Government to ‘explore’ including LGBTI+ studies on school curriculum

New strategy contains over 100 actions aimed at promoting inclusion and protecting rights

 Minister for Children and  Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone at  the launch of Ireland’s first national LGBTI+ strategy  at Government Buildings, Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone at the launch of Ireland’s first national LGBTI+ strategy at Government Buildings, Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

A new Government strategy intends to “explore opportunities” for the inclusion of LGBTI+ lives in primary and secondary cycle curriculum as part of the review into content being taught.

The strategy also plans to include LGBTI+ matters in the review of relationship and sexual education curriculum.

National LGBTI+ Inclusion Strategy, launched by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone and Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan on Thursday, contains over 100 actions which are aimed at promoting inclusion, protecting rights and improving the quality of life and wellbeing of LGBTI+ people.

The actions, which are due to implemented between now and 2021 by the responsible Government departments, include bringing forward legislative proposals to ensure incitement to hatred and hate crimes against LGBTI+ people are “adequately addressed in our laws”.

The strategy also sets out for “practical measures” to increase the availability of non-gendered toilets in public buildings.

The strategy wants to identify “large scale events” each year to promote LGBTI+ visibility and develop a civil and public service wide LGBTI+ employee and ally network.

Other actions include developing “guidance information” for transgender people to support their continued participation in the workplace, particularly during their time of transitioning.

Delivering targeted outreach sexual health programmes and campaigns to at risk groups and a public awareness campaign to “positively represent” LGBTI+ identities and contributions to Irish society, are included in the strategy.

Commencing outstanding sections of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 and the Adoption (Amendment) Act 2017 are also referenced in the plan.

‘Cold place’

Mr Flanagan said Ireland is still “something of a cold place” for many of the LGBTI+ community.

“I’m very concerned that the issue of personal safety is still a significant worry for trans people and the wider community. Indeed, it’s deeply worrying and it’s simply wrong that only 40 per cent of trans people feel safe expressing their gender identity in public,” Mr Flanagan said.

“It’s also very wrong that members of the LGBTI+ community continue to experience, sometimes on a daily basis, hate speech or that something like workplace inclusion continues to be a real challenge.”

The strategy also includes designing and implementing programmes and measures to address intersectional discrimination in partnership with non-governmental organisations and target communities.

LGBTI+ awareness training to staff working in mental health services nationally is part of the plan along with developing a HIV stigma campaign.

The strategy was prepared by the Department of Justice and advised by a committee made up of other departments, public bodies, social partners and civil society.

It was also informed by a public consultation process conducted between November 2018 and February 2019, which invited contributions at a series of public meetings in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Dundalk and Limerick.

Implementation of the strategy will be overseen by a monitoring committee chaired by the Minister of State with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration David Stanton.

Mr Stanton said the strategy’s success will depend on “the shared engagement of all stakeholders in building a fairer society that allows everyone to flourish”.