The Issues

It is true that attitudes are changing and that society is becoming more diverse but LGBT people are still being subjected to discrimination, and in some cases violence and harassment, simply because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

The EU's Fundamental Rights Agency recently published the results of the largest survey ever undertaken of the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the EU, the findings of which were published on IDAHO Day, May 17th 2013 in the FRA's ‘EU LGBT Survey'. A very large number of respondents, 93, 079, participated in the research, providing a wealth of comparable data. The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) and the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) coordinated Ireland's fieldwork for the survey which resulted in 1,625 Irish respondents. Of this 26% of respondents were lesbian women, 53% gay men, 9% bisexual women, 4% bisexual men and 9% transgender.

The survey findings show that Irish LGBT people still face levels of discrimination and harassment, and that many LGBT people cannot be themselves in their daily lives. Across the EU, many LGBT people hide identify and live in isolation and even fear.  The survey results show significant levels of harassment or discrimination experienced by LGBT people in Ireland. 

  • Almost 1/3 of all respondents (31%) said yes to have been physically/sexually attacked or threatened with violence at home or elsewhere for any reason in the past 5 years.
  • 55% of respondents reporting being personally harassed in the past five years, compared with the EU LGBT average which stands at 47%.
  • 53% avoid certain places or locations for fear of harassment or violence, with the majority reporting avoiding public places and transport. 
  • 82% of respondents failed to report physical/sexual attacks or threats of violence
  • 96% failed to report instances of harassment 

Reasons for not reporting these incidents include; people don’t think that incident or violence is serious enough, the belief that the Gardaí could not do anything, that they would not take it seriously, or that they are homophobic. People also stated their reluctance to report for the fear of being ‘outed’

Why Should You Report?

 

  • Many of us are so used to living with a background of homophobia and transphobia that we have put up with homophobic and transphobic abuse and insults, and if this violence escalates, we often do not report it for fear of not being taken seriously, for fear of being outed by police, for fear of further victimisation, or even because we may feel we don't need or deserve to be helped.
  • Homophobic and transphobic abuse and violence are huge problems - most of us know someone who has experienced this at some point. But the information about violence and harassment against LGBT people is very limited because of the underreporting of such experiences. For the Gardaí to provide comprehensive services and strategies to tackle this violence, there must be a full understand as to the true extent of such occurrences. 
  • Every time you report violence and harassment, that report gives the Gardaí a clearer picture of homophobic and transphobic crimes across the country. Improved reporting can help to monitor the type and extent of homophobic and transphobic violence in Ireland and use this information to work for more and better services to LGBT people. The Gardaí put their resources where the problems are. If they don't know you are having a problem, how are they supposed to help solve it? Statistics are powerful. They get things changed.

 

Bridging the Gap Between An Garda Síochána and the LGBT Community

An Garda Síochána are acknowledged to be committed to initiating policies and practices to address this issue, such as their diversity strategy and the introduction of Garda Liaison Officers, and these policies and practices need to be implemented in a way that ensures positive engagement with the LGBT community in an effort to bridge the gap between the two. It is the approach of a member of the Gardaí which makes a difference to an encounter.

Positive encounters, which are sensitive to the person's needs and recognises particular vulnerabilities, engenders trust and support. In order to effectively respond to a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person, he or she must be treated with respect. Respect comes from understanding and familiarity. Therefore it is integral for An Garda Síochána to engage effectively from minority groups and learn from them.

Greater confidence, co-operation and increased reporting will be achieved if An Garda Síochána deal effectively and professionally and continue to proactively build positive relationships with representatives and support organisations for the LGBT community.

Downloads
  • 2006 LGBT Hate Crime Report

    WWW.GLEN.IE

    This report aims to outline the key ?ndings of a hate crime survey of over 938 people that took place in Dublin and the greater Dublin area between April and July 2005. The report outlines the number of victims, their ages, sex, location, when and where they were attacked and the type of attack. It also deals with safety concerns, policing matters and the level of governmental support and action regarding hate crimes in the Republic of Ireland.
    | 1086 kb | Download

  • Supporting LGBT Lives - Key Findings

    WWW.GLEN.IE

    Key Findings from the most comprehensive survey of LGBT people's experiences at home, at school, at work, in the community and using services. It showed significant levels of 'minority stress' experienced by LGBT people.
    | 467 kb | Download

  • Supporting LGBT Lives

    WWW.GLEN.IE

    The most comprehensive survey of LGBT people's experiences at home, at school, at work, in the community and using services. It showed significant levels of 'minority stress' experienced by LGBT people.
    | 1436 kb | Download