A groundbreaking LGBT+ public education and awareness campaign has been welcomed by a local Councillor who has been affected by homophobia.
Call It Out, a joint initiative of the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) and the Hate and Hostility Research Group at the University of Limerick, aims to shine a bright light on the sometimes visible, often hidden phenomena of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia and the corresponding impact on Ireland’s LGBT+ community.
A recent research survey revealed that while people in Ireland feel positive towards sexual orientation and gender diversity, they underestimate levels of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.
Over 80% of the people who participated agreed that lesbians and gay men, bisexual people and transgender people should be free to live their own lives as they wish.
Respondents also expressed high levels of comfort with having LGBT+ people as neighbours.
Of the 1395 people who took part in the survey however, only a minority believe that LGBT+ people in Ireland are at serious risk of violence because of hostility towards their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Just over a third of people (36%) believe that violence against the LGBT+ community is “a serious problem” in Ireland.
These findings contrast sharply with the reported lived experience of LGBT+ people in Ireland.
Research published in 2016 by leading Irish LGBT+ organisations found that 1 in 3 LGBTI people had been threatened with physical violence, while 1 in 5 had been punched, hit or physically attacked in public during their lifetime due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Despite recent positive changes for LGBT+ people in Ireland, many still experience harassment and intimidation simply because of who they are.
Commenting on the Call It Out campaign, local councillor Francis Timmons says
’ Having been affected by homophobia I am glad to be part of the Call It Out campaign
“We need to send out a very clear message to the LGBT+ community that homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are not acceptable.
“We need to educate everyone that this type of behaviour is wrong and hurts people and creates fear in the LGBT community.
“Everyone should be proud of who they were born to be without fear of attack, hate or assault.
“Very often we get so used to insults that we just become use to them.
“I am glad we are now calling it out and saying it is no longer acceptable.
“No one should be living in fear of being ridiculed or made feel less due to their sexuality ’’
Ellen Murray, campaign spokesperson for TENI, said:
“LGBT+ people still live with a background of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia as a result of their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
“For many it feels like it is part of being who they are.
“We want to send a clear message that homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are not acceptable.
“To the general public, we ask that you call out homophobia, biphobia and transphobia when you encounter them.”