The LGBTQ+ educational charity, ShoutOut, is celebrating 10 years of service.
ShoutOut was founded in 2012 when a group of LGBTQ+ university students began considering why their collective school experiences had been so difficult. Together, they imagined a future in Ireland where young people would be able to enjoy their secondary school experiences free from bullying or isolation. They established ShoutOut with a mission to tackle homophobia and transphobia.
Today, the organisation is sustained by LGBTQ+ volunteers who deliver workshops in secondary schools across Ireland with a commitment to improving the lives of LGBTQ+ youth. They train teachers and youth workers to empower LGBTQ+ voices and lead discussions promoting positive change within their communities.
In the past decade, ShoutOut has led over 2,250 student workshops that have reached 67,500 students across Ireland. Volunteers provide a safe space for students to ask questions and they respond to their questions with honesty, expertise and personal stories that build empathy and understanding. After completing these educational sessions, students are equipped to tackle harmful LGBTQ+ stereotypes and address misinformation surrounding queer identities.
Unfortunately, despite Ireland’s progress over the past ten years, homophobic and transphobic bullying is still a common experience for LGBTQ+ students. ShoutOut’s work remains critical for young people as their Executive Director, Ruadhán Ó Críodáin, shares,
“For a long time, it felt as though things would only keep improving for the LGBTI+ community. That feels a little uncertain in 2022, because with change we’ve also seen pushback. This year in particular we’ve witnessed a worrying rise in homophobic and transphobic attacks, and a blaze of explicitly anti-transgender rhetoric in the media.”
Being on the board of @ShoutOut_IE is always a joy, especially doing so alongside a brilliant bunch of people.
But today it felt extra special as we celebrated 10 Years of ShoutOut with so many volunteers, supporters and friends.
— Craig Dwyer (@DwyerCraig) November 9, 2022
ShoutOut’s Annual Report outlines the organisation’s successful school workshops, teacher trainings, events and conferences from 2022. This year, ShoutOut worked with 70 schools across 15 counties and expanded their services to develop sports workshops and workplace workshops. They also created a guide for parents of LGBTQ+ youth which offers information about gender expression, tips for how to talk with young people about queer identities, and ways to build supportive, LGBTQ+ inclusive homes.
In honour of their 10-year anniversary, ShoutOut is launching a major fundraising drive to meet the demand for their services which is greater than ever before. Ó Críodáin says ShoutOut is asking for community support, “to elevate ShoutOut’s story and promote positive conversation and progress for LGBTQ+ young people.”
After 10 years of service, ShoutOut recognises that students have the power to create a better experience for their LGBTQ+ peers, and educators and students who have participated in the workshops consistently share that they promote “kindness and respect” within the LGBTQ+ community.
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