Research shows surge in number of young people coming out since #MarRef result

61% those surveyed want to see improvements to their mental health

Ireland, gay, coming out, marriage equality, surge, BeLonG To, Moninne Griffith, LGBT+

Image: BeLonG To

New research has revealed a surge in the number of LGBT+ young people coming out in Ireland following the marriage referendum last year.

The data, released by BeLonG To, found 53% of all respondents say they know someone who has come out for the first time since the vote.

Some 39% of those respondents who identify as LGBT+ said they spoke to someone for the first time about their sexuality because of the confidence the Yes vote gave them.

The term 'LGBT+' is a new term used by BeLonG To following feedback from its members, who say they prefer to identify with this term.

The survey was made up of over 1,300 14 to 23-year-olds of all sexualities and gender identities across Ireland.

Lack of support

However, the findings show 62% agree that those who have just come out do not know where to turn for help and support.

While 61% of all young people surveyed want to see improvements to their mental health.

BeLonG To say this demonstrates a "serious lack of support" for LGBT+ young people when they first come out.

The report also shows a huge disparity between the experiences of heterosexual young people and those of LGBT+.

The group says the Yes vote has created a mistaken impression among some heterosexual young people that life is better for LGBT+ people now, when this research proves this is not the case.

Some 31% of heterosexual young people believe that equality for LGBT+ people has been achieved and we should move on to other issues.

In comparison, only 7% of LGBT+ young people believe we have achieved equality and believe we should move on.

Homophobic bullying

It also shows that while the Yes vote was a milestone in LGBT rights, there is still an enormous amount of work to do. 56% of all young people agree that homophobic or transphobic bullying has not stopped since the referendum.

Of those respondents that identify as LGBT+, 55% say their daily life has not changed much since the referendum and 35% agree that the marriage referendum helped LGBT adults - but not them.

Moninne Griffith is the executive director of BeLonG To.

"History was made when the Irish people said yes to marriage equality a year ago. But there is more work to do to achieve the Ireland we voted for last May".

"It is about equality in our everyday lives, it is about a change in our culture. We celebrate along with the happy couples who have benefited from marriage equality so far this year and their families and friends".

"However, we know from the young people we work with everyday, that sadly their daily lives are broadly unaffected by the referendum".

"They are still experiencing bullying, isolation, mental health issues and are struggling without the right support. We need to keep saying YES to young people who need support services and make sure those services are well funded", she added.

Image: BeLonG To

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald added: "I stand proud of the Irish people who came together and voted with their hearts last summer and changed Ireland forever. We took an extraordinary step forward for justice and equality for all citizens".

"However, we cannot assume that equality has been achieved and the job is done. While the future is secured, the present can still be a frightening place for LGBT+ young people. We need to keep saying Yes to supporting young LGBT+ people".

And Children's Minister Katherine Zappone commented: "The Yes result last year was an amazing achievement, but we must not rest on our laurels".

"There is so much more work to be done to make Ireland a better place to grow up LGBT+".

"As the newly appointed Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, I look forward to working closely with BeLonG To to help deliver the LGBT Youth Strategy committed to in the Programme for Government".