A Pride Space event will be launched in Tipperary Town next week
In Youth Work Ireland Tipperary’s (YWIT) fifty-year history this is the first time we will host a Gay Pride Event. Why now, you might ask. In 2015 Ireland became the first country in the world to change our law by consent, to allow people in same sex relationships have the same marriage rights as their heterosexual peers. This sent out a message to the LGBTI+ community, especially to those young people struggling with their identity, that it’s ok to be gay. It’s ok to be you. While we patted ourselves on the back for being so open, so diverse, things did not change for many people who identify a LGBTI+.
In 2019 Belongto, a national LGBTI+ youth service carried out a survey to explore whether the changes we made as a country i.e. Decriminalisation of Homosexuality in 1993, Employment Equality Act 2008, Marriage Equality and Gender Recognition for 18+ in 2015, make any difference for our young people. “The study paints a bleak picture of the reality of school life for LGBTI+ students in Ireland. Findings indicate that in the 2018-2019 school year, an alarming 73% of LGBTI+ students felt unsafe at school, with the majority of students experiencing homophobic remarks, many experiencing harassment and some experiencing physical and sexual assault.” (The 2019 School’s Climate Survey, Belongto Youth Services)
In 2019, YWIT carried out a needs analysis of LGBTI+ young people specifically in Co Tipperary and found that school was indeed a space this group of young people felt most unsafe.
YWIT have been working with the Outstanding LGBTI+ Allies youth group, which is based across the county. With the recent surveys, coupled with the murders of two gay men in Sligo and physical attacks on people just because of their identity of orientation, this group of young people believe that it is time to raise LGBTI+ awareness within their local communities. The hope is that more visibility and awareness will lead to a more accepting, understanding and safe space for all young people to live in.
We will turn our space on Main Street office, Tipperary Town into a Pride Space. This space will detail the fight for LGBTI+ rights from the 70’s to today. It will also host an art installation called simply “The Closet.” There will be even more quirky surprises in the space. The space will launch Friday 8th July at 7pm. Everyone is welcome.
The group also approached residents of the Plan with the idea of holding a Pride Picnic in the Plan on Saturday 9th July from 2 to 5pm. We were delighted with the overwhelming positive response from residents. Light up the Plan have also come on board to support our youth group to host this event. The event will take the shape of a community picnic. We are asking people to bring home made food for the picnic. We will set up long tables where people can leave their baked goods for everyone to share. We are putting a call out to local artists to come along and share their artwork with the community, like St Stephen’s Green Art in the Park. We also plan to host an open mic event where local musicians and singers can perform. So if you would like to sing, play music or read poetry come along on the day. And finally at 4pm we would like everyone to join together as a community choir to sing in solidarity. We live in such a diverse community it is important that everyone feels they belong. The song we have chosen is Cyndi Lauper’s True Colours.
Finally, on Wednesday the 13th July at 6pm, we have an open information evening titled: Teatime talk – How to be an LGBTI+ ally, which will be facilitated by GOSSH (Gender, Orientation, Sexuality and Sexual Health). This event will be an in-person chat for anyone who would like to learn a bit more about the LGBTI+ community and how people can become better allies. A talk on what it means to an ally in general and how this can be impactful for anyone who feels ‘other’, especially for the LGBTI+ community. Participant contributions to the conversation is encouraged but not essential.
This event if for anyone who has an interest in LGBTI+ rights and equality. Participants do not need to be members of the LGBTI+ community themselves but if they are, this talk is still relevant as we will be discussing what allyship within the LGBTI+ community looks like too!
We were able to run these events thanks to the Tipperary Arts Office who administered the Tipperary Festivals and Events Grant Scheme 2022. The young people have really enjoyed working with the artists who came on board to support us, again with funding through the Tipperary Arts Office. It was an amazing opportunity to work with professional artists who supported the young people to explore mediums of art they would not normally have the chance to.
Launch of our Pride Space, Main Street Tipperary Town will take place 7pm, Friday 8th July.
Pride Picnic in the Plan runs from 2pm to 5pm, Saturday 9th July. Everyone is welcome to attend. We would urge everyone to join us on both occasions and support the young people who have put so much work into this Pride event.
For more information, please call into our Youth Work Ireland Tipperary Office, Main Street, Tipperary Town or call 06252604/0877720222.
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