The Need for Policy Change
Recognizing Ireland's LGBTQI Diaspora
In March 2015 the Government of Ireland published Global Irish: Ireland's Diaspora Policy. This was the first time ever that the Government had made an official policy statement on the diaspora. Sadly, this policy document did not give any recognition to the many LGBTQI people who left Ireland.
The document expressed a commitment on behalf of the Government to support and engage the global Irish in a manner that connectes with the wide variety of people that make up the Irish diaspora in an inclusive way.
However, no mention was made of the unique struggles of the LGBTQI community, which often impacted both their decision to leave Ireland and their experiences as immigrants. For so many, leaving Ireland was the first of many painful steps necessary to achieving an honest and open life. Most continued to struggle for acceptance after they left in the face of discrimination, isolation, and punitive laws.
The lack of recognition of the LGBTQI community in the diaspora policy is made all the more stark when we consider that Global Irish was published during the height of the debate preceding the marriage equality referendum. This highlights the need to see our minority groups as a fundamental part of the Irish people who should be considered and protected across all areas of governmental policy and not just in the initiatives that address them specifically. The complete omission of the LGBTQI community from the diaspora policy shows us that despite the immense progress that has been made, we still have work to do.
In the Global Irish document the Government also makes a commitment to ensuring that diaspora policy will evolve to meet the needs of the diaspora in changing times. The diaspora policy is scheduled for review in 2017 and this is an opportunity for us—the Irish at home and abroad—to shape how Ireland engages with its diaspora. Let's keep Ireland moving in the right direction as it continues to embrace LGBTQI rights.
Lend your voice to equality! Sign our petition and contact your local Irish Consulate, TD, Senator, or elected official with responsibility for the diaspora. Let the Government of Ireland know that you want the LGBTQI members of the Irish diaspora to be officially recognised.
SUBMISSION TO THE IRISH DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE
In April of 2017 a document was prepared and submitted to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade highlighting some of the specific difficulties encountered by LGBTQI members of the Irish diaspora. This submission also suggested some meaningful actions the Government of Ireland could take to better recognise and support LGBTQI members of the global Irish community. The document was endorsed by 20 Irish organisations across the globe.