herald

Friday 9 December 2016

Surge in people coming out as gay a year after marriage referendum

At the celebrations in Dublin Castle were supporters and campaigners for the Yes Equality
campaign, including Minister for Justice Francis Fitzgerald. Photo: Collins
At the celebrations in Dublin Castle were supporters and campaigners for the Yes Equality campaign, including Minister for Justice Francis Fitzgerald. Photo: Collins

Record numbers of young people have come out as gay in the past 12 months following the passing of the marriage-equality referendum.

A national survey of 14- to 23-year-olds of all sexualities and genders showed 53pc of young people know someone who has come out for the first time since last May.

Newly-wed gay couples were among those celebrating the first anniversary of the vote at Dublin Castle yesterday, including the first same-sex couple to marry Cormac Gollogly and Richard Dowling.

Hundreds gathered with politicians and "Yes" campaigners to mark the occasion with a nine-tier wedding cake in the castle's courtyard.

New research by the national lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth organisation BeLonG To shows 39pc of respondents who identify themselves as LGBT spoke to someone about their sexuality for the first time in the past year. Respondents said this was down to the confidence the Yes vote gave them.

Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald said it was great to reflect on the positives that have come from passing the referendum.

"I stand proud of the Irish people who came together and voted with their hearts last summer and changed Ireland forever.

"We took an extraordinary step forward for justice and equality for all citizens.

"While the future is secured, the present can still be a frightening place for LGBT young people. We need to keep saying yes to supporting young LGBT people."

Almost two in three (62pc) of those who have just come out said they did not know where to turn for help after coming out.

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