Esther Young has been a community liaison officer with LINC (Lesbians In Cork) since 2018. LINC is a community development organisation which has been providing support, assistance and safe spaces in Cork for LGBT+ women for over 20 years. They run a drop-in service, a youth group, and a variety of other activities including drama and boxing, both of which Esther Young is involved in.
Esther is also extremely active within her local community, and is a student of Youth and Community Development in UCC. When she was called up to receive the award, her acceptance speech focused on the community, thanking her fiancée, Sinead; everyone in the LINC drama group, and the organisation: “I’m proud to call all of you my family.” She congratulated all the nominees and winners in other categories. Esther then spoke about the importance of working together and supporting each other, saying: “I don’t think anyone would be up here without everyone in this room.”
Seamus Byrne is a young transgender man from Co Meath who has been a vocal activist for transgender rights for many years, including during the Repeal referendum. A peer educator and an active member of the BeLonG To organisation, he has represented the cause of Irish transgender rights at many international conferences, and has also worked on the Gender Recognition Act in a review committee with TENI director Sara R Phillips among others. He has made invaluable contributions to the community and definitely deserves to be hailed as a trailblazer.
Alannah Murray is a prominent 23 year-old activist, Disabled Ireland self-advocate, Washington Ireland Programme alumnus, and postgraduate researcher. Through her advocacy and online presence, she calls attention to issues of accessibility in queer spaces, discusses issues of sustainable fashion, and is an important and much-needed voice within the community.
The founder of Dublin Homeless Awareness, Brandon O’Connor is an active supporter of the campaign against homelessness as well as a champion of the LGBT+ community. He often organises events such as Christmas dinners, sleep-outs and donation drives for those affected by homelessness. He has recently relocated to Dublin after completing a degree in Galway, and has already become active within the Dublin community.