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Statement from Belong To re The Catholic Primary Schools Management Association

Statement from Belong To re The Catholic Primary Schools Management Association

Belong To, the national organisation supporting LGBTQ+ youth in Ireland, is deeply disappointed by recent comments made by The Catholic Primary Schools Management Association in relation to teaching gender identity schools.

Trans young people are in primary schools in Ireland. Ignoring their existence and silencing conversations around identity will have detrimental effects on the lives of these pupils.

Studies show that LGBTQ+ youth face higher levels of suicide ideation and mental health risk that their non-LGBTQ+ peers1. The 2022 School Climate Survey shows that when young people are given access to supportive spaces where it is safe to question their sexual orientation and gender identity, or to identify as LGBTQ+, they are more likely to feel accepted by their peers, have an increased sense of belonging, and less likely to miss school to avoid victimisation.

Rather than brushing this topic under the rug, we need to ensure that schools have the capacity and confidence to support all pupils in an age-appropriate manner, including those who are questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity. All pupils deserve to feel safe and supported at school.

We urge the CPSMA to consider the impact of their decision to strip educators of their ability to support these pupils who already face disproportionate rates of discrimination and bullying.


  • The 2022 School Climate Survey, published by Belong To and Columbia University, found that compared to the general Irish youth population LGBTQ+ students are four times as likely to feel lonely at school (58% vs 14%); twice as likely to face difficulties making friends in school (55% vs 24%); and three times as likely to feel disliked by other students (38% vs 11%).
    Comparative statistics drawn from Irish PISA data collected by the OCED. Research sample size: 1,208 LGBTQ+ second-level students living in Ireland.
    See: Pizmony-Levy, O. (2022). The 2022 Irish National School Climate Survey Report. Research Report. Global Observatory of LGBTQ+ Education and Advocacy. New York: Teachers College, Columbia University. Available at: Comparative statistics: OECD (2019), PISA 2018 Results (Volume III): What School Life Means for Students’ Lives, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris. Available at:
  • The 2016 LGBT Ireland Report, conducted by Trinity College, Dublin and published by GLEN and Belong To, found that LGBTI+ young people living in Ireland had twice the level of self-harm, three times the level of attempted suicide, and four times the level of severe stress, anxiety and depression.
    Comparative statistics drawn from the My World National Youth Mental Health Study. Research sample size: 2,264 LGBTI+ living in Ireland, 1,064 of whom were aged 14-25.
    See: Higgins A. et al. (2016) The LGBTIreland Report: national study of the mental health and wellbeing of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in Ireland. Dublin: GLEN and BeLonG To Youth Services. Available at:
    Comparative statistics: Dooley B and Fitzgerald A (2012) My world survey: national study of youth mental health in Ireland. Dublin: UCD and Headstrong. Available at:
  • The 2021 LGBTI+ Life in Lockdown: One Year Later study, published by Belong To, found that 63% of LGBTQ+ youth living in Ireland had experienced suicide ideation in the 12 months prior. Among trans young people living in Ireland, this increased to 75%.
    Research sample size: 2,279 LGBTQ+ young people aged 14-24 living in Ireland.
    See: Belong To (2021) LGBTI+ Life in Lockdown: One Year Later. Dublin: Belong To. Available at: