GLEN was founded in 1988 with the support of lesbian and gay organisations that existed at that time in Ireland and has been committed to securing legislative changes to bring about equality for the LGB population in Ireland ever since.
Changes in Legislation
GLEN has campaigned to dismantle legal discrimination and has played a pivotal role in work done to bring about major reforms in criminal, employment and social legislation. Significant achievements in this regard include:
- Decriminalisation of homosexuality and, in particular, ensuring changes to the criminal law in 1993 were introduced strictly on the basis of equality;
- Bringing about radical changes to the Unfair Dismissals Act (1993), and to the Employment Equality Act that followed, both of which ensured protections in employment on the grounds of sexual orientation.
- The introduction of the concept of Equal Status Legislation into Irish politics. GLEN was central in the proposing the 9 ground strategy used in the Equal Status Act and providing coverage not yet equalled anywhere in the world.
- Foundation of the "Campaign for Equality" in 1991 - working with organisations representing women, Travellers, people with disabilities and ethnic minorities. Provisions in the 1993 Programme for Government, which included commitments to equality legislation, very much echoed the work initiated by GLEN. And these gains provided a platform for subsequent important developments - including LGB inclusion in 'domestic partnership' legislation.
- Highlighting equality and human rights issues on behalf of LGB people in Ireland on an ongoing basis. A range of research documents and position papers were produced, and GLEN made a large number of important submissions throughout the 1990s. One of the most influential of these was the research funded by the Combat Poverty Agency "Poverty, Lesbians and Gay Men, The Economic and Social Effects of Discrimination".
GLEN was a voluntary association until 1997 when as a response to the GLEN Report "HIV Prevention Strategies and the Gay Community" the Department of Health and Children funded a full time role in the GLEN initiative Gay HIV Strategies (GHS).
That initiative aimed to work with Government, State agences and a wide range of stakeholders, including the LGBT sector, to address the broader determinants of better sexual health for gay and bisexual men. GHS facilitated new resources, programmes and linkages which addressed some of the most pressing needs for LGB people, including in Education, Mental Health, Physical Healh, Sexual Health, Community Development and legislative reform, all of which were determinants of sexual health for gay men.
In 2005, GLEN recieved funding for a five year strategic plan Buliding Sustainable Change which increased GLEN staff to 7. GLEN became a Company Limited by Guarantee (Co. Reg. No. 4065230 and a registered charity (CHY 16635).
GLEN have been involved in a range of research reports, needs analysis reports and campaigns since 1998. Some of which are listed below. Others include:
- Equality Now for Lesbians and Gay Men. 1990. ICCL
- Lesbian and Gay Visions of Ireland:Towards the 21st Century. Eoin Collins (GLEN) and Ide Carroll. 1996