BeLonG To and ICTU "Say No to Homophobia & Transphobia in the Workplace"


According to International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) organisers, in at least 77 countries around the world today, same sex relationships are illegal, at times involving life-time imprisonment.

In seven countries, same sex acts are even punishable by death. In almost all countries, freedom for people to live out and to express their true gender identities – and to have them rightfully recognised by the state – is harshly limited by transphobic laws and attitudes.

Progress for LGBT people in Ireland in recent years has been dramatic as Irish society has moved from a situation of the criminalisation of LGBT people to anti-discrimination legislation, civil partnership, a Gender Recognition Bill being debated in Parliament and a promised referendum on same sex marriage in 2015.

Despite the progress however, homophobia and transphobia still exist in Irish workplaces.

In 2009, the National Lesbian and Gay Federation (NLGF) launched a new research report, Burning Issues: Listening to the Voices of the LGBT Community. The study, supported by the Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU) and the Equality Authority, provided a comprehensive overview of the attitudes and opinions of the LGBT community in Ireland on the key issues of vital importance to them.

The research reveals that equality in the workplace is the top concern of LGBT people in Ireland.

Issues range from feeling silenced and excluded as staff in religious run schools and hospitals (as a result of an exemption in our equality legislation allowing institutions leeway to discriminate in order to preserve religious ethos), to losing jobs because of prejudice, to harassment and bullying at work.

For this reason, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) has teamed up with BeLonG To – a national organisation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) young people – to extend their hugely successful Stand Up! Don’t Stand for Homophobia or Transphobia campaign in schools to the workplace.

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 us that they face similar issues at work.

This joint initiative aims to convince young LGBT people that the most effective way to tackle such discrimination is for LGBT people to join their trade union.

Trade Unions provide young LGBT people freedom to express their concerns, and to organise 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.


For more information on ICTU’s LGBT work visit: