President Higgins calls on Ireland to continue supporting the LGBT+ community

David Stanton TD also pointed out that marginalised groups are increasingly vulnerable during the current pandemic.

President Higgins, an older man with white hair and glasses, smiles for a photo

On Sunday, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, President Higgins called on Ireland to continue supporting the LGBT+ community.

President Higgins shared, “We are invited to renew our resolve to combat the violence and hate that homosexual and transgender people continue to experience. On this special day, we are all to join the great movement of people who advocate and campaign for, and seek to achieve the vindication of, the human rights of lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex people.

“It should concern us all that many LGBTI+ people in Ireland continue to experience stigma and discrimination on a daily basis. Equally concerning are new reports which have highlighted the fact that some countries in Europe are falling behind in their commitments to equality for LGBTI people.

“The Covid-19 crisis has also affected the LGBTI+ community, deepening a sense of isolation and marginalisation that many members of that community already experience.

“The Irish people have, in recent years, shown their support for LGBTI+ equality. Many support structures have been put in place, legal obstacles have been gradually removed, and awareness of LGBTI+ rights has increased significantly. As President of Ireland I invited all of our citizens to support and build on these initiatives.

“However more can, and must, be done if we are to craft an Ireland in which there is real equality. A real republic is one where no-one is in danger of being humiliated, vulnerable or threatened because of their identity.

“So today is a day for renewed commitment to working together towards a peaceful, just and inclusive society shaped to fit our citizens in all their wonderful diversity.”

David Stanton, Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration, in his own statement added, “Evidence confirms that marginalised groups are increasingly vulnerable during an emergency. During this current global Covid-2019 pandemic, many LGBTI+ people can feel more at risk due to rural isolation, loneliness, separation from peers, anxiety, health issues and domestic violence. It is now more important than ever not to retreat back into silence, but in this time of emergency to allow LGBTI+ voices to be heard, particularly during the planning and implementation of our response to Covid-19.”

The statement continued, “My Department will very shortly announce the membership of the National LGBTI+ Inclusion Strategy Committee. The Committee will progress the 108 actions outlined in the Strategy, taking into account the issues and needs highlighted during Covid-19 to ensure fundamental changes for the better in the lives of LGBTI+ people.”

Speaking on President Higgins statement, LGBT Ireland shared, “We welcome President Michael D Higgins’ statement to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT). President Higgins has long been an ally to the LGBTI+ community and his vision of a more inclusive Ireland, free from stigma and fear, is one that we will continue to work towards.

“LGBT Ireland’s Annual Report, released on Thursday, shows that stigma is still the greatest barrier faced by our community. We hope that this IDAHOT will mark a turning point where we, as a country, take real, meaningful steps to address the rise in hate crimes committed against members of the LGBTI+ community while also celebrating the progress we have made.

“We are proud of how Ireland has stepped out of the shadows of its past to begin to embrace all who live here and proud of how far our journey has taken us. We believe that the people of Ireland will continue to stand beside their LGBTI+ friends and family as we create a country that is safe and welcoming to all of us.”

© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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