Louth teenager Ruairí Holohan will be advocating LGBTQ+ rights for school students today during this week’s UN General Assembly in New York. The Drogheda native is a UNICEF youth advocate and will be speaking on LGBTQ+ rights for young people at the assembly in partnership with the World Health Organisation.
While attending the United Nations Transforming Education Summit in New York, Holohan will focus on mental health and the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. Ruairí, now 17, has been nominated to take part in the UNICEF Youth Advocates Mobilization lab, joining like-minded activists.
Today, September 20, he will speak at a special event focused on mental health promotion, response and support in schools and learning environments. This event will take place at the UNICEF House in New York.
Holohan will be joined by Dévora Kestel, Director of the Mental Health and Substance Use Department at WHO, as well as the Queen of Spain Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano.
Speaking about the event earlier this week, the Louth teenager said: “I’m here this week to talk about what a quality education really means. What is an education if it doesn’t provide you with a space to learn about yourself, and your own mental health?”
Speaking about the young activist, UNICEF Ireland executive director Peter Power: said “Ruairi has an inspirational and timely message. He believes that all children, no matter their background, should get the support they need at school.
“All young people have a right to have a voice on issues that affect them, and it is critical that we listen and explore ways schools can have a positive impact on preventing discrimination and bullying of LGBTQI+ children.”
This live-streamed event is organised by UNICEF, the World Health Organisation, UNESCO and the Government of Thailand. It aims to urge world leaders and donors to ensure that every child enjoys the right to education while also promoting mental health and well-being.
When he was just 15, Holohan met with Taoiseach Micheál Martin to discuss avenues to help LGBTQ+ people in the republic.
The remarkable young activist, who previously also met with Taoiseach Micheál Martin, has established himself as a dynamic campaigner for queer rights since he came out as gay at the young age of 13. He has dedicated his time as an activist to call out the threat of violence that queer youth face, as well as the stigma that permeates Irish society.
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