LGBT community calls for hate crime legislation in Ireland

A study carried out by the National LGBT Federation shows that 'sexual and gender acceptance' is a top concern

LGBT community calls for hate crime legislation in Ireland

Minister David Stanton at the launch of the Burning Issues 2 Report | Via: @NXFie on Twitter

The LGBT community has highlighted the need for hate-crime legislation to be introduced in Ireland, as there are currently no such laws in place.

The call is among the key findings of a new report looking at the main issues among the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community in Ireland.

'Burning Issues 2', conducted by the National LGBT Federation (NXF), is the most comprehensive consultation ever conducted with the community across Ireland.

Vice Chair of the organisation Ciarán Ó hUltacháin said the study shows that there is a definite need for laws to protect all minorities, not just LGBT people: "After what happened in Orlando it shows how important and how timely this is."

As part of the research, participants were asked what the core burning issues of the LGBT community are in 2016.

22% of those surveyed said 'sexual and gender acceptance' was their top concern. This is short hand for the political, cultural, religious, psychological and physical inequality suffered by LGBT people.

"Safety and the prevention of bullying and violence in school, workplaces, and on the street are important issues," said Ó hUltacháin.

#MarRef made a difference

The report also shows some of the positive results to come about following the marriage referendum in Ireland last year.

Ciarán Ó hUltacháin explained: "Ireland is a much better place to LGBT than it was and we have seen a change in the attitudes of Irish people as a whole to LGBT people."

The report also indicates a trend where more people have come out at work since the referendum, with figures rising from over 78% to almost 87%.

"Unfortunately there still is the issue of violence on the streets," he added. "After the Dublin Pride Festival last weekend someone was very badly attacked outside the George on Dame Lane."

He highlighted that in particular for Transgender member of the community "personal safety on the street is an issue that is particularly relevant".

Health Matters

The study also shows a need for the introduction of LGBT inclusive health services specifically covering mental health, sexual health, and transgender health.

Participants also pointed to the need for more community supports, like counselling and mental health services.

Recent research carried out by LGBT Ireland also shows that LGBTI young people are particularly at risk from poor mental health, with one-in-three having attempted to take their own lives.

"Health is a particularly important issue for everybody, but for LGBT people the key requirement is that healthcare professionals are trained in LGBT awareness and LGBT quality," said Ó hUltacháin.

"There is often a presumption that someone is hetrosexual, so disclosure is a another key issue in relation to health," he added.

"Overall, it is important that the relevant professionals understand the needs of the community in the healthcare setting."