Creating Inclusive Spaces: A Reflection and Call to Action |

3 mins

Creating Inclusive Spaces: A Reflection and Call to Action

It’s no accident that our Strategic Plan at Outhouse LGBTQ+ Centre is titled Space for All. As an organisation deeply rooted in our community’s history, we have proudly supported LGBTQ+ people for decades.

However, we also recognise the importance of critically analysing where we have fallen short and are striving to improve.

We are aware of some of the many challenges disabled LGBTQ+ people face - whether it’s accessing queer spaces like Outhouse LGBTQ+ Centre, being considered in the creation of LGBTQ+ social events and support services, or being centred in discussions and decisions that impact their rights. With this in mind, we invite all members of our community, particularly those who are disabled, to join us at our upcoming Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, May 9, at 6pm. It will be held in the Macro Community Resource Centre, 1 Green Street, Dublin 7.

One of our core values at Outhouse LGBTQ+ Centre is inclusivity. We understand that the diversity within our communities is our strength. However, we also acknowledge that inclusivity must extend beyond surface-level representation to encompass intersectional identities and the unique challenges faced by individuals at the margins.

The concept of intersectionality is central to our understanding of injustice. It highlights how systems of discrimination based on various factors such as gender, race, sexual orientation, disability and more, intersect to create unique dynamics and challenges. For example, a transgender person of colour may face compounded discrimination based on their gender identity and race. Recognising and addressing intersectionality is essential in creating more equitable and just societies. Similarly, a bisexual person who is also disabled may face challenges in accessing services that are inclusive and understanding of their unique needs.

They may also face stigma and discrimination from both the LGBTQ+ community and the disabled community.

Just as LGBTQ+ people cut across every demographic — gender, age, race, etc — so do disabled people. As we move forward with our plans to create a more accessible and accommodating space, we recognise the importance of hearing and platforming disabled voices. Disabled and neurodivergent community members bring unique perspectives and strengths to the table, rooted in their experiences navigating barriers to access. Centring their voices, creativity, resilience and solutions is vital to creating a safe, accessible and accommodating space at Outhouse LGBTQ+ Centre.

Our current premises, 105 Capel Street, presents physical access limitations due to its historical significance and protected status; we are committed to exploring ways to improve accessibility beyond physical barriers in the short term. This includes enhancing access to information for neurodivergent individuals, improving loop systems and creating quiet spaces, amongst other initiatives.

As we move forward, we will be guided by Universal Design principles. In the medium term, we aim to enable universal access to both the ground floor and basement levels of 105 Capel Street. This will require completing an access audit, securing planning permission, raising the funding and carrying out the necessary building works to enable access. In the long term, as our strategy outlines, we will conduct a feasibility study to create a world-class centre for our communities. The outcome of this study will be recommendations for the most viable option for the future of your LGBTQ+ centre, one that will place universal access at its heart.

Our Town Hall Meeting is an opportunity for you to help shape the future of Outhouse LGBTQ+ Centre as we embark on the journey to ensure our programmes, services, advocacy and physical space are accessible, welcoming and inclusive of individuals of all abilities and backgrounds. We invite our community to join us in dialogue and action. Your voices, experiences and insights are invaluable as we strive to build spaces that reflect the diversity and richness of our community.

All members of our community, particularly those who are disabled, are encouraged to join us at our upcoming meeting. This gathering presents a vital opportunity to come together, share perspectives and co-create a more inclusive future. Your thoughts, ideas and feedback are crucial as we work towards making your centre truly accessible and accommodating to all.

Whether you have insights into the sensory experience, physical access needs or digital accessibility, your input will shape our plans and initiatives. Together, let’s ensure that every voice is heard and that our community continues to be a beacon of inclusivity and solidarity. We look forward to seeing you there!

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