Creating Comfort |

2 mins

Creating Comfort

Creating Proud Spaces in Rural Communities is an initiative developed by Youth Work Ireland and supported by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. Christina Fitzharris explains how by identifying practices, attitudes and activities that are inclusive and safe for young LGBTQ+ people, supports and resources developed can be shared with other service providers so they too can create their own proud spaces.

Over the past two years, the Proud Spaces team have been meeting with, speaking, and listening to young LGBTQ+ people and youth workers to find out what life is like growing up in rural Ireland.

We have heard about the struggles, challenges and discriminations they face, but also about the supports they get from their youth group, about how they can use their voices and lived experiences to share with others what a dream proud space could and should look like, in every small town, village or farm in Ireland.

Here is what some of the young people told us:

“My proud space is somewhere where everyone is free and safe to be themselves. Somewhere where everybody is welcome, and no one is judged, no matter what.”

“Just some place where people see me how I want to be seen, not as my birth gender.”

“My proud space would be a place where I could exist without judgement, and I wouldn’t have to pretend to be something or someone I’m not. I could be me, and that’d be enough.”

Youth Work Ireland member services are the largest providers of LGBTQ+ youth work in Ireland with over 800 young people accessing their youth groups each week. The work is delivered in an integrated way so young people are treated holistically and can avail of a range of services and supports if and when they need them, all supported by professional youth workers.

The top three things young people said they gained from being a part of these services are; connection to LGBTQ+ peers, feelings of safety, and increased social skills.

Finding out what young people say can create a proud space, and developing supports to help them feel that way, is the goal of the initiative. Through collaborating with youth workers, upskilling youth services, signposting young people, and amplifying the voices and lived experiences of LGBTQ+ rural youth, we can create more and more areas where all young LGBTQ+ people feel included and safe to express who they are.

This June, Proud Spaces will be officially launching their research and best practice guidelines, as well as celebrating the joy of being a young queer person in rural Ireland.

You can also Give the Gift of Pride - a campaign to support young LGBTQ+ people from rural Ireland take part in Dublin Pride. With the struggles and challenges faced growing up in small villages and towns, getting the chance to come to Dublin Pride allows them to be their authentic selves, connect with the national LGBTQ+ community and see that there is a big, safe, inclusive and welcoming world outside their towns waiting for them.

A once-off donation of €30 will help cover the cost of travel for one young person from rural Ireland to come to Dublin Pride.

Find out more on both initiatives by visiting

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