More than half of LGBT people that live in rural areas of Northern Ireland feel compelled to move to cities, a new report has revealed.
The findings by The Rainbow Project, also showed that 43% of respondents said their sexual orientation was at least partly related their desire to move.
The survey explored the lives of LGBT people living in rural areas of Northern Ireland and their interaction with services, as well as social acceptance.
As well as being more likely to move to urban areas and less likely to be ‘out’, it found that LGBT people in rural areas are more likely to experience depression and hear homophobic or transphobic language on a daily basis.
A quarter of participants also said they had heard or received homophobic language from teachers.
Northern Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Michelle O’Neill, said she would try to improve equality for LGBT people in rural areas.
“I am fully committed to equality and my officials will continue to work closely with the Rainbow Project in taking forward key issues relevant to LGBT people especially when it comes to improving their quality of life in rural areas,” she said.
Director of The Rainbow Project, John O’Doherty said: “This report further shows the inequalities experienced by LGBT people in Northern Ireland in terms of health and wellbeing, crime, homelessness, education and employment.
“While inequalities are experienced by many within our community there are specific increased inequalities experienced by LGBT people living in our rural communities, namely; invisibility and lack of, or unwillingness to access, key health and wellbeing services.”
“It is clear that we have more work to do to ensure visibility of LGBT people and services in rural communities.”