New podcast 'Invisible Threads' reflects on the journey of Ireland's LGBTQ+ elders

The many hardships faced by Ireland's older members of the LGBTQ+ community is shared in a new podcast series from LGBT Ireland, 'Invisible Threads'.

Split screen of 3 of the guests at Invisible Threads podcast

To mark International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, Biphobia and Intersexphobia (IDAHOBIT), the wonderful folk at LGBT Ireland have launched a new podcast series, Invisible Threads.

Invisible Threads is an eight-part series consisting of interviews with older members of the LGBTQ+ community about their lived experiences.

Invisible Threads is one of the initiatives of LGBT Ireland’s LGBT Champions Programme. The aim of the LGBT Champions Programme is to increase the visibility, respect, awareness and knowledge of the issues facing LGBTQ+ older people, specifically in health and social care settings.

In their annual report which was released on May 10, LGBT Ireland highlighted the work they have continued to deliver during the pandemic.

In a year that highlighted the vulnerability of older people in Irish society and the need to support older LGBTQ+ people directly.

It was identified that social distancing and a lack of physical contact was leading to a rise in anxiety and isolation, with many older LGBTQ+ people feeling cut off from friends and family.

In response, LGBT Ireland launched the Older and Bolder online community, a moderated Facebook group that created a safe space for older LGBTQ+ people experiencing isolation or loneliness.

Throughout 2020, 260 members plus used the group as a source of support and friendship. Group events included a weekly online coffee event, film screenings, cooking and gardening demonstrations.

The Champions Programme also includes a broader objective of creating a more mainstream understanding of the specific issues facing older LGBTQ+ people.

LGBT Ireland’s LGBT Champions Programme Manager, GoLoud Podship recipient and host of ‘Invisible Threads’ James O’Hagan said:

“Through my work on the LGBT Champions Programme, which aims to transform our health service to a more inclusive welcoming service for older LGBTI+ people, I learned first-hand of the incredible challenges faced by older members of our LGBTI+ community. I wanted to find a way to tell their stories and I cannot express how proud I am of Invisible Threads and of the 8 amazing people who were brave enough to share their stories with me, and the world.”

Commenting on the series, Paula Fagan, CEO of LGBT Ireland said “We have seen over the past number of years the transformative power of storytelling in changing attitudes and creating a more inclusive society. This platform, and the opportunity to shine a light on such an invisible population, will do untold good.”

The 8-part series was the winner of the inaugural GoLoud Podship, after James O’Hagan’s podcast pitch for ‘Invisible Threads’ was selected by an expert judging panel. The GoLoud Podship, the first of its kind in Irish media attracted hundreds of applicants.

Kiela Brodigan, GoLoud Director said: “The annual GoLoud Podship was developed to identify and provide a platform for original podcast content – stories and conversations that may not otherwise be heard. We’ve been blown away by the response, the talent and creativity that’s out there is something to behold. Our GoLoud Podship winner ‘Invisible Threads’ is a story that needs to be told and listeners to the GoLoud app will connect immediately with the empathy and passion that James has woven through this series. This is just the beginning of GoLoud’s ambition when it comes to creating and supporting original podcast content for the GoLoud app”.

Queer Podcasters should keep their eyes out for the GoLoud Podship 2021 which opens on 31st May. The successful GoLoud Podship recipient will win a bursary worth €20,000 including access to in-house studio facilities, production support and a heavyweight launch marketing campaign.

Listen to episode one of Invisible Threads on GoLoud now.

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