The formal launch of Ireland’s National LGBTI+ Inclusion Strategy 2019-2021 last November () was emblematic of the Government’s commitment to improving the lives of LGBTI+ people in Ireland. Welcoming the strategy Taoiseach Leo Varadkar described it as “another step on Ireland’s journey towards accepting everyone”.
According to a spokesperson from the Department of Justice and Equality, which is monitoring the implementation of the strategy, its overall aim is to promote inclusion, protect rights and improve quality of life and wellbeing for LGBTI+ people, enabling them to participate fully in Ireland’s social, economic, cultural, and political life.
The vision is for a safe, fair and inclusive Ireland where LGBTI+ people are supported to flourish and to live inclusive, healthy and fulfilling lives, whatever their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics.
“The strategy is a living document, influenced by its context and evolving as circumstances change over the period to the end of 2021,” he said.
Additional funding of €700,000 was provided in the budgetary allocation for 2020 to support equality and LGBTI+ initiatives bringing the total available to over €900,000.
The Department of Justice and Equality has commenced work on some of the actions included in the strategy, including the development of a Civil and Public Service wide LGBT+ Employee and Ally Network.
“The department is in fact deeply involved in the LGBTI+ space, having launched an LGBT+ Staff Network, in September 2018. Since its foundation, the network has focused on the frequent roll out of initiatives and events to make the department a more inclusive place for all,” he said.
“This has included lunchtime workshops on how to be a good ally in the workplace, the coming-out process, and how to support someone in your life with their journey. Most recently, the start of Pride month was marked by a lively panel discussion on the issues faced by bisexual, asexual and intersex people.”
The culmination of the Network’s work for 2018 and 2019 was the first ever large scale participation of Civil and Public Servants in the Dublin LGBTQ+ Pride parade.
“Led by secretaries general from across the civil service, over 600 public servants walked in the parade, under the banner ‘Proud to Work for Ireland’ with almost all departments and many agencies represented.
This year the department sponsored the Noel Walsh HIV Activism Award for outstanding work in the Irish HIV and AIDS sector at the 2020 GALAS Awards “and will endeavour to continue to support Pride and LGBTI+ NGOs in their important work, whatever format that may take in the future,” he said.