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The New Wave

A new generation of activists are coming to the fore, leading the charge for necessary changes. They spoke to Emily O’Connell about why young people need to band together to disrupt the stagnant status quo.

I was in sixth year when first got into activism. It was the year of the Marriage Equality Referendum but due to the school workload wasn’t able to go out and campaign. That feeling of not being able to fight for my rights is what ended up politicising me. So when found out about the Repeal campaign in my first year of college, decided wanted to do something. began attending the Marches for Choice, carried out stunts based around the abortion pill with ROSA and other pro-choice groups, including a Handmaid’s protest outside the Dáil. started throwing myself into whatever was happening.

Ollie Bell Co-founder of Trans Pride Ireland
Photographs by Leandro Hernandez Jimenez.

It was very important to see that it wasn’t just politicians involved in the Repeal campaign, it was actual people who had gone through abortions or who were looking at the situation and saying ‘No this isn’t fair, we should do something about this’. It showed that we are at a point in Ireland where it is people power pushing movements forward and creating change.

After we won Repeal, there was at first a renewed sense of hope at Dublin Pride but it felt like it was being overshadowed by corporations. Thomas and recognised that there was a movement in that, that there were people who were waiting for the next campaign. There had been movements such as the Trans Healthcare campaign so we saw the opportunity to organise a Trans Pride that would be a radical and grassroots event which would hopefully kickstart a wider movement for trans rights. think what made it take off so quickly when it hadn’t before was the aftermath of the Repeal movement. The topic of bodily autonomy was in the air. There was also an energy around Repeal that politicised a lot of secondary school students in the same way that the Marriage Equality did for me.

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About GCN

In this special edition, our community's younger members take over for the annual Youth Issue. Our guest editor Emily profiles a group of young activists leading the charge for a new Ireland. We celebrate 15 years of the awesome BeLonG To, the national organisation supporting LGBTI+ youth while one of their subgroups, The LadyBirds, tackle the lack of awareness around women's sexuality and sexual health. A young asylum seeker in Direct Provision tells us of his struggles with homophobia while LGBT+ people in rural areas speak about the effects of isolation and how youth groups helped them find confidence. We top things off with a preview of the upcoming Science Of The Kiss exhibition, part of GCN's takeover of the Science Gallery. This is a good one!