Fine Gael Cork South Central Deputy and Chair of the Party’s LGBT Group, Jerry Buttimer, has today (Monday) said National Coming Out Day, which takes place this Friday, can help those who are struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity to initiate what for some can be a very difficult conversation with family members and friends.
Deputy Buttimer went on to say that to mark the day, the LGBT Helpline Ireland, which provides a confidential support and information service to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, their family and friends, will be open for 24 hours from midnight on Thursday. The Helpline aims to assist those who are questioning their sexual orientation or who are looking for support.
“National Coming Out Day, which is an internationally celebrated civil awareness day, has been held on October 11thevery year since 1988, marking the anniversary of the national march on Washington for lesbian and gay rights. The aim of the day is to celebrate the coming out of those who publically identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender and I believe that the promotion of the day here in Ireland could act as a catalyst for those who are considering having that ‘coming out’ conversation with family and friends.
“I have said in the past that if I had known how good life would be after coming out, I would have done it years earlier but I know only too well how hard that process can be. For many, the fear of rejection or of disappointing loved ones can force them to disguise their sexuality into adulthood, depriving them of the freedom and liberation that is often taken for granted by their straight peers. But Ireland is a changed place nowadays and the stigma that was once attached to being gay has, largely, been done away with.
“I would encourage people, gay and straight, to have conversations with people they feel may be struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity and to reassure them that diversity is something to be celebrated and enjoyed, not feared.
“The gay community is stronger in Ireland now than ever. Let’s open up, have that conversation and continue to build a society which is safe, inclusive and tolerant of all people, whatever their sexuality or identity.”
The LGBT Helpline is contactable on 1890 929 539