Laois County Council support for LGBTI+ Stand Up Awareness Week.
The community of Laois has come together to support LGBTI+ awareness week from 16th -20th November which will culminate in the raising of the LGBTI+ flag for the first time at Áras an Chontae with Cathaoirleach Catherine Fitzgerald and young people.
Through the work of Youth Work Ireland Laois with the Laois Offaly Children and Young People’s Services Committee there has been significant progress over the past year in enhancing LGBTI+ support groups for Youth across Laois and reaching out to support services in Offaly.
The flag raising will bring together the local LGBTI+ group provider Youth Work Ireland Laois with Laois Comhairle na nOg youth representative and Laois County Council reps. By marking Stand Up Awareness Week, Laois is coming together to help create a friendlier, safer community for LGBTI+ young people.
Councillor Catherine Fitzgerald states “this is a great occasion for us all to support the LGBTI+ community locally, I am delighted that there are 3 local groups in Portlaoise for the LGBTI+ community and Trans community through the Youth Work Ireland Laois with appropriately trained staff, that are there to support the young people and their parents and families”.
Youth work Ireland Laois supports two LGBTI+ groups and one transgender/non binary/gender fluid specific support group once a week. The LGBTI+ groups currently are catering to a younger 15-18 age group and an older 18-24 age group. They meet every week and use the time to have a safe space, discuss issues they face, plan for inclusive events, pride, represent Laois nationally and peer support.
The transgender/non binary/gender fluid specific support group is for ages 13+ and allows a space for young people through their gender journey in a safe supportive space.
Youth Work Ireland Laois Manager Clive Davis notes that “the LGBTI+ young people of Laois have organised a LGBTI+ inclusive ball (alternative debs), a video for the national LGBTI+ youth strategy, attended Prides in Cork, Carlow and Dublin amongst many other achievements in their 4 year journey” .
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Laois Offaly Children and Young People’s Services Committee Co-Ordinator Niamh Dowler welcomes the expansion of the LGBTI+ groups in Laois as a good example of collaborative working through the Committee where Laois and Offaly services came together to support staff with LGBTI+ training, funding and provide resources for safe spaces locally for young people, allies and parents.