It’s Party Time as BeLonG To Celebrates Its 10th Birthday!
Saturday, 02 November 2013
BeLonG To, the organisation for LGBT people aged between 14 and 23, is celebrating its 10th birthday with a huge party on Saturday, November 9.
“We are having a party to celebrate and to thank people for all they have done to make the last 10 years possible,” says Michael Barron, Director of BeLongTo.
BeLonG To was founded in 2003 on the understanding that Ireland was an unjust place for LGBT young people, who were facing severe levels of homophobia and transphobia in their schools, families and communities.
“We wanted to change this,” adds Michael. “Ten years ago, we had one group in Dublin. Now, we support 23 groups across 14 counties”.
“In 2003, 52 young people attended BeLonG To – now over 3,500 attend each year”.
“In 2003 it was really difficult to even talk about homophobic and transphobic bullying – today these issues are central to Department of Education policy”.
“We have made huge advances in improving mental health amongst LGBT young people and in supporting LGBT Asylum Seekers and Refugees”.
The DJ line-up on the night includes Bad Bambi (from Black Faune), Tonie Walsh, Kelly-Anne Byrne, and Martin Guilfoyle from (SPIN 1038).
Tickets €10/€5 student or unwaged tickets from link above,www.belongto.org or by phone on the Project Art’s Centre Box Office on +353 1 8819 613 or in person in the Project Arts Centre
“We are not even half ways there – we have so much more to do – but we believe that Ireland is now a better place for LGBT young people than it was 10 years ago,” adds Michael.
“This would not have been possible without so much support, advice, encouragement and hard work.”
Research shows that the time between when a young person realises that they are LGBT (on average 12 years old) and when they ‘come out’ to others (on average 18) can be a period of great stress and mental health risk.
BeLonG To works to support LGBT young people through the coming out process and in 2013 it will work with over 3,500 young people through a network of youth groups across the country.
Young people fear that they will be rejected by their friends and families before coming out – a fear that can lead to intense anxiety and depression that can have lasting effect.
“They are coming out much younger and in far greater numbers. This is hugely positive but is not always easy. We should all stand up and show these young people that as a society we admire their bravery and support them for who they are.”
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