In the midst of their Pride celebrations, Cork hosted the launch of the first-ever all-island LGBTQ+ professional network, Work With Pride Ireland. The organisation had its official unveiling on July 20, hosting its first-ever conference on July 28.
The theme of the conference was ‘Proud to Be’ and included opening speeches from Councillor John Maher, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Taoiseach Micheál Martin. The event took place at Cork City Hall and ran for over three hours, hosting a variety of speakers from the LGBTQ+ community.
“I think it is important to note the power that symbols have day to day. We have a significant symbol in our City with the new Pride crossing. Symbols & what they denote can show how welcoming a company is and how inclusion can be a reality, not an illusion” @WorkWithPrideIE pic.twitter.com/SV0EYSKcr6
— Cllr. John Maher (@jmaher0) July 28, 2022
Government speakers talked of introducing a new hate crime bill, with stricter legislation for aggravated assaults that take place because of race, gender or sexual identity.
The Taoiseach also emphasised the importance of protecting Trans rights, drawing on the current rollback and anti-trans developments that have been steadily emerging from the United States.
“Our Trans brothers and sisters, daughters and sons often face exceptionally difficult journeys and personal circumstances. I feel it’s very important that the manner of any public debate about the issue does not make that journey than it already is.”
“Acceptance, generosity and respect are key qualities that we must continue to embrace. Irish people, and Cork people, in particular, are kind and generous people. I am confident that this is the approach that they favour too.”
Panel speakers commended Work With Pride, acknowledging that its development represented the great strides Ireland has taken in terms of LGBTQ+ rights. A number of businesses, big and small, have proudly come forward to support Pride.
Another keynote speaker was Trans rights activist Saoirse Mackin.
An uncomfortable but vital conversation on the fearmongering that drives transphobia and the physical, emotional and financial cost of being transgender. Much gratitude due to @SaoirseMackin for sharing their personal experiences #WorkWithPrideIE @EDIMTU @MTU_ie pic.twitter.com/AgTq49wGf4
— MTU_AthenaSwan (@MTU_AthSWAN) July 28, 2022
“Being transgender or gender fluid is not a new western creation. Native American culture has two-spirit people. India has hijras. There are muxe in Mexico and bakla in the Philippines. These are all some form of Transgender or gender fluid identities.
“Our culture made a deliberate attempt to erase these people’s identities. The fight for Transgender rights goes back a long time.”
“Many people tell us that our struggles are new, that our fight is new and we will have equal rights, we just need to be patient. But history shows us that we’re not new, it’s our history that has been forgotten.”
“We never went extinct. We were always there. We were oppressed to the point where it became almost impossible to live our lives the way we felt comfortable.”
“There is misinformation from right-wing media and politicians about the ‘dangers’ of Trans people. They’ve created a discourse that cisgender women aren’t safe in a bathroom with a Trans woman.”
“This is an intentional attempt to drive fear and transphobia towards Trans people.”
Work With Pride is an Irish-based, not-for-profit LGBTQ+ organisation. The network’s goal is to host regular events for members and guests that will educate and support members, both personally and professionally. They also aim to provide a forum for members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies.
If you would like to join Work With Pride Ireland or keep up with their events, more information is available on their website, WorkWithPride.ie.
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