Welcomed support as multiple Irish LGBTQ+ community initiatives receive funding

TENI, Sexual Health Centre and SWAI have all announced the launch of new initiatives and funding today that will benefit Ireland's LGBTQ+ community.

LGBTQ+ community initiatives

A number of new initiatives that will benefit Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community have been announced today, December 9.

New E-learning platform to be launched by Minister for Children

The Sexual Health Centre’s new E-learning platform for those supporting the education of young people will be launched tomorrow (Wednesday, 9th December) by Minister for Children, Disability, Equality, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman TD. ‘WISE Online’ was created by Sexual Health Promotion Officers, Phil Corcoran and Muire O’Farrell of the Sexual Health Centre, to assist professionals in facilitating and responding to questions on sexual health and relationships from young people.

A major hurdle in effective sexual health education is the recorded discomfort in delivering the information – be it youth workers, teachers or parents. People have concerns about discussing topics like sexual identity, relationships and pornography with students, and more often they fear they will not be fully equipped with up to date and accurate information. This is a sentiment shared by many, including parents and carers. WISE Online was developed in response to these concerns.

The WISE (What; Information; Support; Engagement and Education) tool supports professionals in addressing questions and turning comments that may be flippant or uncomfortable into useful teaching moments. Phil Corcoran noted that “it is crucial that educators have a comprehensive toolkit so that they can deal with young peoples’ questions and concerns in an informed, inclusive and non-judgemental manner. Our hope is that when people have completed the WISE Online modules, they will feel more equipped, comfortable and confident when dealing with young peoples’ queries and delivering information relating to sexual health”.

The modules within the online platform can be completed at the participant’s pace in their own time. WISE Online participants will be presented with a series of questions and statements relating to relationships, contraception, sexually transmitted infections, HIV, pregnancy, gender and sexuality. The WISE tool is then applied to each question and statement, in order to equip educators with responses to young people’s queries.

Muire O Farrell highlighted the comprehensive nature of the platform and its utility for educators:

“Participants will be provided with a suite of resources relating to each topic in the form of text, images and video content. On completion of the modules, professionals will have access to a PowerPoint presentation to assist in their delivery of sexual health education with young people. They will also be provided with a facilitation guide and resources to support their programme delivery. As sexual health educators, we understand that it can be a daunting area for teachers and youth workers, so we encourage participants to get in touch with us if they need any support.

Derry O’Donovan, Deputy Principal of St. Brogan’s College in Bandon shared that they “were delighted to be selected to be the pilot school for the Sexual Health Centre’s WISE E-learning platform. We believe that access to education in the area of sexual health and well-being is an inherent right of every young person and it is core to their intrinsic development. The programme provides a roadmap with excellent resources so that educators can be confident that the manner in which they address issues is age-appropriate, in line with NCCA guidelines and evidence-based”.

The WISE E-learning platform is funded by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. It will be launched at the Firkin Crane in Cork city at 2.30 pm with a panel discussion and demonstration of the platform. Free registration to join the launch via Zoom is available at www.sexualhealthcentre.com/events. A recording of the launch event will be made available at www.sexualhealthcentre.com. For further information on the WISE programme, please contact the Sexual Health Centre at 021-4276676 or [email protected].


University of Limerick, Irish Research Council, TENI, and CAROLINE celebrate the release of the Gender Identity and Gender Expression in Schools E-Resource

The Transgender Equality Network of Ireland, in partnership with the University of Limerick co-funded by the Irish Research Council and Marie Sklowdowska-Curie Actions CAROLINE programme, are proud to share the release of the Gender Identity and Gender Expression E-Resource for Second-level Schools. This e-resource has been designed to support second-level school staff in learning about gender identity and expression and ensuring that schools are inclusive of young people who are trans and gender diverse.

The e-resource is divided into sections with accompanying worksheets in a workbook that can be completed in multiple sittings. Topics explored in this e-resource are silence and invisibility, uniforms, bathrooms, sports, names and pronouns, bullying, curriculum, coming out, steps to take in facilitating a young person’s transition and support groups. Grounded by findings from a two-year long research project with trans youth, parents, educators and wider education stakeholders, each section provides useful short educational videos, impactful quotes from trans and gender diverse young people, suggested actions for change as well as links to wider supports and resources.

The e-resource is designed to work in tandem with the school-based training and supports offered by TENI. Ideally, this e-resource would be completed by individual second-level school staff, especially those working directly with trans and gender diverse students, and then staff would come together as part of a team or whole-school exercise to discuss further and develop an action plan.

Hannah Solley, Family Support and Education Officer at TENI and partner on the e-resource development team, and Vanessa Lacey, Health and Education Manager at TENI said:

“TENI are grateful to Dr Ruari McBride for undertaking this research project and to all of the participants without whom this research wouldn’t have been possible. We would like to thank Dr Aoife Neary for all her hard work and support in creating this resource. TENI are also thankful to the CAROLINE programme, the Irish Research Council and the University of Limerick for making it possible. The research findings directly correlate with experiences that TENI encounters through our work. This confirms that a deeper level of understanding, awareness and engagement is needed from the education sector in order for trans and gender diverse students to feel respected and
accepted. We understand that in order for students to feel supported, schools also need support, and that is why this e-resource is such a fantastic initiative. A perfect opportunity for proactive engagement and to learn practical, helpful information.”

View the Gender Identity and Gender Expression E-Resource for Second-level Schools on the web here.


SWAI Recieve first Irish funding

€1.3 million was announced today, December 8, by Rethink Ireland from Innovate Together 2020 COVID Fund in the second round of funds to 20 projects nationwide in the community and social enterprise sector, for their innovative response to COVID-19.

As part of this round of funding, 20 projects from all over Ireland are receiving cash grants from €20,000 to €200,000. The areas of innovation include Sustainable Ireland, Economic Recovery, and Community Outreach.

Front-line, sex worker-led organisation Sex Workers Alliance Ireland (SWAI) were awarded €20,168 for their Peer-Led Sex Worker Outreach Programme. SWAI represents some of the most marginalised and vulnerable people in Ireland.

Writing on Twitter, SWAI posted that they are pleased to receive what is their first Irish funding.

“We are SO pleased to announce that we are the recipient of the Innovate Together Funding! This funding is the first Irish funding we have received! We are excited that ReThink Ireland have listened to some of the most marginalised people in Ireland.

“Our Peer Led Sex Worker Outreach programme is unique in Ireland. Centring the voices of those affected and championing our leadership is vital to make lasting change.”

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