As Pride gets ever closer, many of us are looking forward to reconnecting with friends and marching the streets once again surrounded by rainbow flags. For the younger members of our community, especially due to the recent lockdown, many will not have had the opportunity before, this year in fact may be their very first chance.
During lockdown, Youth Work Ireland’s LGBTQ+ groups continued to support young people online when they couldn’t gather together in person. That support was very necessary, as a recent survey by BeLonG To showed that the mental health of LGBTQ+ youth deteriorated over the COVID-19 pandemic. It revealed that 97 percent were struggling with anxiety, stress, or depression.
Now that those youth groups are coming back together in a physical sense, we need to let LGBTQ+ young people know that they are not alone, and a very special event planned for Pride is the perfect opportunity.
Youth Work Ireland in partnership with BeLonG To will host their Pride Breakfast – an event which will see over 500 young people travel to Dublin from all over the country to gather together in Pride.
The Pride Breakfast will include food, fun, face painting and chats, afterwards young people from the organisations will march in the parade under the banner #EmpoweringLGBTQYouth.
That all sounds wonderful, right? Now imagine for a second what it would be like to be a youth who desperately wants to attend Dublin Pride, but either funds or distance makes the trek seemingly impossible.
This is where you could come in.
The #GivetheGiftofPride campaign provides a truly unique opportunity to directly affect the lives of LGBTQ+ youth in a meaningful way. With your support, and the support of the community, funds raised will give young people the gift of Pride.
With that in mind, the young attendees of the Smily LGBTQ+ Youth Project (Sligo/Leitrim) told us what attending Dublin Pride would mean to them.
I have a lot of trouble in social situations, and it is unique for me to find somewhere that I feel comfortable in.
I will be happy to see other LGBTQ+ people celebrating their identities and their sexuality.
It gives me a feeling of self-worth and confidence and boosts my self-esteem. I have been to Pride in 2019 and I want to relive that experience.
I am a 14 year-old Trans boy and it has been on my bucket list for such a long time.
I want to feel more accepted and be around people that accept me for who I am. Pride is a celebration of who we are, as a community.
It’s an opportunity to feel a sense of belonging and unity, and to not feel that I am alone in any of my struggles.
Pride is a celebration of equality, self-affirmation and acceptance. All the stigma associated with being LGBTQ+ goes away.
Visit www.youthworkireland.ie for more information and follow the hashtag #GivetheGiftofPride across social media.