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GLEN Progress Report 2010 – 2012


_ “For its persuasiveness and ability to hold its nerve in the pursuit of its goals and for its relentless work in enabling Irish people to move closer to a society that respects all of its citizens equally, GLEN receives a People of the Year Award.� People of the Year citation, 2010


contents

Introduction

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Civil Partnership and Civil Marriage

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Education: Inclusive, Safe and Supportive

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Workplace and Economy: Valued and Visible Participation

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Mental Healthand Well Being

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Road to Radical Reform: Critical Events Leading to the Enactment of Marriage-Based Civil Partnership. 2005—2011 13 Community Development 21 International

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Gay Hiv Strategies

Finances

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Board and Staff

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Appendix: A selection of Glen Research, Reports and Resources.

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PROGRESS REPORT

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Foreword


foreword The period 2010 - 2012 was one of great progress for our communities across a range of areas including law reform, work, health, education and

This progress and of course other very important progress in education, health and the workplace are driving change towards that point which GLEN aims to achieve: that being lesbian or gay is unremarkable, and that a young lesbian, gay or bisexual person can discover their sexual orientation in an atmosphere of support and full inclusion.

public safety as this report documents. Most important was the enactment of civil partnership legislation with the overwhelming support of all political parties in the Houses of Oireachtas. Since then, almost 1,000 couples have celebrated their civil partnerships throughout every county in Ireland, which has provided them with a powerful range of rights and responsibilities that mirror their deep love and commitment to one another. As important was the way that the people of Ireland took these civil partnership celebrations to their hearts and basically decided that these were wedding celebrations. All these lesbian and gay couples who every day celebrate their civil partnerships are the heroes, the pioneers, who are bringing the day of civil marriage and full constitutional equality much, much closer.

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_ GLEN  Chair Kieran Rose and Chief Justice of Ireland, the Hon Mrs Justice Susan Denham, launching the GLEN/ ICCL Know Your Rights guide to civil partnership in the Four Courts, December 2012

2013 marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of GLEN and the 20th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality on the basis of equality. Since then, Ireland had achieved strong equality legislation, civil partnerships, and now a growing momentum for civil marriage. Twenty years ago Ireland was one of the most inhospitable countries for gay people (at least in terms of our laws); now we are amongst the most progressive countries globally. Very many people contributed to this huge transformation, but most important are the thousands of lesbians and gay men who have come out in their everyday lives to their family, their

friends, their work colleagues and their communities, and changed Irish society fundamentally. This radical progress is a powerful platform for further reform. I would really like to thank the hard working and highly professional staff in GLEN, and the Board of GLEN who provide the governance framework that allows us to deliver significant progress. In particular I’d like to thank Chris Robson, one of the founders of GLEN 25 years ago and a co-chair for many years who continues to steer GLEN as a Board member. I would like to highlight in particular the key role of Eoin Collins our Director of Policy Change throughout most of this period and who is now working in New York, from where he acts as a consultant to GLEN, and Brian Sheehan our Director is the most skilful person who holds it all together on a daily basis, and makes sure we deliver.

Kieran Rose,GLEN Chair


introduction

seen much of GLEN’s work coming to fruition with major progress being made for

(LGB) people in the areas of relationship recognition; safe and supportive education;

Major progress was achieved in other areas also. A critical breakthrough has been made in the education sector in a unique cooperation developed between GLEN, the Department of Education and Skills and the main education partners, including Church-led school management bodies which run most schools in Ireland. Significant progress in policing and community safety was also made, in particular with the increase in Garda Siochana liaison officers to the LGBT community from 30 to 300, and the provision of initial training by GLEN.

At the end of 2012, more than 900 couples across Ireland had entered civil partnerships, which provide most of the substantive rights and obligations of marriage. This in turn has increased the momentum for civil marriage, with the Government committing to have same sex marriage considered by the Constitutional Convention established in 2012. Furthermore, the Government has committed to addressing the gaps in civil partnership legislation relating to children and the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter TD recently outlined comprehensive change in parenting legislation which is expected to be brought before the Oireachtas in 2013.

In the areas of employment, work-place and mental health and wellbeing, very significant progress has been achieved through collaborative partnerships established with social partners, business, professional bodies and statutory service providers.

PROGRESS REPORT

lesbian, gay and bisexual

The most significant achievement in this period has been the success in building consensus across all political parties for the enactment in 2010 of civil partnership legislation. The legislation was passed by the houses of the Oireachtas (Irish parliament) and commenced at the end of 2010 by the Minister for Justice and Law Reform at a signing ceremony held with GLEN Board and staff. The Act is a major step towards GLEN’s ultimate goals of achieving full equality for LGB people including in marriage and in other areas of family law.

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The period 2010-2012 has

equality and inclusion in employment, health, safety and well-being; and participation in economic, political and cultural life.

GLEN was delighted to receive a People of the Year award in 2010 “for its persuasiveness and ability to hold its nerve in the pursuit of its goals and for its relentless work in enabling Irish people to move closer to a society that respects all of its citizens equally”. GLEN’s work is funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies and the Government, through funding from the HSE. GLEN’s first five year programme of work Building Sustainable Change, funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies, was completed in 2010.

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_ Sandra Irwin-Gowran and Chris Robson, Board member and one of the founders of GLEN, accepting the People of the Year award from Angela Kerins, Chief Executive of Rehab.

We commissioned PA Consulting to evaluate our work under this programme. The review affirmed GLEN’s role in achieving comprehensive change across a range of areas, and identified some of the working methods that enabled this progress, including secure funding and a GLEN way of working, identified as ‘principled pragmatism, collaborative partnerships and a professional approach’. The evaluation contributed to a further ambitious five year programme of work, which Atlantic Philanthropies are part-funding. This funding has been a critical factor in enabling GLEN to deliver the progress outlined in this Progress Report.

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GLEN would like to express our appreciation to The Atlantic Philanthropies, to our other core funders, the National Office for Suicide Prevention and the HSE, and to the funders of the many successful projects that GLEN has

undertaken through the period 2010 to 2012. None of the progress achieved would be possible without a wide range of partners and supporters across all of GLEN’s areas of work. We would like to extend our thanks and our appreciation to the Politicians and Political Parties, Government Departments and State Agencies, civil and public servants, civil society organisations, professional bodies, businesses, LGBT organisations and LGBT people who have partnered with us in delivering substantial progress towards the goal of full and equal participation of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in all aspects of Irish life.


civil partnership and civil marriage

important pieces of civil rights legislation to be enacted since independence”.

Justice, on the passage of the Civil Partnership Act 2010.

This progress continued in 2011 and 2012, following the 2011 general election and the formation of the new coalition government of Fine Gael and the Labour Party, with the enactment of legislation and regulations providing for equality in taxation and citizenship. The new Government also committed to addressing omissions in the civil partnership legislation relating to children and has included samesex marriage as one of the main items for consideration by the new Constitutional Convention.

More than 900 couples from every county had registered as civil partners at the end of 2012 and many more have married or entered civil partnership/civil unions abroad, that have been recognised as civil partnerships in Ireland. The extensive rights and responsibilities of civil partnership are outlined in the ICCL/GLEN publication Know Your Rights: the Rights and Obligations of Civil Partners and Other Same-Sex Couples launched by Chief Justice of Ireland, Mrs Justice Susan Denham at the end of 2012. The chief Justice also launched Civil Partnership: A Guide for Practitioners, an extensive information resource for the legal profession and other professionals, written by Dr. Fergus Ryan of DIT and Board member of GLEN.

PROGRESS REPORT

Dermot Ahern TD, Minister for

The goal of GLEN is the achievement of full equality including equal access to civil marriage and broader family law reform to protect diverse families. Major progress has been made towards this goal with the enactment of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights of Cohabitants Act in 2010. The Bill passed through the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament) with the support of all political parties. The legislation had been presented to the Oireachtas by then Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern TD.

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“This is one of the most

The central role played by GLEN in achieving civil partnership since it began its campaign for legal recognition in 2005 was profiled in the Atlantic Philanthropies case study Civil Partnership: How a Minority Achieved a Majority launched at the end of 2012 by Charles Flanagan TD, Chair of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party (the largest Party in government). GLEN’s work on legislative reform was also included as a case study by the Advocacy Initiative. GLEN’s role is profiled in the chronology of critical events leading to civil partnership in the centre pages of this 2010-2012 Progress report.

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education: inclusive, safe and supportive “The 21st century school should be one that is safe and supportive of all students, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people”. Ruairi Quinn TD, Minister for Education and Skills.

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In May 2011, Ruairi Quinn, TD became the first Minister of Education to specifically address the issues of supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students when he launched Guidelines for Principals on Including Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Students in School Policies, which was developed jointly by GLEN, the Department of Education and Skills and the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD). Following this, and in line with a commitment in the Programme for Government, the Minister established an Anti-Bullying Working Group in 2012 which included GLEN and BeLonG To (the national LGBT youth service) and was chaired by the Department of Education and Skills. The Working Group met 15 times during 2012, and met with a wide range of organisations and individuals, culminating in the development of a strategy and programme of work to address bullying, in particular homophobic and transphobic bullying, in schools. Funding and resourcing for the strategy are being considered by the Department of Education and Skills, and GLEN and BeLonG To Youth Service will take a lead role, with the Department and the Education Partners, in implementing many of the actions targeting homophobic and transphobic bullying. The Director of Education in GLEN played an important role in advancing this progress, building on links that had been established between GLEN and the main Education Partners in second level education in Ireland,

including school management bodies. BeLonG To have also been an important partner in this work. Critical events and cooperation during the period 2010 to 2012 has included:

· Guidance Counsellors. GLEN and the National Centre for Guidance in Education (NCGE) launched the guide Supporting LGBT Students: The Role of Guidance Counsellors, to address the specific needs of Guidance Counsellors in working with LGBT young people. This resource adds to the range of resources developed by GLEN and the Education Partners for schools, teachers, principals and school leaders on supporting LGBT young people.

· Teacher Unions. Launch of updated Guidance for Teachers jointly published by GLEN, the Teachers Unions of Ireland (TUI) and the Association of Secondary School Teachers in Ireland (ASTI) and launched at the unions’ annual conferences.

· School Principals. Whole School Training model developed and piloted by GLEN/BeLonG To/National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals and the Equality Authority

· School Curriculum. Department of Education and Skills, Health Service Executive, GLEN and BeLonG To Youth Services have developed a new resource, Growing Up LGBT, for second level schools. The DVD and accompanying lessons are intended to build understanding and respect for LGBT people and issues and provide support for LGBT young people in schools.


g ay + l e s b i a n e q u a l i t y n e t w o r k PROGRESS REPORT

_ Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn TD at the launch of the GLEN/Dept of Education/National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals Guidelines for Principals on Including Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Students in School Policies

_ Jennifer McKenzie, Director of the National Centre for Guidance in Education and Sandra Irwin-Gowran, Director of Education Policy in GLEN at the launch of the GLEN/ Dept of Education/National Council of Guidance in Education resource Supporting LGBT Students: The Role of Guidance Counsellors

_ Sandra Irwin Gowran, GLEN Director of Education Policy with Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn TD at the launch of the GLEN/Dept of Education/National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals Guidelines for Principals on Including Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Students in School Policies

_ Minister for Education and Skills Ruairi Quinn TD., Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald TD at a GLEN/ BeLonG To photocall to mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

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workplace and economy: valued and visible participation “All employees should have the opportunity to perform at their best – meaning that they must feel comfortable in their environment. This is done through creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. We can take best advantage of our differences for innovation.

GLEN launched the Diversity Champions Programme which is Ireland’s first and only not-for-profit workplace programme designed specifically to assist Irish employers with the inclusion of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) employees. Members include major employers such as Accenture, IBM and University College Dublin, who, as members, receive a range of benefits and services including a dedicated client account manager, seminars on LGBT issues, networking events for LGBT employees, high quality training, benchmarking and other opportunities for companies to build their brand and reputation on diversity.

Our diversity is a competitive advantage and consciously

gay + lesbian equality network

building diverse teams helps us drive the best results for our clients.” Peter O’Neill, Country General Manager, IBM Ireland.

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The Diversity Champions Programme builds on a body of work and engagement between GLEN and major employers, employer organisations and trade unions. This has included:

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Development of GLEN’s Excellence in Diversity, an online toolkit designed to help employers implement and benchmark good practice.It was launched by Ernst & Young and jointly funded by the European Social Fund 2007-2013 and by the Equality Authority Launch in 2010 by the then Tánaiste and Minister

for Enterprise, Trade and Employment of the GLEN Guide for Employers on LGBT Diversity, supported by IBEC (the main Irish employers’ organisation), IBM Ireland, Business in the Community, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Equality Authority.

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Launch of joint GLEN/Irish Congress of Trade Union guide Being LGBT at Work: A Guide for LGBT People and Trade Unions.

GLEN has also responded to major employers in Ireland – including Microsoft, Citigroup, Google, PwC and Dublin City University - seeking information on Civil Partnership, which has major implications for employment law and practice. The new law provides for equal treatment between married couples and civil partners in pension provision, workplace benefits and the new equality ground of civil status. Economic Case for Diversity and Equality “Dublin is now a multi-cultural city, and this diversity is now part of the identity of the city. Equality and social justice can contribute to Dublin’s international competitiveness”. Andrew Montague, Lord Mayor of Dublin 2011. GLEN and Dublin City Council worked successfully on a project to build a consensus on the economic case for equality. This culminated in the seminar Globalisation, Diversity and


Economic Renewal launched by the Lord Mayor of Dublin and featuring Professor Sean Kay, author of Celtic Revival? The Rise, Fall and Renewal of Global Ireland as the keynote speaker. The event also involved prominent speakers from the areas of economic and business policy development. GLEN also published a report Equality, Diversity and Economic Competitiveness. The project was funded by the European Unions’ PROGRESS Programme (2007-2013) and the Equality Authority.

_ TĂĄnaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mary Coughlan TD., launching the GLEN Guide for Employers on LGBT issues

_ The Panel of speakers at the GLEN and Dublin City Council seminar Globalisation, Diversity and Economic Renewal; Peter Finnegan, Director of the Office of International Relations and Research, Dublin City Council; Bernie Cullinan, CEO Clarigen and Science Foundation Ireland; Dr Tom McCarthy, CEO of the Irish Management Institute and Professor Frances Ruane, Director of the Economic and Social Research Institute

_ Minister for Equality, Kathleen Lynch TD., and Davin Roche, GLEN Director of Workplace Diversity at the launch of the GLEN/ICTU guide for LGBT employees.

_ Professor Kay and Lord Mayor of Dublin Andrew Montague at the GLEN and Dublin City Council seminar Globalisation, Diversity and Economic Renew

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mental health and well being “Although Ireland is making

and hostility which young

GLEN is working to change the policies and practices in Ireland that impact negatively on the mental health and well-being of lesbian, gay and bisexual people. We are also tackling the social barriers that still exist in Ireland which impede the full participation of LGB people in Irish society and which impact on their mental health and wellbeing. The support of the Health Service Executive Health Promotion and the National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) has been crucial to this work.

gay people must find deeply

Evidence Base

hurtful and inhibiting. For them,

The evidence base on LGB and transgender people in Ireland has been hugely developed with the publication of two of the most comprehensive studies yet undertaken on LGB and transgender people in Ireland. These are:

considerable progress in developing a culture of genuine equality, recognition and acceptance of gay men and women, there is still an undercurrent of both bias

homosexuality is a discovery, not a decision. for many it is a discovery which is made against a backdrop where, within

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their immediate circle of family and friends as well as the wider society, they have long encountered anti-gay attitudes which will do little to help them deal openly and healthily with their own sexuality.” Former President, Mary McAleese

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·

Supporting LGBT Lives (2009) commissioned by GLEN and BeLonG To Youth Service, funded by NOSP and launched by then Minister for Health Mary Harney. It was prepared by the Children’s Research Centre at Trinity College Dublin. Visible Lives (2011) commissioned by GLEN and launched by Brian Purcell, Secretary General of the Department of Justice and Equality in 2011, is the first major study on older LGBT people in Ireland. It was prepared by School of Nursing and Midwifery at Trinity College Dublin.

During the period 2010 to 2012, NOSP funded GLEN to carry out a comprehensive programme of work based on the implementation of the recommendations in the Supporting LGBT Lives report. This work centres on raising awareness of LGBT mental health issues and needs, building the capacity of professionals and service providers and developing targeted mental health supports. Policy Development With this evidence base provided by Supporting LGBT Lives GLEN worked successfully from 2010 to 2012 with the HSE and in partnership with a range of professional bodies to develop policies that are inclusive and appropriate to the needs of LGBT people. These include:

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College of Psychiatry of Ireland: Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Patients – The Issues for Mental Health Practice Irish College of General Practitioners: Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Patients – The Issues for General Practice Irish Institute of Mental Health Nursing: Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual People: A Good Practice Guide for Mental Health Nurses Irish Association of Social Workers: Lesbian Gay and Bisexual People - A Guide to Good Practice for Social Workers Psychological Society of Ireland: Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual People - A Good Practice Guide for Psychologists (forthcoming)


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_ Eddie Parsons of Gold, the older LGBT people’s group, Professor Agnes Higgins of Trinity College Dublin, author of the research and Kieran Rose, GLEN Chair at the launch of Visible Lives

_O  dhran Allen, GLEN, Minister for Health Mary Harney, Michael Barron of BeLonG To Youth Services and Geoff Day, Director of the National Office for Suicide Prevention at the launch of Supporting LGBT Lives GLEN has also worked with a range of national mental health services to develop LGBT-inclusive policies and LGBT good practice guides for their staff and volunteers. These include the Samaritans, Bodywhys, MyMind and Pieta House. An example is Supporting LGBT Callers: An Introduction for Samaritans Volunteers.

PROGRESS REPORT

_P  resident Mary McAleese and Odhran Allen, Director of Mental Health Policy in GLEN at the launch of the LGBT Mental Health Guide.

_ Visible Lives Key Findings

Training The HSE Health Promotion Unit (Dublin North East) established a training programme which has been running since 2009. This training, facilitated by GLEN, has been provided to a range of HSE health and social service staff and other support agencies nationally. The

LGBT-Inclusive Practice Training has also been provided to mental health services such as Samaritans. GLEN also provides LGBT Mental Health training nationally to mental health, child and adolescent mental health and primary care services as part of its work programme with the National Office for Suicide Prevention.

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mental health and well being _ continued

_ Ineke Durville, President of the Irish Association of Social Workers with Brian Sheehan and Eoin Collins of GLEN at the launch of Lesbian Gay and Bisexual People - A Guide to Good Practice for Social Workers

Targeted Information and Support GLEN along with BeLonG To Youth Service and the National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) devised Look After Yourself, Look After Your Mental Health, a mental health information booklet for LGBT people. The booklet was launched by then President Mary McAleese in Ă ras an UachtarĂĄin with representatives of all Irish LGBT groups attending. The guide provides easy to read information on mental health tailored to the needs of LGBT people. Copies are available free of charge from www.healthpromotion.ie and are being distributed nationally to LGBT groups and services. An accompanying LGBT mental health website has also been developed www.lgbtmentalhealth.ie

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Established in 2010, the National LGBT Helpline provides listening,

_

support and information to LGBT people, their family and friends nationally. The service is run by a network of seven local helplines and was established with the support of the Community Foundation for Ireland. The service can act as a first port of call for LGBT people and deals with a range of caller issues, including coming out, isolation, mental health issues and signposting to services. GLEN played a key role in securing the initial funding and overseeing the roll-out of this service and continues to provide strategic and administrative support to the service. Other Health Work GLEN works closely with a range of LGBT NGOs on the HSE LGBT Health Advisory Committee to support the HSE in developing an LGBT Health Strategy and also sits on the HSE

Transgender Health Working Group to establish care pathways for Transgender people. GLEN worked closely with a range of health services and groups on the Palliative Care and Oncology Project which piloted a training programme for staff on LGBT isssues in oncology and palliative care services in hospitals and hospices and was launched by Senator Prof John Crown. In 2012 GLEN worked with the Irish Hospice Foundation to update Coping with the Death of Your Same-Sex Partner which provides information on bereavement and support options for gay and lesbian people whose partner has died. This was originally launched by Marian Finucane in 2009.


g ay + l e s b i a n e q u a l i t y n e t w o r k PROGRESS REPORT

Road to Radical Reform: Critical Events leading to the enactment of marriage -based civil partnership. 2005—2011


2005 GLEN meet Minister for Justice Michael McDowell who in response establishes Working Group chaired by Ann Colley (the ‘Colley Group’) to examine the issues. GLEN appointed to the Group. 2006. Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern launches GLEN Strategic Plan that advocates marriage and other reforms for LGBT people.

2006 GLEN, Equality Authority and Colley Group hold major international conference on legal recognition. 2006 Colley Working Group identifies marriage as equality option. Argues that if marriage not possible for Constitutional reasons, only other option should be full civil partnership closely based on marriage

2006 Case taken by Katherine Zappone and Ann-Louise Gilligan to have their Canadian marriage recognised fails in the High Court on Constitutional grounds. 2006 Labour Party says marriage would require Constitutional change and publish Civil Unions Bill providing same protections as marriage, modeled on Colley Group marriage-based civil partnership option. GLEN support the Bill. 2007 Labour Party Civil Unions bill debated in the Dáil twice, but defeated

05-07


The Government is committed to full equality for all in our society. Taking account of the options paper prepared by the Colley Group and the pending Supreme Court case, we will legislate for Civil Partnerships at the earliest possible date in the lifetime of the Government.

2007 New Fianna Fail/Green Party Government commit to civil partnership based on Colley Group marriage-based option. 2007 Launching GLEN report, new Justice Minister Brian Lenihan says Government will legislate for civil partnership without waiting for Supreme Court Appeal

2008 GLEN brief members of the Oireachtas urging model of civil partnership as close as possible to marriage 2008 June: New Justice Minister Dermot Ahern asserts his commitment to legislate at meeting with GLEN 2008 Heads of Civil Partnership Bill published. Provides for marriage-based civil partnership, modeled on ‘Colley’. GLEN welcomes it but draws attention to gaps on children.

2008 After initial opposition from a number of TDs and Senators, the Taoiseach and the Fianna Fail Parliamentary Party come out strongly in favour of civil partnership 2008 October. Secretary General of Dept. of Justice launches GLEN Annual report on behalf of Justice Minister. Confirms that CP bill with include full equality in tax and social welfare

2009 June. Civil Partnership Bill launched in offices of GLEN by Minister John Gormley, leader of government coalition partner, the Green Party. 2009 GLEN respond to Catholic Bishops’ opposition to Civil Partnership, saying it’s a civil not a religious matter. 2009 December Justice Minister introduces Bill to Dáil 2009 The Dáil gallery was packed with LGBT people as the Minister introduced the Bill while outside groups protested.

2008 Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service recognise de facto same-sex partners of Irish nationals after publication of ‘Heads of Bill’.

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2010 July: CP Bill passed by both Houses of the Irish Parliament – with all party support in the Dáil and only put to a vote in the Seanad where it passed 48 to 4 2010 Celebration of passage by politicians from all Parties as Minister for Justice launches GLEN transcripts of the parliamentary debate on civil partnership 2010 Social Welfare Bill which treats civil partners the same as married couples in all social welfare provisions passes through Oireachtas.

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2010 In line with GLEN’s submission, Law Reform Commission recommend extension of guardianship of children to civil partners in Report on Legal Aspects of Family Relationships 2010 December: Civil Partnership and Certain Rights of Cohabitants Act commenced by Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern TD at GLEN reception

2011 January: First same-sex couple recognized in Ireland on Jan 11th by Immigration service. 2011 New Programme for Government commits to completing tax aspects of Civil Partnership and addressing any omissions, especially those relating to children, and commitment to address marriage through Constitutional Convention. 2011 April: First public Civil Partnership held, to very positive coverage throughout media

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2011 Oireachtas passes Finance (No 3) Act, introduced by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, which treats civil partners the same as married couples in the tax codes. 2011 Minister for Justice Alan Shatter amends citizenship provisions to provide equality for civil partners, following amendment proposed by Senator Katherine Zappone. 2011 More foreign marriages and civil partnerships recognised, including marriage from New York, while 536 couples have Civil Partnerships in Ireland in 2011.


2012 On anniversary of first Civil Partnership GLEN op ed in Irish Times calls for marriage as the next incremental step towards full Constitutional Equality for lesbian and gay couples. 2012 Fianna Fail Ard Fheis supports marriage for lesbian and gay people, joining Labour, Sinn Fein and Green Party in supporting moves to marriage. Fine Gael Ard Fheis passes motions to prioritise marriage in the Constitutional Convention.

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2012 GLEN celebrate 2nd anniversary of passage of Civil Partnership Act 2012 Tรกnaiste Eamon Gilmore reiterates his support for civil marriage at ILGA Europe Conference in Dublin

2012 Fine Gael Parliamentary 2012 Almost 1,000 Civil Chair, Charlie Flanagan TD, Partnerships by end of 2012 launches Case Study on Civil Partnership and commits government to continued progress on LGB Equality 2012 Minister for Justice Alan Shatter TD announces comprehensive parenting reforms for lesbian and gay families. 2012 Chief Justice of Ireland launches guides to Civil Partnership in Four Courts

Road to Radical Reform Critical Events leading to the enactment of marriage -based civil partnership


community development

treatment is at the core of a healthy and functioning society. Society must

where an individual is given the opportunity and encouragement to reach his or her potential.” Minister John Curran at the launch of the LGBT Code of Practice.

Building on the Code of Practice for Supporting LGBT Communities for Community Development Organisations, Family Resource Centres and Local Partnerships, developed in 2009 by GLEN and a partnership of those agencies and their funders, GLEN trained and presented to over 100 community development organisations to support their work with local LGBT people and communities.

PROGRESS REPORT

provide the environment

GLEN’s work on community development in the period 2010 to 2012 included our contribution to the LGBT Diversity programme. This 3-year community development programme, funded by Atlantic Philanthropies and begun in 2010, is a coordinated national response by twelve LGBT organisations, including GLEN, to build the capacity of the LGBT sector throughout the country. The Programme facilitates the development of LGBT organisations and their collaboration with the wider community to advocate strategically and effectively on sexual orientation and gender identity issues.

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“The principle of fair

Minister for State at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, John Curran TD and Davin Roche of GLEN at the launch of the Code of Practice for Supporting LGBT Communities

The Community Foundation of Ireland has provided very significant and innovative support on LGBT equality and inclusion. GLEN continues to support their work as a member of the Foundation’s grant assessment committee. These grants have been awarded to almost 100 organisations supporting LGBT equality and inclusion throughout Ireland.

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international I think it is our responsibility not to lose sight of the universal, indivisible, interdependent and SIGNIFICANTLY interrelated nature of human rights. I encourage the LGBTI movement to stay active in the struggle of all rights for all people. Because of their historical experience, LGBTI persons have a unique insight into the importance of rights, and the human cost of their not being realised. Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore TD, speaking at the ILGA-Europe Conference in Dublin, 2012

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Ireland has made substantial progress on LGBT rights over the last 20 years, and both contributes to and benefits from progress on LGBT rights at the EU, the Council of Europe and the UN. GLEN and many other organisations benefited from the solidarity of LGBT organisations in other countries in achieving that progress. GLEN continues to work both at an EU level, primarily through the International Lesbian and Gay Association – Europe (ILGA-Europe), and internationally, to promote LGBTI rights.

GLEN works with ILGA-Europe supporting their efforts to enhance protections for LGBT people in Europe through the EU, the Council of Europe and the OSCE, and GLEN Director Brian Sheehan was recently elected to the Board of ILGAEurope. GLEN are also members of the ‘Amsterdam Group’, a group of national LGBT organisations from Europe and the US who work with their Governments on LGBTI rights internationally. GLEN hosted the annual ‘Amsterdam Group’ conference in Dublin in 2012.

One of the most significant events took place in Dublin in October 2012, when the Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore TD delivered the keynote address at the annual ILGA-Europe conference. GLEN and a range of national and regional LGBT organisations from Ireland hosted 350 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) activists from all across Europe at the conference that explored the theme of Advancing LGBTI Equality in Challenging Economic Times.

The Tánaiste has recently appointed GLEN to the Joint Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade / Non-Governmental Organisations Standing Committee on Human Rights. GLEN and Front Line Defenders, the international foundation for the protection of human rights defenders based in Dublin, have collaborated on a series of events to raise awareness of the work of LGBTI human rights defenders across the world, including an information event with visiting LGBTI human rights defenders and Irish LGBT activists at the Front Line Dublin Platform in 2011.


g ay + l e s b i a n e q u a l i t y n e t w o r k PROGRESS REPORT

_ Irish MEP Phil Prendergast, ILGA-Europe Executive Director Evelyne Paradis and Brian Sheehan from GLEN at the European Parliament

_ Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore TD at the ILGA-Europe Conference in Dublin, with ILGA-Europe Co-Chairs Gabi Calleja and Martin Christensen and the chair of the ILGAEurope Dublin 2012 organising group, GLEN’s Tiernan Brady

_ GLEN Chair Kieran Rose with Mary Lawlor, Director of Front Line Defenders and others at the launch of the ’10 on the 10th’ campaign highlighting the many challenges and dangers faced by human rights defenders, 2010

_N  dumie Funda, South Africa, sign language interpreter Ali Steward, GLEN’s Odhran Allen and Jim Loughran from Front Line Defenders at the GLEN/Front Line Defenders seminar on LGBT human rights defenders as part of the 2011 Dublin Platform

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gay hiv strategies “We as political leaders

have to work to make our societies more open, caring, inclusive and nonjudgemental. We commit ourselves to promoting a

Gay HIV Strategies (GHS), a GLEN initiative, is resourced by the HSE to develop and support strategic approaches to sexual health and HIV prevention for gay and bisexual men. The work spans a broad range of areas including the education, health and mental health sectors and includes working with sexual health policy makers, service providers and sexual health and LGBT community organisations.

people, and provision of training to regional GUM clinics. ·

The development of a module on LGBT sexual health for the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland’s Sexual Health Awareness Week (SHAW).

·

Through membership of Gay Health Network, supported the launch of a new comprehensive HIV prevention campaign targeting young gay and bisexual men.

·

With the HIV Services Network (HSN) and the HSE, the hosting of an IQHIV conference, aiming to introduce European models for the evaluation of HIV prevention campaigns to Ireland.

greater understanding of HIV and promoting a greater awareness of prevention strategies.” From the joint statement on Irish Aids Day, 2010

A key area of the work of GHS is to support national policy measures to address sexual health needs. In this context, GHS worked with the then Minister of State for Health, Áine Brady TD and all the spokespeople for Health in the Oireachtas to develop a joint statement supporting initiatives to address sexual health issues for gay and bisexual men and to tackle the stigma associated with HIV. GHS has also been appointed to the Government committee producing Ireland’s first National Sexual Health Strategy Other areas of GHS’s work from 2010 to 2012 included: ·

·

24

The delivery of information and training sessions on the sexual health of gay and bisexual men to a wide range of primary care staff and sexual health clinic staff through the Sexual Health Forum sessions at St. James’s and the Mater Hospitals. The development of a Good Practice Guide For Healthcare Professionals on sexual health for lesbian, gay and bisexual

_ Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, Sinn Féin; Minister for State for Health, Áine Brady TD; Dr. James Reilly TD, Fine Gael; Jan O’Sullivan TD, Labour Party; and Finian McGrath TD, Independent, launching the joint statement on HIV prevention on Irish Aids Day 2010.


finances 2010

2009

Core Funding: The Atlantic Philanthropies HSE – East Coast: Gay HIV Strategies HSE - National Office for Suicide Prevention: LGBT Mental Health HSE – Northern Area: LGBT Mental Health

400,000 95,100 46,199 26,000

347,000 100,108 47,046 27,630

418,000 105,930 50,000 30,000

Project Funding: Building Sustainable LGBT Communities The Atlantic Philanthropies

-

-

149,975

National LGBT Helpline Project Community Foundation for Ireland LGBT Helplines

1,200

76,829 -

76,952 -

Visible Lives Older LGBT People Research Age & Opportunity HSE

-

-

40,000 9,500

-

4,400 20,000

100,000 75,382

Health HSE: LGBT Health HSE: Sexual Health HSE - NOSP: LGBT Mental Health Resources HSE - NOSP: Supporting LGBT Lives Research

PROGRESS REPORT

2011

g ay + l e s b i a n e q u a l i t y n e t w o r k

Income

16,000

Education Guidelines Dept of Education & Skills

-

-

6,080

Community Development Code of Practice Dept of Community Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs

-

-

4,874

Workplace: Excellence in Diversity The Equality Authority – Equality Mainstreaming Unit

20,000

-

-

Economic Case for Diversity Research The Equality Authority – European Union PROGRESS Programme

10,000

-

-

Other Projects EU Funded Projects in Education and Policing

16,050

4,845

-

Other Income Refunds

3,939 -

5,849 560

5,731 434

Totals

618,488

634,267

1,088,858

25


finances Expenditure Staff Costs Employee Costs Salaries Employer’s PRSI Staff Pension Costs Travel and Subsistence Recruitment Costs

26

2011

2010

2009

400,474 44,670 25,322 1,836

417,662 46,915 28,008 7,013

397,151 44,777 42,894 7,213 4,967

Office Costs Rent and Rates Light and Heat Repairs and Maintenance Equipment Printing, Postage and Stationary Telephone Insurance

43,225 1,352 1,946 3,691 9,907 705

38,154 1,567 1,898 6,755 13,617 694

55,680 3,823 1,383 1,938 5,029 16,688 785

Activity Costs Publications and Events Media and Communication Promotion and LGBT Organisational Support International and European work General Activities and Networking Subscriptions and Licence fees Resource Materials

19,040 8,081 2,388 3,034 2,871 4,602 224

50,713 11,894 4,080 6,414 3,029 2,479 297

60,090 11,704 9,244 5,534 1,855 2,836 546

Other Costs Evaluation Office Move Organisational Development Legal and Professional Fees Audit Fees Bank Charges Bad and Doubtful Debts Sundry Expenses Depreciation

3,690 955 202 5,794 6,934

29,101 7,800 2,500 1,800 3,630 1,044 1,044 7,627 7,113

7,242 3,630 1,011 521 7,419 11,530

Project Costs Building Sustainable LGBT Communities National LGBT Helpline Project Visible Lives Older LGBT People Research

21,065 22,411

99,736 28,597

149,227 39,492 180

Sexual Health LGBT Health The Equality Authority Funded Projects EU Funded Projects

2,000 16,250 9,766

10,089 2,000 -

62,979 14,464 -

Totals

662,435

843,270

971,832


2011

2010

2009

Fixed Assets Tangible Assets

4,764

11,697

12,313

Debtors

954

2,282

2,881

Cash at bank and in hand

338,696

375,865

597,139

339,650

378,147

600,020

(35,461)

(32,141)

(40,706)

Creditors: amounts falling due within one year

PROGRESS REPORT

Current Assets

g ay + l e s b i a n e q u a l i t y n e t w o r k

Balance Sheet as at 31st December

Net Current Assets

304,189

346,006

559,314

Total Assets less Current Liabilities

308,953

357,703

571,627

Accruals and Deferred Income

-

(8,000)

(20,000)

308,953

349,703

551,627

Income and Expenditure Account

308,953

349,703

551,627

Total Funds

308,953

349,703

551,627

Capital and Reserves

Notes to the Accounts: 1.

Any surplus/loss in the Income and Expenditure Account represents either funds received in a previous year for expenditure incurred in the current year, or funds received in the current year for expenditure that has not yet been incurred. No other surplus/loss arose.

2.

The company, G.L.E.N. Limited, trading as GLEN, is limited by guarantee and does not have share capital. Company Number is 406523.

3.

GLEN is a registered charity: CHY 16635

4.

The Accounts were approved by the Directors: for 2010 on 14th April 2011 and for 2011 on 2nd May 2012.

5.

As of January 2013, the Accounts for 2012 have not yet been prepared by the Auditors.

27


board Muriel Walls Muriel is a family law solicitor and campaigner for over 30 years. She is a partner in the recently established firm of Walls & Toomey specialising in family law and mediation. Maura Molly Maura has wide experience in community, co-operative and private sector organisations. She has a long association with community activism and the lesbian community. Maura has significant senior management experience in the IT corporate environment with Microsoft . Kieran Rose, Chair Kieran is a Senior Planner with the Office of International Relations and Research and with the Economic Development Unit of Dublin City Council. Kieran is a former member of the Board of the Equality Authority and was a member of the Government Working Group on the development of a new Human Rights and Equality Commission. Fergus Ryan Fergus Ryan, LL.B., Ph.D. (Dub), is a lecturer in law at the Dublin Institute of Technology. He previously served as Head of the Department of Law at DIT (2003-9), and has taught at UCD, TCD and the Law Society of Ireland. Fergus has written and spoken extensively on civil partnership, cohabitation and the law.

28

Christopher Robson Christopher Robson has been a LGBT rights activist for more than 30 years. He was a founder member of the Dublin, Lesbian and Gay Collective, and also of Gay Health Action. In 1988 he was one of the founding

staff members of GLEN, and has worked continuously with them since .

Brian Sheehan Director

Arthur Leahy Director of Southern Gay Men’s Health Project based in Cork. Arthur is a founder of Cork Gay Community Development Project and has had long term involvement in Cork’s Quay Co-operative initiative. He is centrally involved in a substantial sheltered housing initiative in Cork.

Davin Roche Director of Community Development Strategy Director of Workplace Diversity

Nathalie Weadick Nathalie Weadick is Director of the Irish Architecture Foundation (IAF), a national organisation committed to communicating architecture to the public and has dev eloped the successful Open House Dublin initiative. In 2010 she was Commissioner for the Irish exhibition at the 12th International Architecture Exhibition at Venice and in 2008 she was co-commissioner and co-curator. In 2012 Natalie joined the board of GLEN. Ciaran O’Cuinn Ciarán is Executive Director of External & Strategic Affairs at DCU where he leads the strategic planning, communications, marketing and international relations functions of the University. As Ministerial Policy Adviser and Programme Manager at the Department of Justice, Equality & law Reform, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Communications, Marine & Natural Resources he worked on the design, delivery and implementation of many significant public policy initiatives including the development of civil partnership laws in Ireland. In 2012 Ciaran joined the board of GLEN.

Tiernan Brady Director of Gay HIV Strategies

Odhrán Allen Director of Mental Health Policy

Sandra Irwin-Gowran Director of Education Policy Change

Marie Hamilton Administration Manager

Eoin Collins Director of Policy Change Eoin is now Senior Evaluation Specialist in Actknowledge in New York and consults to GLEN. Triona Brick Social Media and Communications Intern


appendix: a selection of glen research, reports and resources. g ay + l e s b i a n e q u a l i t y n e t w o r k

Civil Partnership

Dรกil Debates on Civil Partnership

Same-Sex Couples and Immigration Provisions in Ireland

GLEN, 2010

GLEN, 2011

ICCL/GLEN, 2012

A publication of the historic Second Stage Dรกil debates on the Civil Partnership Bill in December 2009 and January 2010

A guide outlining the immigration provisions for same-sex couples, whether de facto or in a legal relationship, where one or both partners are from outside the EU.

A comprehensive guide, in plain English, to the rights and obligations of same-sex couples created by the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act of 2010. Produced with the ICCL as part of the Know Your Rights Series.

GLEN, 2010

Centre for Evaluation Innovation, New York, 2012 An analysis of the role played by GLEN in the achievement of the Civil Partnership legislation and the increased progress towards civil marriage for lesbian and gay couples.

GLEN, 2009 This analysis, produced on publication of the Civil Partnership Bill in 2009, highlights the potential impact of provisions in the Bill and the key gaps.

EDUCATION

Seanad Debates on Civil Partnership

Civil Partnership and Ireland: How a Minority Achieved a Majority: A Case Study of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network

Civil Partnership Your Questions Answered- A Comprehensive Analysis of the Civil Partnership Bill

PROGRESS REPORT

Know Your Rights: The Rights and Obligations of Civil Partners and other Same-Sex Couples.

A publication of the Second Stage and Final Stage Seanad debates on the Civil Partnership Bill on 7th and 8th July 2010. They were launched by the Minister for Justice, Dermot Ahern TD in July 2010.

GLEN Campaign for Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Relationships and Families- A Chronology of key events. GLEN, 2010 An account of some of the milestones in the campaign for legal recognition of lesbian and gay relationships and families.

Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Students in Post-Primary Schools: Guidance for Principals and School Leaders GLEN, Dept of Education, 2009 This guide for second level schools outlines the issues for LGBT young people in schools and steps that school leaders can take to provide safe and supportive schools. The Guide has been endorsed by all the Education Partners.

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HEALTH & WELL BEING

10 Things you should know about LGBT Students: 5 Things Your School Can Do GLEN, Dept. of Education, 2009 Companion insert to the Guide above summarizing the key issues and actions a school can take.

Including Lesbian Gay and Bisexual Students in School Policies: Guidelines for Principals GLEN, Dept. of Education, National Assoc. of Principals and Deputy Principals, 2011

Guide for Principals in second level schools on how to include LGBT young people in school policies.

30

Supporting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Students: The Role of Guidance Counsellors GLEN, National Centre for Guidance in Education, 2010

Coping with the Death of your Same-Sex Partner GLEN, Irish Hospice Foundation 2009 & 2012

Resource for Guidance Counsellors in second level schools outlining how they can support LGBT young people.

A resource for lesbian, gay and bisexual people on the death of their partner

Supporting Lesbian, Gay & Bisexual Students: The role of Teachers

Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Patients: The Issues for General Practice, including a ‘Quick Reference’ guide.

GLEN, ASTI, TUI, 2011 Resource for Teachers in second level schools, to support their role in providing safe and supportive schools for young LGBT people

GLEN, ICGP, 2009 A resource for GPs on supporting their LGB patients in primary care, produced with the Irish College of General Practioners

Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual People: A Guide to Good Practice for Social Workers, including a ‘Quick Reference’ guide. GLEN, IASW 2011 A resource for Social Workers on supporting LGB people, produced with the Irish Association of Social Workers

Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual People: A Good Practice Guide for Mental Health Nurses including a ‘Quick Reference’ guide GLEN, IIIMHN, 2010 A resource for mental health nurses on LGB patients, produced in association with the Irish Institute of Mental Health Nursing.


g ay + l e s b i a n e q u a l i t y n e t w o r k

GLEN, BeLong To, HSE, Childrens Research Centre, TCD 2009 Supporting LGBT Lives is the first comprehensive Irish survey of the mental health issues for LGBT people. Undertaken by the Children’s Research Center, Trinity College Dublin.

Lesbian, Gay and bisexual Patients: The Issues for Mental Health Practice, including a ‘Quick Reference’ guide.

Supporting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Callers: A Guide for Samaritans Volunteers.

GLEN, College of Psychiatry in Ireland, 2011

GLEN, Samaritans, HSE, 2010

A guide for psychiatrists and those working in the mental health services on the issues for LGB people.

LGBT Health: Towards meeting the healthcare needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual People.

Look After Yourself; Look After Your Mental Health: Information for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People

HSE, 2009

GLEN, BeLong To, NOSP, 2010

An analysis of the health and mental health needs of LGBT people.

A mental health and well-being resource for LGBT people, produced in association with the National Office for Suicide Prevention.

Guide to supporting LGBT callers for Samaritan volunteers.

Visible Lives: Identifying the Experiences and Needs of Older Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People in Ireland Also Visible Lives: Key Findings GLEN, HSE, Age & Opportunity, TCD, 2012 First study of the needs and experiences of older LGBT people in Ireland. Undertaken by the School of Nursing & midwifery in Trinity College Dublin.

LGB People and Sexual Health: A Good Practice Guide for Healthcare Professionals Gay HIV Strategies, GLEN 2012

PROGRESS REPORT

Supporting LGBT Lives: Key Findings Report & Main Report

A guide for doctors, practice nurses in primary and specialist care and other healthcare staff on sexual health issues for LGB people.

Men Who Have Sex With Men: HIV Prevention Among Those Who Are HIV Positive, A Resource Paper Gay HIV Strategies, GLEN 2009 This Paper examines issues on secondary prevention of HIV - HIV prevention strategies and engagement with the HIV positive population group.

31


Workplace & Economy

Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Workplace Diversity Guide GLEN, IBEC, ICTU, IBM 2010 A comprehensive guide to support employers on implementing equality and diversity policies and practices in the workplace for their LGBT employees and customers.

OTHER GLEN RESOURcES

Excellence in Diversity – Online toolkit GLEN, 2012 www.excellenceindiversity.ie

The Economic Case for Diversity: International Competitiveness and the New Economy - The Role of Equality and Diversity

Community Development Code of Practice GLEN, FSA, Pobal, 2009

GLEN 2010 Online toolkit for employers to analyse and guide their progress in supporting LGBT diversity in their workplaces.

An exploration of the economic, as against the business case for diversity and equality.

Guide for Community Development Projects, Family Support Agencies and Local Area Partnerships on including LGBT people and communities in their policies and programmes.

Being LGBT at work – A guide for LGBT people and trade unions Diversity Champions – Ireland’s workplace diversity programme. GLEN, 2012 www.diversitychampions.ie Short document outlining the GLEN Diversity Champions Programme, which assists employers with the inclusion of LGB employees

32

Diversity, Equality and Economic Competitiveness. A Report by GLEN and Dublin City Council GLEN, Dublin City Council, 2011

GLEN, ICTU, Equality Authority 2012 A guide to legal rights and protections for LGBT employees.

GLEN: An Evaluation of the GLEN Building Sustainable Change Programme PA Consulting, 2011

Report of an EU and Equality Authority funded project exploring the evidence showing a strong link between diversity, equality and economic competiveness.

A GLEN commissioned evaluation, conducted by PA Consulting, of the five year Atlantic Philanthropies & Government funded programme of work undertaken by GLEN between 2006 and 2010.


Right to Marry for All Key to Progressive Republic Irish Times: 10th April 2012 GLEN Chair Kieran Rose writes an opinion column in the Irish Times calling for Civil Marriage as the next step for lesbian and gay couples. The right to marry is a basic human right, as set out in the UN Charter of Human Rights and other human rights treaties. In a democratic republic based on equal citizenship, civil marriage should be open to all citizens, including lesbians and gay men. The fact that our Constitution and its provisions relating to marriage have been interpreted by the courts to exclude samesex couples from this fundamental human right is deeply regrettable. While this constitutional barrier is in force, lesbians and gay men will not have full equality under our Constitution. Public opinion is in favour of opening out civil marriage to same-sex couples. In a recent Government opinion poll 73% were in favour of same-sex marriage. There is an all Party consensus with Fine Gael and Fianna Fail recently voting in favour of Civil Marriage for all. The Equality Authority and other bodies have also called for civil marriage. Equally, the introduction of civil partnership in April last year has had a transformative effect on social attitudes and in the status of gay people in our society. In the nine months from April 2011 to the end of the year, more than 500 couples went to their Registry Offices in all counties and before the Registrar solemnly affirmed their love and commitment to one another. These legal commitments are then followed by joyful celebrations where family, friends, colleagues and neighbours give their affirmation of the profound commitment the couple have just given to one another. These new civil partnership celebrations are extraordinary in their parallel to traditional wedding celebrations. One might have thought that this new status of civil partnership and the consequent

celebration rituals would take some time to be established and widely accepted. However, almost overnight and as if by some ‘hidden hand’, gay couples and their families and friends have adopted the traditional wedding rituals of the hotel reception, speeches with laughter and some teary moments, children running around, dinner, then the dancing ... and the Fields of Athenry! There has been an enthusiastic general welcome for these new wedding celebrations, as evidenced by the high-profile media coverage of delighted couples, including on the front pages of local newspapers throughout the country. I suggest that the people of Ireland in this open hearted welcoming of civil partnerships, have spoken, and are saying we are entitled to marry. The hundreds of lesbian and gay couples who have publicly celebrated their civil partnerships have brought the day of Civil Marriages much, much closer. To move to marriage now is not a massive legislative leap; it is an incremental step building on the powerful civil partnership legislation. With the singular exception of parenting (where reform is urgently needed) civil partnership provides almost all of the responsibilities and rights of civil marriage. The Colley Working Group Report on Domestic Partnership (2006) laid the foundations for progress in this area, and was the intellectual basis for the Civil Partnership legislation and for the Labour Party’s Civil Unions Bill 2007, both closely modelled on marriage. The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) representative, Eoin Collins, successfully persuaded the Working Group the civil marriage was the ultimate solution. The Colley Group report makes the powerful point that: “The introduction of civil marriage for same-sex couples would achieve equality of status with opposite sex couples and such recognition that would underpin a wider equality for gay and lesbian people”

For example, the introduction of full constitutional equality would be another great signal and support for young people who are coming out, perhaps feeling isolated and vulnerable to bullying in school, that this State says that they are equally cherished under our Constitution. The opening out of civil marriage to all couples would enhance our shared national values of equal citizenship and would have resonance in related areas of difference and inclusion such as ethnic origins. I suggest that the ‘court of public opinion’ has spoken, and that now is the time to take the next incremental step to the right to marry. In nearly all other countries that now have civil marriage, it was on the basis of civil partnership providing the ‘stepping stone’. The Civil Partnership Act is a great achievement for Irish society and for the Oireachtas. Despite significant opposition at times, our legislators cooperated together to get this complex piece of legislation onto the statute books in record time. In 1993 we achieved decriminalisation of gay men based on equality, followed by powerful equality legislation, civil partnership, and now progress towards civil marriage. In a relatively short period of time, Ireland has moved from being one of the most unwelcoming countries to gay people, to being one of the most progressive globally. The Constitutional Convention provides a forum to further build a solid consensus for civil marriage and to tease out all the issues. GLEN looks forward to this opportunity for further engagement so that civil marriage for lesbian and gay people can be achieved as soon as possible.


glen.ie

gay + lesbian equality network


GLEN Progress Report 2010 to 2012