Centre Taken Down By Charities Regulator
The Artistic Director of the Project Arts Centre, Cian O’Brien, was forced by the Charities Regulator to paint over the Maser mural on the wall of the building.
May 26: The Eighth Amendment is Repealed
The Irish electorate passed the referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution. The Amendment, inserted in 1983, recognised the equal right to life of the mother and the unborn child. It forced a situation where women with unwanted pregnancies travelled to the UK for abortions, or bought illegal abortion pills online.
May 31: Dáil Votes To Remove Baptism Barrier
Legislation to remove the controversial ‘baptism barrier’ was passed by The Dáil following a late night debate. The Education (Admission to Schools) Bill outlawed the Baptism Barrier which allowed the Church to insist a child be baptised before they could be admitted into Catholic primary schools.
June 1: Thousands March To Demand Marriage Equality In Northern Ireland
Over 20,000 people took to the streets of Belfast to call on Theresa May to legislate for marriage equality in Northern Ireland.
June 1: Michael D Calls For Greater Respect Around Gender
Delivering the Sixth Annual Harri Holkeri Lecture at Queen’s University, he said, “We have to get gender issues right. We have to pay attention to sex education so people of different genders and fluid genders can look forward to living.”
June 5: Belfast Hosted First Ever Trans Pride Rally In Ireland
Hundreds attended a trans pride rally held in Writer’s Square in Belfast and organisers have already begun organising next year’s event to make it “twice the size”.
June 7: Dublin Pride Launched Reimagined Pride Guide
The Dublin LGBTQ Pride Guide 2018 took on a more editorial feel with interviews and stories from the community. Dublin Pride’s 2018 theme ‘We Are Family’ was celebrated throughout the 124 pages.
June 20: An Taoiseach Made An Emotional Apology To Thousands Who Were Convicted For Being Gay In Ireland
The Government issued an official apology to those affected by the criminalisation of homosexual acts in Ireland, legislation that was repealed 25 years ago in June.
June 22: Ireland Reach The Eurovision Finals
Ireland got through to the finals of Eurovision for the first time since 2013 and although Ryan O’Shaughnessy’s bid was unsuccessful, the performance of his song ‘Together’, which featured a gay couple dancing, was praised for its inclusivity.
June 22: Motion To Further Include The Trans Community In Women’s Council Of Ireland Unanimously Passed
The motion was proposed by BeLonG To and seconded by TENI. It was brought forward by trans activist and Grand Marshal of Dublin Pride 2018, Sara R Philips.
June 24: PrEP Programme Announced For 2019
At the same event in Dublin Castle, Leo Varadkar also announced that the HSE is developing plans and guidelines for an access programme for PrEP as part of the sexual health strategy.
June 24: 25th Anniversary of Decriminalisation
At an event in Dublin Castle marking the 25th anniversary of decriminilisation, Leo Varadkar told an audience of 700 that “work has begun” to expunge the criminal convictions of those prosecuted for homosexuality saying “an apology is just an apology, we want to go further and exponge those convictions as well.”
June 28: Vicious Attack On Married Couple In Laois Prompted Urgent Calls For Hate Crime Legislation
After Gui and his husband Collie were savagely beaten in a homophobic attack, calls came for inclusive hate crime legislation to convict those guilty of homophobic and transphobic attacks. NXF board member Adam Long said that securing the enactment of comprehensive Hate Crime legislation is a major priority for the National LGBT Federation, and they will continue to campaign and lobby on the issue until Ireland is brought into line with comparable countries.
June 29: Minister Zappone Pledged €400,000 Per Annum For Action On The National LGBTI+ Youth Strategy
At the launch of the Youth Strategy, Minister Zappone pledged the funding and said all government departments were unilaterally on board to support the implementation.
July 2: Parade Doubled In One Year As 60,000 People Attend Dublin Pride
Over 60,000 people took to the streets to celebrate the Pride parade in Dublin including former President Mary McAleese and her family, as well the Defence Forces who took part for the first time ever.
July 3: Teen Released Without Charge For Throwing Brick At Pantibar
A man in his late teens was been released without charge after causing “criminal damage” to Pantibar after he threw a brick threw a window of the bar with the words ‘Píteoga Amach As Eireann’ which literally translates to ‘Fairies out of Ireland’.
July 5: Amendments to the Children and Family Relationships Act are approved
The amendments came over three years after the Marriage Equality Bill was passed. Although welcomed, they don’t go far enough for many same-sex families as they do not encompass surrogacy.
July 30: 1,000 People Joined First Ever Dublin Trans Pride
Trans activists and allies took to the streets for the first ever Trans Pride Dublin to protest the numerous struggles still being fought by the community.
August 10: Team Ireland Triumphed At Gay Games
Team Ireland competed in the tenth international Gay Games and brought home numerous medals and personal bests.
August 23: Rainbow Choir Held Peaceful Protest Outside WMoF Congress
The rainbow choir was co-organised by Ursula Halligan, who is part of the group ‘We Are Church’. Their application to attend the Congress of WMoF was ignored by organisers.
September 3: GCN Launched Petition as Panti Vowed To March Down O’Connell Street Next Pride
A petition was launched, asking An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to ensure that from next year on, Dublin Pride should have the right to march on O’Connell Street instead of being diverted to the side streets. It currently has 9,243 signatures and will be sent to the Taoiseach’s office when it hits 10,000. Sign the petition now.
October 3: ‘Raise The Roof’ Rally Protesting Housing Crisis Took Place In Dublin
The rally was organised in response to the escalating housing crisis, a growth in the number of people forced into homelessness and untenable issues within the private rental market.
October 5: Simon Harris Introduced Bill Legalising Abortion Services In Dáil
The bill was largely welcomed by TDs, though many voiced concerns over the 72-hour waiting period.
November 9: NXF Launched LGBT Migrants Report
The National LGBT Federation released the results of their migrant survey. The report made a number of recommendations to policy makers including a need to facilitate greater access to mental health services for LGBT+ migrants; LGBT+ cultural competency training for all public service employees; an end to the system of Direct Provision and a review of the asylum application process.
November 11: Michael D Higgins Re-Elected as President of Ireland
President Higgins used his re-election ceremony to call out those who used words to stoke the fire of bigotry. He reminded onlookers that ‘Words matter. Words hurt. Words empower. Words can divide’.
November 20: Trans Day of Remembrance Held
Events took place across Dublin to mourn the lives lost to transphobic violence.
November 27: Study On LGBTI+ Youth Homelessness Launched By BeLonG To And Focus Ireland
This research is the first of its kind in Ireland and will document LGBT+ people’s experience of homelessness.
November 28: Five Irish Party Leaders Took Rapid HIV Tests
Five party leaders from the Green Party, Labour Party, Social Democrats, Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil took Rapid HIV tests at an event organised by HIV Ireland.
December 1: Leo Varadkar Became First Taoiseach To Publicly Take A HIV Test
To mark World AIDS Day, Leo Varadkar released a video in partnership with GCN in which he took a Rapid HIV test to encourage others to get tested regularly and reduce stigma.
December 4: Marriage Equality Pioneer Ann Louise Gilligan Had Lecture Hall Named In Her Honour
Dublin City University named a lecture hall after the late Ann Louise Gilligan, the beloved marriage equality campaigner and wife to children’s minister Katherine Zappone. Gilligan passed away last year after a brief illness.
December 5: Irish Government Missed Deadline To Grant Equal Parental Rights To Same-Sex Parents
The Government missed its own deadline to provide LGBT+ women who are same-sex parents the same parental rights as their straight counterparts. Amendments to The Children and Family Relationships Act were due to come into effect at the beginning of December but having missed the deadline they have once again been pushed back, for the sixth time.
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