Conference to focus on lesbian and gay rights


A EUROPEAN lesbian and gay association conference in Dublin will celebrate lesbian and gay rights in Ireland while drawing attention to countries with poorer records in the area.

The economic benefits of robust rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) groups during economic downturns will also be highlighted at the international event, which started yesterday and runs until Sunday.

Tiernan Brady, chairman of the organising committee, said LGBT rights are sometimes seen as a luxury which slips down the political agenda during economic recessions, but “they have a role to play in economic recovery”.

He added that “companies all around the world” recognise that tolerance in the workplace leads to increased productivity and creativity.

This is the first time Ireland has hosted the conference, which will be addressed by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore on Sunday. Mr Brady said the address highlights how far Irish LGBT rights have come since the decriminalisation of homosexuality 19 years ago.

He said the example of Ireland could be held up to such other European countries as Russia, Ukraine and Hungary, where LGBT rights are “standing still or going backwards”.

He added, however, that transgender rights in this country are still inadequate. Transgender people lack the same “protection in law” that lesbian and gay people have, he said.