Vote With Pride highlights the many LGBT+ issues still to be addressed by Irish Government

Last night, GCN and BeLonG To hosted Vote With Pride in which party representatives were asked questions from the LGBT+ community.

Vote With Pride

Yesterday evening, February 4, BeLonG To, and GCN hosted Vote With Pride – a Hustings with an LGBT+ focus.

In advance of Vote With Pride, the LGBT+ community submitted questions for representatives from political parties in regards to their policies and manifestos.

Vote With Pride began with a message from two of BeLonG To‘s youth representatives Andrew and Robert.

Andrew said as a “young transgender, bisexual male” trans healthcare is an issue he finds important.

“At the moment, we don’t have a gender clinic in Ireland we are currently relying on Tavistock. With Brexit happening and the constant threat of things not working out the way we want them to.

“We need to have something that we can fall back on ourselves instead of relying on the UK for everything.”

Robert, who is a first-time voter in this general election, highlighted several issues he finds important, including adequate hate crime legislation.

“As a young queer man, I’ve seen a massive rise in the hate directed towards me and my peers on the streets. From people being spit at to people being attacked to people being called slurs, it’s very disconcerting to know that our hate crime legislation is not up to scratch to deal with this.”

Representatives from seven political parties then answered questions which were submitted from individuals and community organisation.

Questions covered a wide range of issues. BeLonG To asked about the renewal and implementation of the LGBTI Youth strategy.

Senator Fintan Warfield said that “there is a feeling across the LGBT+ community that we’re not seeing the implementation in a speedy fashion.

“It’s a good strategy, but I think the needs of the community constantly change as well.

General Secretary of the Social Democrats Brian Sheehan said Ireland has a history of being good at reports but bad at implementation.

“No strategy gets implemented without resources, and the resources going into the LGBTI community are very poor.

“A lot of people are doing good work across Government departments, but they are doing it as part of another job.

“I think unless we get a dedicated funding across Government departments then actually we’ll always be in that implementation deficit.”

The representatives from Fianna Fail and Fine Gael were asked why gender recognition was left out of their manifestos.

Senator Gerry Horkan from Fianna Fail said:

“I didn’t prepare I’m not the spokesperson on equality, and I’m not the person who prepared the manifesto. I don’t know (…) it’s 150 pages and not everything we would like to do is in it. There are lots of other things that could have made it, but it doesn’t mean that because it’s not there, we’re against it but I can find out.”

Deirdre Duffy, who is running for Fine Gael in Dublin Central, said:

“It’s not in the Fine Gael manifesto and its part of my job and why I’m running in a big centre political party is to bring progressive ideas in and it’s something that I support it.

“I’m a board member with LGBT Ireland, and I’ve worked for many years with TENI, and it’s something that I would like to see into the future in terms of program for the government if they were in government or into the party in the future.”

On hate crime legislation, Eoghan Ă“ CeannabhĂ¡in, candidate for People Before Profit in Dublin Rathdown said:

“There’s an issue here that for the first time since the blue shirts we have the beginnings of an actual far-right movement which is vehemently racist and transphobic but also homophobic.

“Legislation isn’t going to be enough on this; we’re going to have to work as a society to build opposition to this type of politics.”

Speaking on the changes to the Children and Families relationships act, Labour Senator Ivana Bacik said:

“The Children and Families Relationship Act is a hugely important piece of legislation and not to underestimate that it had to be brought through to ensure that we’d get marriage equality passed because it did regularise and it did offer roots to legal recognition for same-sex parents.

“Part of the problem has been the lack of commencement of its provisions, and in fact, that’s the biggest legacy issue. It’s certainly been occupying me from parents and couples who have come to me to look for assistance, and it’s simply the fact that the act hasn’t been fully commenced.

“We’ve committed in Labour to fully commencing it and reviewing the legislation, but it is difficult to construct broader legislation.”

“We do need to do this as a matter of urgency to ensure children and families have full protection.”

The spokesperson for Equality in the Green Party, Councillor Una Beibhinn Power, spoke about transgender healthcare saying that the Green Party are very concerned that there is informed consent throughout the entire process and it’s not there at the moment.

“That needs to be done in line with WPATH guidelines.”

Watch the entire Vote With Pride discussion below.

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

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