Galway-based tattoo shop AWOL Tattoos are due to hold a mass tattooing event, dubbed a “Big Gay Charity Flash Day,” with all proceeds going to Teach Solais LGBT+ Resource Centre.
An announcement in March that Teach Solais would likely be forced to close its doors this November due to a lack of funding triggered an outpouring of grief from the LGBT+ community. Teach Solais is the only resource centre available for the LGBT+ community in the West of Ireland.
The centre, run by AMACH! LGBT Galway, provides vital services including peer support groups, the Galway branch of the LGBT Helpline, free HIV testing by AIDS West and countless social and wellbeing events.
The centre has launched a GoFundMe page in order to raise the €18,000 needed to continue operations. Despite the huge support received so far, its fundraising goal has yet to be met.
The tattoo artist behind the project, Ciaran O’Brien, posted on Instagram to announce the planned fundraiser, saying “Teach Solais LGBT+ Resource Centre is the first of its kind in the west of Ireland, and is a vital safe space for the LGBT+ Community. Ran and founded by Amach! LGBT Galway, It is a great hub of activities, support, education, resources, information and events for the LGBT+ community in galway city and the west.
“Teach solais will sadly have to close its doors if they don’t reach their 18k goal. As they receive NO GOVERNMENT FUNDING !!! Leaving many many people who rely on its services with nowhere to go!”
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FRIDAY THE 17th OF MAY! BIG GAY FLASH DAY @awoltattoos all proceeds going to @teachsolaislgbt ! I heard about the work of @teachsolaislgbt when I was searching for an lgbt charity to raise some funds for by doing a flash day I originally intended on doing by myself. To break some stigma around people who are hiv positive being tattooed! Just like any other customer it’s fine! But lots still don’t know! Teach Solais LGBT+ Resource Centre is the first of its kind in the west of Ireland, and is a vital safe space for the LGBT+ Community. Ran and founded by Amach! LGBT Galway, It is a great hub of activities, support, education, resources, information and events for the LGBT+ community in galway city and the west. Teach solais will sadly have to close its doors if they don’t reach their 18k goal. As they receive NO GOVERNMENT FUNDING !!! Leaving many many people who rely on its services with nowhere to go! On my last visit to @awoltattoos I just so happened to tattoo one of the centers workers @leesac92 Who told me more about their work. Immediately I knew that @teachsolaislgbt Was the charity I wanted to raise some money for ! Anything towards their 18k goal would do! After hearing about my plan. All of @awoltattoos were on board ! So come may 17th myself @awoltattooer @johnnytrendkill @lorcanbigfoottattoo @niamhxgannon @steve_hession And more to be announced, will tattoo all day and donate everything to @teachsolaislgbt To help them reach their rent. And stay open ! We will have a flash sheet to choose from and all designs will be set at €50 but you’re welcome to pay as much as you want ! I will also post a link to their gofund me in my bio so if you can’t make it on the day you can donate ! All donations no matter how small or big are welcomed ! And please share ! No matter how big or small your following is And let’s try keep them doing amazing work ! And SAVE @teachsolaislgbt More details on the day to be announced! And some other news involving the lovely people at @clubgass And @majorfader12 too! Follow everyone tagged above to keep up to date !
O’Brien originally intended to run the “Big Gay Charity Flash Day” alone, but later chose to grow the event by getting colleagues involved. He describes how, having been looking for an LGBT+ charity to raise funds for, he happened to find himself tattooing a Teach Solais staff member one day and get talking about the centre’s work. He knew immediately that Teach Solais was the charity to support, and the rest of the AWOL Tattoos team were delighted to get on board.
The team will tattoo all day on Friday May 17, with all proceeds going to Teach Solais. There will be a flash sheet of tattoos to choose from, with all designs set at €50 – though organisers welcome any extra donations in support of Teach Solais’ important work.
“They work with all members of the LGBT+ community from young gays being kicked out of home for being themselves to older gays forced back into the closet in fear of nursing homes,” O’Brien says of the resource centre. “Teach solais is like an oasis for these people who would be forced to travel to Dublin for help if they have to close. I’m fortunate to work a well paying job and even I find the travel expenses hard, never mind a young homeless gay. I think us city gays don’t realise how good we had it coming out, for those in rural Ireland they rely on these type of places!”
A further aim of the event is to break down the stigma around those who are HIV Positive getting tattooed. “Just like any other customer it’s fine,” says the artist behind the endeavour, but many people still don’t know that. The artists at AWOL Tattoos aim to create an inclusive environment where all customers feel comfortable.
Further announcements involving Club Gass and alternative barber Major Fader are promised, and those interested are encouraged to follow those involved on social media for updates.
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