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Half of respondents said they avoid holding hands with their partner in public (file photo) Shutterstock/Jordi Mora

Almost a third of LGBT+ community in Ireland avoid certain areas for fear of being assaulted

Half of people said they avoid holding hands with their same-sex partner in public, according to a new survey.

ALMOST A THIRD of people in Ireland who are members of the LGBTQIA+ community avoid certain areas for fear of being assaulted, according to a survey published today.

The research, carried out by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in 30 countries, found that 30% of participants in Ireland “often or always” avoid certain locations “for fear of being assaulted”.

This figure is largely in line with the EU average – the survey found that 29% of people across the 27 member states avoid certain areas for the same reason.

Half of those surveyed (51%) in Ireland said they avoid holding hands with their same-sex partner in public, compared with 53% across the EU.

Just over half of people (52%) said they were harassed the year before completing the survey, compared with an EU-wide average of 54%.

More than 100,000 people across Europe took part in the online survey, including 1,880 in Ireland, from June to August 2023.

People aged 15 and over took part, and the average age of participants was 30.

Physical violence

In terms of physical violence, 13% of respondents in Ireland said they had been attacked in the previous five years, while 5% said they had been attacked in the previous 12 months.

Six in 10 (60%) respondents said they believe violence against LGBTIQ+ people has increased in Ireland, while half (51%) said prejudice and intolerance against the community has risen in the last five years.

These figures are all largely in line with the EU average.

A 27-year-old bisexual woman who took part in the survey is quoted as saying Dublin “does not feel safe”.

“Although I believe most of the general public does not feel this way, negative incidents and social media posts are spotlighted more than positive ones,” she stated.

Despite these issues, nearly six in 10 people (58%) said they feel they can be “fairly or very open about being LGBTIQ in Ireland”. This figure is higher than the EU average of 51%.

Four in 10 people (40%) think the Irish Government “effectively combats prejudice and intolerance against LGBTIQ people”. This number is also higher than the EU-wide average of 26%. 

Conversion therapy

Some 26% of respondents in Ireland reported that they experienced a so-called ‘conversion’ practice in order to make them change their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. This is slightly higher than the EU average of 24%.

The Irish Government has committed to publishing a Bill which will ban conversion therapy, including this in its ‘priority’ legislation programme for 2024.

Almost seven in 10 respondents in Ireland (69%) said that during their time in school they suffered bullying, ridicule, teasing, insults or threats because they identify as LGBTIQ+.

More than half of people (52%) said they were hiding being LGBTIQ+ at school, while a third of students (34%) said someone in their school “often or always supported, defended or protected their rights”.

One 19-year-old gender-fluid lesbian who took part in the Irish survey said they “experienced such bad loneliness and bullying during my early teenage years that it has impacted me to this day”.

I have horrible anxiety around other people and find it extremely difficult to form close connections with people.

In Ireland, the respondents identified as follows (rounded to the nearest figure):

Sexual orientation

  • 30% gay men
  • 25% bisexual
  • 21% lesbian women
  • 8% pansexual
  • 9% asexual people
  • 5% other
  • 1% straight

Gender identity

  • 31% cisgender women
  • 33% cis men
  • 22% non-binary and gender diverse
  • 7% trans women
  • 6% trans men
  • 1% selected another gender identity

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