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New National Anti-homophobia in the Workplace Campaign Launched to Mark IDAHOT

New National Anti-homophobia in the Workplace Campaign Launched to Mark IDAHOT

Friday, 16 May 2014 

BeLonG To and ICTU call on trade unions and employees to:  

‘Say No to Homophobia & Transphobia in the Workplace’ 

Today, Friday, 16th May, BeLonG To, Ireland’s national organisation for Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) young people and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions have come together to launch a campaign to combat the homophobia and transphobia that LGBT young people face in the workplace.  

Non-discrimination is a fundamental right at work as defined by the International Labour Organisation. The right to equal treatment in the workplace is reflected in Irish law.  The Equality Acts outlaw discrimination at work, including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  

Speaking at the launch, Michael Barron, Founding Director of BeLonG To, said: 

Irish research has established that there is a serious problem with homophobia and transphobia in schools, leading to a devastating impact on the mental health of LGBT young people.  LGBT young people have told BeLonG To that they face similar issues at work.  These range from feeling silenced and excluded as staff in religiously maintained schools and hospitals as a result of Section 37.1, to losing jobs because of prejudice, to harassment and bullying at work.  We are delighted to work with ICTU to bring the Stand Up! Don’t Stand for Homophobia or Transphobia campaign, which we have been running in schools for many years, into the workplace for the first time.  In doing this we aim to empower even more young people to take a stand against homophobia and to make Ireland a safer and more equal place for all”.

Congress Equality Officer, David Joyce, said:  

Decent work sums up the aspirations of people in their working lives, including the right to be free from discrimination and to be treated equally.  Unfortunately, despite much progress over the years, LGBT people continue to experience discrimination and exclusion at work. The most effective way to tackle such discrimination is for LGBT people to join their trade union and for trade unions.  Unions provide young LGBT people freedom to express their concerns, and to organize and participate in the decisions that affect their working lives. On the occasion of IDAHOT, we are delighted to be standing up against homophobia and transphobia at work with BeLonG To.” 

As part of developing the campaign BeLonG To and ICTU consulted LGBT young people about their experiences at work.  The young people described challenges in finding and keeping work, and dealing with serious incidents of discrimination and exclusion.  LGBT young people told us that when their colleagues and trade unions stood up for them, this really made a difference.   So the Stand Up at Work campaign encourages everyone in the workplace to take a stand against homophobia and transphobia.  As part of the campaign, the Stand Up at Work! video and posters will be distributed online and to trade unions, employment services and training centres all across Ireland. 

This event takes place on 16th May in order to mark International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT).  IDAHOT is a major international awareness day which draws the attention of policymakers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and the media to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTI people around the world. It is marked in over 120 countries, at the UN and at the EU Parliament.  

The Stand Up at Work! video will be premiered at the launch. 

Follow the discussion on social media #StandUpatWork