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Dublin: 12°C Thursday 13 May 2021

Huge rise in young people coming out as gay since marriage referendum

The figures are released in a new survey by LGBT youth organisation BeLonG To.

Ireland Gay Marriage Panti Bliss, pictured at Dublin Castle following last year's referendum Source: AP/Press Association Images

THERE HAS BEEN a huge surge in the number of young people coming out as gay in Ireland since last year’s marriage referendum according to a new survey.

Today marks the first anniversary of last year’s seismic vote which saw marriage made available for those in gay relationships in Ireland for the first time.

Over half of all respondents to a survey by national LGBT organisation BeLonG To of over 1,300 14-23-year-olds say they know someone who has come out for the first time since last year’s referendum.

39% of respondents who identify as LGBT said that they had found the confidence to speak to someone about their sexuality for the first time since the vote.

However, not all the findings were universally positive:

  • 62% of those surveyed who have just come out as LGBT say they don’t know where to turn for support
  • 61% of everyone surveyed say they would like to see improvements in their mental health
  • 56% of young people agree that homophobic bullying has not decreased in the last year
  • While 31% of heterosexual respondents say that equality has been achieved for LGBT people since the referendum, just 7% of those who identify as LGBT agree
  • 35% of LGBT young people say that the marriage referendum has helped LGBT adults, but not them.

A special event to commemorate the year’s anniversary of the referendum will be held this afternoon at 3.30pm at Dublin Castle, attended by Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald and children’s minister Katherine Zappone.

Speaking in advance of today’s event Moninne Griffith, executive director of BeLonG To, said that “history was made” following last May’s vote.

“But there is more work to do to achieve the Ireland we voted for last May,” she said.

It is about equality in our everyday lives, it is about a change in our culture. We celebrate along with the happy couples who have benefited from marriage equality so far this year and their families and friends.

However, we know from the young people we work with everyday, that sadly their daily lives are broadly unaffected by the referendum. We need to keep saying YES to young people who need support services and make sure those services are well funded.

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