Minister Frances Fitzgerald launched Clondalkin’s first ever Rainbow Charter at the Clondalkin Rainbow Alliance Conference in the Louis Fitzgerald Hotel on Friday. The event took place on International Day Against Homophobia and was supported by the national organisation BeLongTo and local groups such as The Quarryvale Family Resource Centre, the Clondalkin Drugs Taskforce and a whole host of Clondalkin-based youth, community and drugs projects. The Rainbow Alliance is asking local groups to subscribe to the Charter in order to set out best practice for social inclusion in the locality and send a strong and supportive message to members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
“I am delighted to be here today to launch this Charter and see my own area of Clondalkin leading the way when it comes to developing and implementing guidelines for equality and rights in community initiatives,” the Minister told the gathering of over fifty.
“As Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, I believe that the youth sector has a significant role and responsibility to play in supporting LGBT young people and ensuring that their engagement and participation in youth work activities is an inclusive, positive and rewarding experience and I am delighted to see so many of our local youth groups here today to support this initiative,” said Minister Fitzgerald referring to the presence of representatives from Clondalkin CYC and Ronanstown Youth Service.
“Recent studies and reports on the lives of young Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and transgender people in Ireland have given us a better insight into LGBT life in Ireland and the issues and challenges that LGBT young people face. Some of the findings – on discrimination, homophobia, transphobia and mental health issues- support what we already know; for a wide variety of reasons, it’s difficult to be LGBT in a society that traditionally has acted as if all its citizens were heterosexual. The stark reality is that homophobic bullying is adding to the pressures these young people are facing. For many, their self-esteem, self-conception and mental health is being affected. But the reality is that in diversity lies survival and success. Cultures and countries that are strong, sure in their traditions, proud of their values, know that,” said Minister Frances Fitzgerald.
“No one should be defined purely by their gender or their sexual orientation. The goal for all of us has to be to make adjectives about gender, colour, physical ability or sexual orientation irrelevant. Your work and efforts have culminated in this Charter which is leading the way for Clondalkin, setting standards for our community, drugs and youth groups and sending a strong message in relation to the need to support young people or all sexual orientations. Together we will continue to promote the message that homosexuality and transgender is unexceptional and we will continue to promote the message that bullying of any form is unacceptable,” concluded Fitzgerald.