DISCRIMINATION is being experienced by the vast majority of Clare’s LGBTQ+ community, a new survey has found. In research conducted by a number of local agencies, including the Clare Public Participation Network (PPN), as part of the LGBTQ+ Clare project, 70% of those who responded reported facing discrimination because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.
An online meeting will take place later this month as a forum for members of the community to share their views and experiences and address a sense of isolation, which a majority of respondents also reported. Another major issue of concern that emerged from the research is the need for social outlets and supports. 80% of respondents said they would like more opportunities to connect with community members. Over half of all respondents did not feel sufficiently connected and supported in their community.
One of those who gave her views to researchers said, “I would love a way to meet other LGBTQ people in Clare and just talk to them, to see if they have the same worries or thoughts that I do”.
Other concerns that emerged from the research included a need for education concerning sexual orientation and gender identity in schools and other spaces; improved visibility and support from the wider community; access to healthcare, particularly sexual orientation and gender identity focused mental health supports; and the creation of a confidential helpline for those struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“I was delighted to see the amount of interest there is in setting up a group here in Clare, it will be fantastic to see it come to fruition in the coming months,” said Meabh Sexton of LGBTQ+ Clare. One of the survey’s other authors, Njabulo, a South African who lives in Clare, observed that for LGBTQ+ migrants can be a difficulty in knowing whether they are safe and respected in the Banner County because of the lack of any visible presence such as support groups, pride events or LGBTQ venues.
An online meeting has been scheduled for April 22, to plan collective solutions for some of the issues raised in the research. Anyone from the LGBTQ+ community in Clare wishing to attend the event can email email@example.com to receive an invitation. More than 50 people from across Clare took part in the online survey, which was conducted during March, as part of a short-term project called LGBTQ+ Clare.
LGBTQ+ Clare is a short-term project run jointly by Clare PPN, Clare Women’s Network, Clare Local Development Company and Rape Crisis Midwest. It is supported by The Department of Rural and Community Development and Clare County Council.
Further survey details can be viewed on Clareppn.ie.