National Network Spotlight – Donegal
BreakOUT is a collective of youth groups for LGBTI+ young people in Donegal. They currently meet in Ballybofey, Glenties, Letterkenny, & Moville. Here, we chat to members of the group..
What is the best thing about BreakOUT? The tea, people, and Mammy Murray (Youth Worker, Sinead Murray).
What does a typical group meeting look like? Going to BreakOUT is like dropping into a friend’s house. We drink a lot of tea and have the craic. Everyone gets on so well and is always willing to help each other whether it’s a big or small issue. You never know what to expect – one week you could be talking about random things, the next you could be learning the newest popular dance. The only given is that it’s going to be amazing!
What were the highlights over the past year? In February we got the chance to help make a young person’s dream come true! The idea came from a simple conversation about their dream of been a pilot. The group then decided to fundraise for this young person to go on a plane simulator in Shannon. We were so overwhelmed with everyone’s generosity!
The young person got to fly the simulator and the entire group got a behind the scenes tour of the airport. From this concept, we came up with the ‘Making Dreams Come True’ project. The next dream we worked on was to raise funds for a young person to get a gender recognition certificate, birth certificate, and passport.
An LGBT group from Finland visited us for an exchange in June last year.We got the opportunity to showcase Ireland, including LGBT developments. It wasn’t all hard work, we had some great craic bowling, zorbing and many other activities. By end of the exchange, everyone had made such good friends that it was hard to say goodbye.
How would you say that BreakOUT has impacted the local community? Before BreakOUT started in 2009, there was no support for LGBT young people in Donegal. Since then more and more people feel safe to come out. We started off with four members, and now we reach over 70 young people through our groups and one to one support service. We may be seen as one of the most backward counties in the country, but thanks to BreakOUT we are moving forward. We are helping to make Donegal a much more inclusive and understanding place.