ShoutOut received the award for the exceptional work they do for the community. They are constantly improving the lives of LGBT+ people and their families by providing education and guidance and engaging workshops in schools and workplaces with the aim of “promoting acceptance towards diversity and the celebration of identity”. ShoutOut is an anti-homophobia initiative, run by young people, for young people, and they have been doing an excellent job of educating folk across the country. During their acceptance speech, a spokesperson for ShoutOut also highlighted the importance of their volunteer staff who help deliver the nation-wide workshops.
Gay Project is an Irish NGO based in Cork which supports, celebrates and advocates for gay, bi, trans, MSM and queer men. Gay Project’s goal is “to make Ireland the best place to be LGBT+”.
Outhouse is a community and resource centre for LGBT+ people and their families based in the centre of Dublin City. Outhouse’s mission is to provide a safe space where members of the community, as well as their friends and relatives, can receive valuable information and support.
UP Cork Youth Group
UP Cork caters to young LGBT+ people between the ages of 15 and 23. The group’s aim is to meet the needs of young LGBT+ people within the community by providing them with opportunities to actively participate and be included in addressing issues that affect them.
Dublin Lesbian Line
Since 1979 the charity have been supporting the community by providing a confidential helpline with an entirely LGBT+ female identifying volunteer staff who offer support to those who need it.
A spokesperson for DLL expressed their gratitude for receiving the award and also gave special thanks to Outhouse for their continuing support as well as all their volunteers throughout the 40 years of DLL, dedicating the award to its founding members, saying; “In 1979 a group of women set up the Dublin Lesbian Line because it was needed, and it’s still needed. This is for them.”
ACT UP Dublin was founded in direct response to the steady rise in new HIV diagnoses in Ireland as well as the silence and stigma that continues to surround the disease. ACT UP strive to make change through protest, demonstration and the distribution of information.
Dublin Trans Peer Support Group
The Support Group is a vital lifeline which provides a safe space for transgender people who are questioning their gender identity and/or gender expression, transitioning, looking for information or simply seeking support and friendship from other members of the community.
Equality For Children
Equality For Children fight for equal rights for children of LGBT+ couples. They are calling on the Government to end discrimination by updating policy, supports, benefits and services that benefit children of heterosexual parents to also include children of LGBT+ parents.
Dr Aintzane Legarreta Mentxaka (‘Maken’)
Maken received the award for her outstanding contributions to the Irish LGBT+ community over the years. Maken has been heavily involved in groups such as Film Qlub, The Full Moon Club and Running Amach, as well as her work as an academic as she documents and promotes trailblazing women who might otherwise go unnoticed. During her speech, Maken gave special mention to all the groups and communities that she is a part of.
As a co-founder of Access to Medicines Ireland and an activist with ACT UP, Robbie has dedicated much of his time to ending the stigma surrounding HIV, even appearing on The Late, Late Show to speak about the experiences of People Living With HIV.
Maureen Looney is a counsellor and the founder of Running Amach, an online social networking group for LGBT+ women in Ireland. Maureen previously won the Volunteer of the Year award at the GALAS in 2011 in recognition of her contribution to the community.
Will St Leger
From his former work with Greenpeace, to his role in co-founding Equals – an LGBT+ direct action group, and his work with ACT UP, St Leger has fought for the rights of LGBT+ and HIV Positive people throughout Ireland.
An award in memory of GCN’s Noel Walsh, this category was awarded to ACT UP. While acknowledging the great progress made this year with the introduction of PrEP on the national health service, ACT UP reiterated that there is still much to be done and we as a community must continue to press the newly elected Government on issues surrounding HIV. Their spokesperson shared, “There is a great deal of denial and neglect in our community, our major organisations need to mainstream HIV in all of their messaging. We must acknowledge and address the special vulnerabilities of the gay male migrant community.”
HIV Ireland continually work towards ending new HIV diagnoses, eliminating the stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV, and the promotion of wellbeing for people living with HIV. HIV Ireland’s #5Asks campaign has already seen Ireland sign up to the Fast Track Cities initiative.
Robbie was selected for this award for his HIV advocacy and involvement in multiple groups, such as ACT UP, and being the co-founder of Access to Medicines Ireland: “a group of people dedicated to making sure safe, affordable and effective medicines are available to everyone who needs them”.
As a member of ACT UP, Andrew Levitt has undertaken a tremendous amount of HIV activism in Ireland. Andrew tirelessly campaigned for the provision of free PrEP, and the roll out of PrEP this year would not have been possible if not for the dedication of Andrew and fellow HIV activists.