'horrific violence' | 

New figures show ‘high numbers’ of Irish LGBTQ+ youth living in fear

Gardaí have reported a 29 per cent increase in reports of hate crimes and hate-related incidences in 2022

A rally in Navan to show solidarity

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

The national organisation Belong To has said that “high numbers” of LGBTQ+ youth have been seeking support amid a climate of increasing fear.

New figures just released by the group reveal that youth workers carried out 2,395 interventions with LGBTQ+ youth in 2022.

As they launched their 2022 Annual Report today, it has also been revealed that gardaí have reported a 29 per cent increase in reports of hate crimes and hate-related incidences in 2022.

Belong To, which has been offering life-saving support to LGBTQ+ young people since 2003, has expanded from a youth service to a national organisation encompassing support services, training, education and advocacy.

Moninne Griffith (she/her), CEO of Belong To, said that for the LGBTQ+ community, “the world around us seems more unsafe every day”.

“Recently, we have witnessed horrific violence and hate inflicted on members of the LGBTQ+ community in Ireland. The impact of this on the young people in our service is palpable, with requests for self-defence classes and a high number of LGBTQ+ youth seeking support.

“I believe that when we face challenging times like these, it is in coming together and connecting that we see real, progressive change.

“At Belong To, we are working to reach through misinformation and polarisation to help people understand the life experiences of LGBTQ+ youth.

“Through our work, we call people in and help them understand that behind Tweets and viral comments, there are real human beings whose worlds can be shattered by discrimination and hate. We have been here for LGBTQ+ youth for 20 years providing life-saving services, and we won’t stop as long as they need us.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman TD (he/him) added: “I am delighted to be here at the launch of Belong To’s Annual Report.

"This year marks an important milestone for Belong To. Much has been accomplished in the last 20 years of Belong To and as we look forward, their work to create a better future for LGBTI+ young people at school, a future where they feel safe, equal, and valued, is as important as ever.”

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