Bill to Halt Discrimination Against LGBT Teachers Announced During Stand Up! Awareness Week

Bill to Halt Discrimination Against LGBT Teachers Announced During Stand Up! Awareness Week 

Thursday, 07 March 2013 

Following the launch of BeLonG To’s 4th annual Stand Up! Awareness Week on Homophobic and Transphobic Bullying yesterday evening, the Labour Party today announced a Bill aimed at removing discrimination against LGBT teachers in Ireland.   

Employment Equality (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 2013 seeks to amend Section 37.1 of the Employment Equality Act so that teachers cannot be discriminated against on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender, as well as on the other seven grounds of the Equality Legislation. 

Speaking about the announcement of the Bill, Executive Director of BeLonG To Youth Services, Michael Barron said: “This is a very positive and welcome development. Section 37.1 has created a culture whereby LGBT teachers have genuinely been afraid to come out in religiously maintained schools for fear of losing their jobs. This unacceptable environment has meant that LGBT young people have for too long been robbed of important and significant role models. In-line with the Department of Education’s national Action Plan on Bullying, this Bill makes it crystal clear that religious ethos ‘cannot and should not be a barrier to promoting a school that recognises, respects and values all identities, including those of LGBT members of their school community’. We congratulate the Labour Party Senator Ivana Bacik and TDs Aodhan Ó’Riordan, John Lyons, Ciara Conway and Dominic Hannigan for bringing forward the Bill”. 

It is particularly fitting that the announcement of this Bill today coincides with our campaign to eradicate bullying of LGBT young people. Stand Up! 2013 is being rolled out in schools and youth centres all over Ireland. A key element in ending the scourge of homophobic and transphobic bullying is creating school environments that are safe and welcoming for all identities, including LGBT people. This can only happen when LGBT teachers are accepted in their workplace for who they are.” 

BeLonG To’s Stand Up! Campaign was yesterday announced by Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn TD and launched by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald TD. Speaking at the launch event yesterday evening, Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, Dr. Geoffrey Shannon said that because of the serious mental health implications of homophobic and transphobic bullying, the issue needs to be addressed as a child protection issue. 

For more information visit www.belongto.org . Join the conversation @BeLonG_To. Stand Up! is directly funded by the Department of Education and Skills for the first time in 2013. 

Download and read a copy of the Bill here.