Monday March 7, 2011
Programme for Government Opens Up Major New Opportunities for Lesbian and Gay People
The new Programme for Government agreed between Fine Gael and the Labour Party contains major new commitments to further progress for lesbian and gay people.
The Programme includes a commitment to address omissions in civil partnership legislation relating to children and a commitment to consider provisions for same sex marriage in the proposed Constitutional Convention. The Programme for Government also contains commitments to address homophobic bullying in schools
“GLEN strongly welcomes the commitment in the Programme for Government to address omissions in the civil partnership legislation relating to children. This is a critical step forward and will deliver important protections for the growing number of children being parented by same-sex couples” said Eoin Collins, Director of Policy Change in GLEN.
“GLEN also welcomes the commitment to include provision for same-sex marriage in the remit of the proposed Constitutional Convention” continued Collins.
“The commitment in the Programme for Government to address homophobic bullying in schools is a major advance and will provide important protections for young people in schools” continued Collins.
All these issues had been highlighted in GLEN’s submission to the Programme for Government.
For further information contact GLEN.
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Homophobic Bullying in Schools Explicitly Included in Programme for Government
For the first time ever, the Programme for Government includes a specific commitment to address homophobic bullying in schools.
It states in two sections, that on Education and that on Equality that the Government "will encourage schools to develop anti-bullying policies and in particular, strategies to combat homophobic bullying to support students."
This is major progress and will further our objective of extending provisions to make schools safe for young LGBT people, and will build on the recent GLEN/Depart of Education Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Students in Post Primary Schools: Guidance for Principals and School Leaders, which was issued by the Department to all second level schools last year. .
Progress on safe schools was a key election manifesto proposal from GLEN to all political parties, and explicit comittments to addressing homophobic bullying in schools were included in the Green Party, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour election manifestos
. It was also key issue highlighted by GLEN in our submission to the Programme for Government.
The committment in the Programme provides a strong platform to progress a range of initiatives with the Department and all the Education Partners to make schools safe and affirming for young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
For further information, contact Sandra at GLEN.
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New Resource for School Guidance Counsellors on LGBT Students
Responding to homophobic bullying in schools, Guidance Counsellors have rolled out a new resource to enhance their efforts in making schools safe and supportive places for young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students.
‘Guidance Counsellors play a critical role in supporting all young people in schools. It is a significant development that Guidance Counsellors are proactively addressing the specific issues for young LGBT people in second level schools’ said Sandra Irwin-Gowran, Director of Education Policy with GLEN.
To coincide with the annual conference of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors taking place this week in Limerick, the National Centre for Guidance in Education (NCGE) and GLEN have released the new resource for Guidance Counsellors on supporting LGBT students.
‘We recognise that lesbian and gay students are part of every school in Ireland and, knowingly or unknowingly, Guidance Counsellors work with them every day of the week. Demonstrating openness to LGBT students and issues in schools, as many Guidance Counsellors are doing already, is an important starting point in properly supporting these young people" said Jennifer McKenzie, Director of National Centre for Guidance in Education, an agency of the Department of Education and Skills.
"This resource equips Guidance Counsellors with additional information to better demonstrate and provide that support. NCGE is delighted to have worked with GLEN to produce this resource for Guidance Counsellors’ continued McKenzie.
This new resource for Guidance Counsellors complements Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Students in Post-Primary Schools: Guidance for Principals and School Leaders, the GLEN/Dept. of Education guidelines which were issued last year to all second-level schools in Ireland by the Department of Education & Skills.
For further information, see the GLEN press release or contact Sandra Irwin-Gowran in GLEN.
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TDs and Polls - More Good News
The Irish Times on Saturday interviewed the two new openly-gay TDs - Dominic Hannigan from Meath East and John Lyons from Dublin North West, both from the Labour Party. This again is significant progress for Ireland and for lesbian and gay people.
The Sunday Times Red C poll published yesterday found that 73% of those surveyed agreed that gay couples should be allowed to marry. This poll is evidence of increasing support for same-sex marriage, with support strongest among 18 to 24 year olds at 88% and support of those over 65 years at 49%.
Equally important, three in five people in the Sunday Times/Red C poll feel that gay couples should be allowed to adopt children, again with support strongest in those 18 to 24 at 81% and 30% for those over 65.
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