Tánaiste Micheál Martin recently responded to a question posed in the Dáil about the safety and protection of Irish citizens living or travelling to the US amid the current crackdown on LGBTQ+ rights. Since the beginning of the year, Republicans all over America have introduced anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, with one of the latest developments seeing Florida trying to expand its infamous ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law.
According to the latest reports, state lawmakers in the US have introduced more anti-LGBTQ+ bills in 2023 than they have in the past five years, in what has been described as a “war against LGBTQ+ people in America”. The bills include, among others, bans on gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth, restrictions to students learning about LGBTQ+ subjects in schools and limitations to drag performances.
This situation prompted TD Cian O’Callaghan to ask Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin about the safety of Irish LGBTQ+ citizens who live in or visit the US. Martin responded to the question, saying: “Promoting respect for human rights is one of the core principles of Ireland’s foreign policy. This includes respect for the human rights of those who identify as LGBTI+.”
He went on to say that he was “deeply concerned by the alarming and accelerating global pushback on LGBTI+ rights” and stated that “Ireland’s Embassy and Consulates-General provide consular support to Irish citizens visiting and living in the United States and, in this regard, closely monitor the legislative landscape at the state and federal levels for potential impact on Irish people resident or visiting.”
The Minister added that he was aware that “certain state legislatures have recently introduced bills which would, if enacted, undermine the rights of LGBTI+ people,” and said: “My Department is actively monitoring developments and will provide assistance and support to Irish citizens who need it.”
Ron DeSantis plans to expand Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law to all grades, including high school. Right now the law covers kindergarten through third grade, fourth through twelfth grades would be added. pic.twitter.com/2WDQiFC4h4
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) March 23, 2023
Some of these harmful anti-LGBTQ+ bills have already become law in parts of the US, such as Florida, where the so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill was signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis in March 2022. The legislation currently bans classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, but the Republican-led state legislature plans to expand its scope to all school grades.
The expansion has already been approved by Florida’s Department of Education and will be voted on by the country’s Board of Education on April 19. If approved, it will prohibit teachers from discussing LGBTQ+ issues and identities with students through to their final year in high school.
The move comes as DeSantis prepares for his expected presidential bid, which will bring him face-to-face with former president Donald Trump for the Republican nomination. The Florida Governor’s politics focus on carrying on a battle against a supposed “woke” ideology and have infringed on LGBTQ+ rights on multiple occasions.
“Everything he does is about what can further his own career ambitions,” said Brandon Wolf, press secretary of the LGBTQ+ group Equality Florida. “And it’s clear he sees the anti-LGBTQ movement as his vehicle to get him where he wants to go.”
© 2023 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.
During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.
GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.