Thursday 23 May 2019

Ireland set for award for support of LGBTI community at World Pride event

Minister Katherine Zappone
Minister Katherine Zappone

Cormac McQuinn Political Correspondent

IRELAND is set to scoop an award for its support of the LGBTI community at the World Pride festival in New York next month.

Children minister and long-time gay-rights activist Katherine Zappone will attend the event to accept the luminary award from the Heritage of Pride (HOP) organisation.

It comes as World Pride marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in the city.

The riots heralded the start of the modern gay rights movement.

The award will recognise Ireland's commitment to protecting LGBTI citizens rights including the 2015 marriage equality referendum.

The HOP hope that it will encourage the citizens of other countries to follow Ireland's lead.

Ms Zappone will be accompanied by ambassadors from the LGBTI+ Youth Strategy when she accepts the award.

She will update TDs and Senators on the strategy this morning and how more than 4,000 young people took part in consultations since it was launched.

She will tell the Oireachtas Children Committee that this process has been "deeply informative".

Her statement says: "Marriage Equality, the Gender Recognition Act and even the fact that we are leading the world again with the youth strategy itself have all led to strong feelings of inclusivity."

"However if our goal is a fully inclusive, equal and fair society – we are not there yet."

She will say that "During the consultations, young LGBTI+ people acknowledged that discrimination and stigma, cases of bullying and harassment and a sense of isolation and exclusion continue."

He she adds that suggestions were made "to deal with these difficult issues including better training for professionals engaging with LGBTI+ young people, enforcing anti-bullying policies and addressing the health and well-being of LGBTI+ young people."

Three goals were identified: The creation of a safe, supportive and inclusive environment; Efforts to improve physical, mental and sexual health; and developing research and data to better understand lives of young members of the LGBTI+ community.

Ms Zappone will say that a cross-government approach will be needed to respond to the shortfalls identified.

She will also refer to the award Ireland is to receive at World Pride saying the country is "now a leading voice, a recognised global leader, for LGBTI+ rights."

Ms Zappone will add: "With this honour comes responsibilities. We are protectors of rights."

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