Ógra Shinn Féin marks International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia

Today, marks the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, Ógra Shinn Féin LGBTQI+ Officer, Niall Polland has said that it is a day where we look back and see how far we have come. But, one where we must also look forward and push for full equality and liberation. 

Niall Polland said:

"For many years homophobia was sponsored by the state, with a legal system that oppressed the LGBTQI+ community. This is clear when one looks at, police brutality, laws prohibiting gay sex and homosexuality, and forced sterilisation was unfortunately commonplace. 

"The Irish Pride Movement was established in response to the brutal homophobic murder of Declan Flynn in 1982. The first Pride Parade was held in Dublin in 1983 in reply to the subsequent case in which each member of the mob was charged with manslaughter as opposed to murder. We have come a long way since 1983. The legalisation of homosexuality, marriage equality and gender recognition in the south. But these measures do not mean that homophobia has been eradicated. Homophobic attacks are still occurring throughout Ireland, recently in Derry and Enniskillen. 

"What we need is a change of language. We have all lost count of individuals saying, “that’s so gay” But is it really? Words can cause serious harm, even if this was not intended. What we need are activists.  The LGBTQI+ community has a proud, rich history of activism largely said to have started with the Stonewall Riots in 1969 in New York City. This period of activism gave birth to what we know today as the Pride movement. The Pride movements commercialisation has had an impact on the activism that we need. Yes, Pride is a celebration of our identity, but fundamentally it’s a protest. A protest for full equality and liberation. 

"We as republicans must never lose sight of the fact that despite these moves forward, until discrimination ends, in society and systematically, full LGBTQI equality has not been achieved. What we need is marriage equality and gender recognition north and south. What we need is inclusive LGBTQI+ sex education for young people. What we need is full equality. This can only be done unless we become activists for our community."

Ógra Shinn Féin