Dealing with homophobia, biphobia and transphobia
Although things are getting better in Ireland for LGBTI+ people, most LGBTI+ people still face discrimination, aggression and misunderstanding at different points of their life. If you’re an LGBTI+ person and have faced discrimination, this can be really hurtful. You should never have to put up with this kind of behaviour. Remember, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being LGBTI+. If someone treats you badly because of your sexual orientation or gender identity, there is something wrong with them, not with you.
What counts as homophobia, biphobia or transphobia?
Any time an LGBTI+ person is treated as less simply because of being LGBTI+, this counts as homophobia, transphobia or biphobia. This ranges from making a joke designed to belittle an LGBTI+ person, up to serious violence and discriminatory laws.
Many homophobic, transphobic and biphobic people sometimes claim that their behaviour is not discriminatory and that they are entitled to their opinion. However, you are the expert on your own experience, and only you can decide whether you have experienced discrimination or not.
What should I do if you are experiencing homophobia, transphobia or biphobia?
It can be so hurtful and frustrating to have to deal with discrimination and bullying. It can take a long time to accept your sexual orientation or gender identity, and it can be really upsetting when others don’t accept you for who you are.
If you are in school or college and are experiencing discrimination or bullying it is important to speak to some about it. Most schools and colleges will have a guidance counsellor that you will be able to go to for help. If you feel there is no one to support you at school or college speak to someone you trust from your family or friends.
You might feel that you have no one to speak to in your life about what you are experiencing but there are many LGBTI+ support services across Ireland which are there to help. BeLonG To Youth Services is an organisation dedicated to supporting LGBTI+ young people.
It can really help to talk to other LGBTI+ people your age. BeLonG To run LGBTI+ youth groups all over the country. You can find a list of them here. Most colleges have an LGBTI+ society too, so if you’re in college, this could be a great way to meet other LGBTI+ people.
LGBTI+ supportive services
Dealing with discrimination can be tough on your mental health but there is a wide range of services in Ireland available to help you regardless of what you are going through.
- LGBT Ireland Helpline – Call 1890 929 539 or click here to instant message
- Gay Switchboard Ireland – Call 01 872 1055
- TENI (Transgender Equality Network Ireland) – Call 01 873 3575
- Dublin Lesbian Line – Call 01 8729911
- Outhouse – Call 01 8734999
- Crime Victims Helpline – Call 116 006
- Samaritans Ireland – Call 116 123
Discrimination and your rights
If you’re being discriminated against at work or by a service provider for being LGBTI+, contact a Citizens Information or The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission who can advise you on your rights.
Free Legal Advice (FLAC) have lawyers that that specifically deal with LGBTI+ issues. They offer free legal clinics once a month at Outhouse in Dublin. Contact Outhouse on 01 8734999 for details.
Homophobia, transphobia and biphobia are really serious and you should never feel afraid to report it to the Gardai. The Gardai have LGBTI+ liaison officers who are trained in LGBTI+ issues and can help you if you need to report crime. You can find a list of Garda Liaison Officers here. Outhouse is an LGBTI+ community resource centre in Dublin. If you feel too nervous to go to the Garda station, you can contact Outhouse on 01 8734999, and they can set up an appointment with the Garda Liaison Officer for you at Outhouse, on Capel Street in Dublin City Centre.
Need more information?
We are here to answer your questions and talk through your options. Our online chat service is for 16 to 25 year olds and is available Monday to Friday, 4pm to 8pm. Chat to us now about your situation.