The launch of ‘Celebrating Diversity’, a new three-year Development Plan, on Monday evening by Cllr Terry O’Flaherty, Mayor of Galway City, and Cllr Peter Roche, Deputy Mayor of Galway County marks a significant milestone in the work to improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Galway City and County.
Highlighted by Ms Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, as a model of best practice, the Development Plan seeks to identify and address gaps in the current provision of supports and services for members of the LGBT community. The Plan has been developed by a broad coalition of community organisations, local authorities and mainstream agencies and is based on a thorough analysis of current community needs.
Among key findings are unacceptable high levels of homophobia and transphobia in Galway with more than eight out of ten respondents in a recent survey having experienced homophobic or transphobic incidents. Findings also suggest that many members of the LGBT community continue to experience social isolation and exclusion because of their sexual orientation, with older people, rural communities, immigrants and young people in the process of coming out particularly at risk.
The coalition of organisations and agencies has identified a number of recommendations to address these issues and a range of other priority needs identified by the LGBT community in Galway. Efforts are focused around five key themes: Health; Community Supports; Safety and Policing; Education and Learning and Transgender Inclusion.
A dedicated LGBT resource space has on several occasions been identified as a priority need and a solution to address isolation by providing an alcohol-free venue for social networking and other vital supports. The establishment of a resource centre was included as an objective in Galway City’s Development Plan for 2011-2017 and the coalition of organisations and agencies has agreed a number of recommendations to progress this objective. As a first step, a public meeting was held Monday evening to coincide with the launch with Ms Bernadine Quinn, Co-ordinator of Dundalk Outcomers, and Mr George Robotham, Chairperson of Outhouse in Dublin, sharing their experiences and providing evidence of the benefits of having dedicated LGBT resource spaces.
The Development Plan will be implemented over a three-year period through to September 2015.For more information, please contact Poul Walsh Olesen, Regional Development Worker on 085-8589115 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit to www.lgbtdiversity.com.
For more information on the workings of the interagency group open the link below