Action needed for LGBTI+ community – O’Loughlin

More needs to be done to ensure LGBTI+ community members feel safe in their everyday lives. It was particularly worrying that in a recent survey conducted by BeLonG To Youth Services, 73% of LGBTI+ young people expressed feeling unsafe at school as a direct result of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Across all walks of life, assault, bullying, and harassment are unacceptable and unlawful. No young person should wake up in the morning terrified about going to school because of what might happen to them in their classrooms when the teachers back is turned or in the bathrooms and the changing rooms.

Isolation is one of the most damaging things that can happen to a young person. Imagine having to go through your day under constant strain and feeling tense wondering if something bad is going to happen to you. That is the reality for many members of the LGBTI+ community.

If this is allowed to fester in our schools then it will continue on into adulthood. We run the risk of normalizing it and becoming immune to the alarming prejudice – this cannot happen.

The proposed changes to the sex education curriculum, which the Oireachtas Education Committee reported on, will address the areas of LGBTQI+, sexual orientation, gender identity and sexual health – it’s important this takes effect.