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Digital Subscriptions > GCN > 359 > A village of its own

A village of its own

Direct Provision has been overwhelmingly recognised as a system that strips asylum seekers of their dignity, presenting a new set of problems for vulnerable people already fleeing persecution. Much has been said about the difficult and frightening situation for LGBT+ people in Direct Provision, but what about a person just coming to terms with their sexuality? Chris O’Donnell speaks to a young LGBT+ woman who entered the system at the age of 13.

Over the past few months, there have been increasing protests about the toxic living conditions of Direct Provision. Ireland has been under growing pressure from the UN to enact reform in the asylum-seeking arena, or - better still, one may think - to totally abolish Direct Provision in favour of something which affords more human rights.

Direct Provision centres do not provide dignity for those trapped inside with issues including; income poverty, vulnerable youths, harassment, a toxic environment for both families and single people, susceptibility to physical and mental illness, homophobia because of culture clashes, terrible food... It is perhaps worth noting that the infamously non-nutritious foods of Direct Provision come from the same corporation - Aramark - responsible for prison food in America. (Closer to home, Aramark own the franchise Chopped, as well as Avoca). These woeful conditions are brought into greater light by the more humane approach taken by Northern Irish courts. In 2012, in relation to a Sudanese woman and her three children, it was agreed that it would be better for them to remain in the North, as there was “ample evidence” that the Republic’s asylum system was a hotbed for physical and mental health issues.

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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.