Workplace equality and violence top concerns for Irish gays and lesbians

Jessica Geen November 13, 2009
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A nationwide survey of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people in Ireland has found that their top concerns are equality in the workplace, anti-gay violence and bullying.

The National Gay and Lesbian Foundation (NGLF) surveyed 1,100 gays and lesbians to ask their their priorities.

The research, titled Burning Issues, found that the most important thing for respondents was being able to work somewhere where they could be open about their sexuality or sexual identity without facing discrimination.

The second most important issue was homophobic violence. This ranked at 8.2 on a scale with one being least important and ten being the most important.

Young gay and bisexual men rated this as their top concern.

Dr Sean Denyer, report co-author, said: “Violence against any individual or group cannot be tolerated. The fact that young gay or bisexual men ranked this as their number one issue reveals the extent of the problem and highlights why the establishment of a taskforce is so urgent.

“Homophobic violence has lead to deaths in Ireland, it has resulted in the hospitalisation of countless men and women. The government must take steps to stamp this out forever.”

Trans respondents said their top priority was workplace equality but ranked access to health services as their second most important concern.

Ailbhe Smyth, chair of the NGLF, commented: “Significantly, it is clear from Burning Issues that transgender people are particularly disadvantaged specifically in relation to equality and support. While transgender people ranked equality rights at work as number one in keeping with the report findings, they listed health and mental health services as number two instead of violence.

“This gives us a clear message that transgender people feel that existing provisions are limited and must be made fully accessible.”

Marriage equality was ranked at number three for gay people, while support for younger people and those coming out followed.

In a section which allowed respondents to give qualitative answers, far more were concerned with equal marriage rights than civil partnerships. They also raised the issues of lesbian and gay parenting rights and support services for those living outside Dublin.

More: Europe

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