Minister Doherty meets the experts on non-binary and young trans issues during visit to BeLonG To

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Minister Regina Doherty TD, meets young people at BeLonG To
7 October 2017:

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty, T.D, this week (5 October 2017) visited the offices of BeLonG To, the national organisation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) young people, aged between 14 and 23.

Minister Doherty met with the organisation’s Executive Director Moninne Griffith, young people who avail of BeLong To’s services, a parent of one of the young people and some staff members.

In an informal discussion, Minister Doherty listened to the young people describing their experiences of coming out, and particularly the reaction within their families and their schools. The young people also outlined the practical issues which young trans and non-binary people can face in having their identity accepted.

The Minister said that she was delighted to meet with the young people and especially to see them being such excellent advocates for themselves and their peers: “I learned from the experts. I heard first-hand of the experiences of being a trans or non-binary young person in Ireland. And I heard from a fantastic mother who explained the trans issue from her perspective.”

The Minister said: “I felt so inspired listening to these young people. They were so articulate, so self-aware, so insightful and so brave. And even though they have been hurt by their experiences, they were optimistic, and witty, and even compassionate for those in our society who don’t yet appreciate what it means to be trans or non-binary.

Minister Doherty praised the work of BeLongTo in supporting young lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people and their families, through its network of support groups and other services. And she undertook to examine the position of non-binary and young trans people in reviewing the Gender Recognition Act.


Note for editors:

The Gender Recognition Act

  • The Gender Recognition Act 2015 (the “Act) was commenced on 4th September 2015. The Act provides for the preferred gender of a person to be fully recognised by the State for all purposes.
  • An applicant who has attained the age of 18 years may apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate by way of self-determination.
  • A person aged 16 or 17 may apply to the court (through a parent or next friend) for an exemption from the standard requirement of a minimum age for gender recognition of 18 years.

BeLong To

  • The organisation was established in 2003.
  • The organisation’s vision is described as being “a world where LGBT+ young people are equal, safe and valued in the diversity of their identities and experiences”.
  • Its mission is “To work with LGBT+ young people as equals to achieve our vision through (a) youth work; (b) changing attitudes; and (c) research”.
  • BeLonG To works with more than 1,500 lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans young people and families each year through a network of 24 youth groups; a parent support group and a national helpline.
  • The Standup! LGBT Awareness Week is run each year to tackle homophobic and transphobic bullying by increasing awareness, friendship and support by LGBT+ students by other students. This year it runs from13 - 17 November.
  • The organisation receives statutory funding for a number of projects and programmes, all aimed at changing the experiences lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans young people have growing up.  


Last modified:09/10/2017