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Digital Subscriptions > GCN > 359 > FAST FORWARD

FAST FORWARD

IN THIS VERY SPECIAL EDITION OF GCN, YOUNG PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE COUNTRY TALK ABOUT THE ISSUES THAT MATTER TO THEM. THE AUTHORS SPEAK ABOUT LGBT+ PEOPLE FINDING SOLACE ONLINE, THE IMPACT OF RURAL ISOLATION, THE NEED FOR MORE SAFE SPACES, HARMFUL DEPICTIONS OF LESBIANS IN POPULAR CULTURE, PRESSURES FACED BY LGBT+ TEENAGERS, NOT BEING ABLE TO COME OUT TO YOUR PARENTS, AND THE IMPACT OF RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE. DUE TO THE CONTENT OF CERTAIN PIECES SOME OF THE YOUNG WRITERS PREFERRED TO REMAIN ANONYMOUS.

Left Behind

The past two decades will go down in history as a time when massive gains were made for the LGBT+ community in Ireland. From decriminalisation in 1993, successive governments have gradually expanded the recognition of LGBT+ rights with the introduction of new legislation, such as Marriage Equality and the Gender Recognition Act. However, attitudes change more slowly than legislation and changes have not happened at the same speed everywhere. Such as in my home county - Donegal.

Isolation is an issue which affects many in rural communities. The population of Donegal as a whole is isolated in terms of infrastructure, facilities and opportunities. These issues are magnified for LGBT+ young people.

There have been great developments for LGBT+ young people in the county over the last decade. The BreakOut youth group was founded in 2009 and has recently expanded to serve a number of towns in the county. However, difficulties remain for young people hoping to access this crucial service. A limited public transport system leaves young people waiting hours for infrequent buses, travelling long distances to attend weekly group meetings and sometimes prevents them from attending at all.

Those who are not out to their families or whose families are unsupportive may be unable to rely on parents to take them to meetings.

The Breakout group goes to Pride with BeLonG To every year. The national group meets in Dublin. For rural groups that means a day’s travelling and the underlying feeling that an event that celebrates inclusiveness and community is something that happens far away.

The close-knit nature of many rural communities where people do not have anonymity can also make the process of coming out difficult.

Mental health is an issue in Ireland as a whole but it disproportionately affects members of the LGBT+ community, especially those who face social isolation. A lack of visibility of LGBT+ people in rural areas increases those feelings - most people in the county have never seen an LGBT+ couple hold hands in public

Lack of facilities in rural areas translates to a lack of choice. If a young person is facing homophobic bullying and an unsupportive administration at school there may not be an alternative school in the area. If a young transgender person’s doctor is uninformed there may not be another doctor in the area and the young person could be hindered in accessing services.

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About GCN

Welcome to one of our personal favourites - the annual Youth Issue. Inside, we hear from the next generation of LGBT+ change-makers who speak about the issues that matter to them. There’s an inspiring photo piece on the recent School Strikes For Climate Change by the wonderful Babs Daly who also captured the cover image. We look at an LGBT+ asylum seeker who entered the Direct Provision system at age 13 and there’s an essential piece on the rising numbers of homeless LGBT+ youth. We talk about the need for alcohol-free spaces for younger LGBT+ folk while inside you’ll also find the results of the EMIS survey to improve the health of gay, bi and MSM. On the entertainment side we have interviews with comedian Hannah Gadsby, the creators of the startling theatre show Faultline, and there’s a fun introduction to the next generation of drag artists. With the youth of this country demanding change, we can rest assured that if the contributors to this issue are leading the charge, the status quo is about to get a jolt. Enjoy.