Share your Story to Make the Difference (GLEN)

Share your Story to Make the Difference

GLEN (Gay Lesbian Equality Network) needs gay, lesbian and bisexual individualSeand coupleSeand their families or friends to join us in talking to the media over the coming weekSeand months. Would you be willing to join this campaign?

The Story so Far ”

The last twenty years have seen great progress for lesbian, gay and bisexual people. We have worked actively for progress in law such as the decriminalization of homosexuality in 1993 and the Equal StatuSeand Employment Equality Acts in the 1990s. Social progress has been led by more and more lesbian and gay people living their lives openly and finding support and acceptance from families, friendSeand work colleagues.

However there remain some very significant barriers to equality for lesbian and gay people, in particular the lack of legal recognition of our relationshipSeand families. While this may sometimes seem an abstract concept, it brings real and significant hardships to coupleSeand families, especially in times of vulnerability the breakdown of a relationship; death; ill-health and in unequal treatment in financial matters, including pensions, property and taxation. And that list doesn’t include the status element of public recognition of relationships. Whether you’re in a relationship or not, GLEN believes that you should have the right and choice to avail of the same legal protection and social recognition that is available to heterosexual couples. This will help deliver full equality for gay, lesbian and bisexual people.

All political parties now support legal recognition of same-sex relationshipSeand the Government has committed to introducing civil partnership for same sex couples. While GLEN’s goal is the introduction of civil marriage for same-sex couples, our immediate focus is to ensure that any civil partnership proposals are principled, comprehensive and equality-based.

The crucial first step in this process will be the publication of the Heads of Bill at the end of March 2008. The government in drafting the Heads of Bill will be making critical decisions. Will same-sex couples get the same rightSeand responsibilities as married couples? What, if any, of the protections in civil marriage will be withheld? Will same-sex parents be able to establish legal rightSeand responsibilities for their children? Will parents be able to jointly adopt? And there are many other key decisions to be made.

How can you help?

You can make a difference in ensuring the right decisions are made. The experience from other countries demonstrates that gay people’s storieSeand life experiences are crucial in harnessing the support of the public and policy-makers. When lesbian, gay and bisexual people are invisible to politicians our issues are ignored or misunderstood. When we share our stories, the public and policy makers begin to understand the issueSeand support change and new legislation.

We have TDs saying that they’ve never been asked for equality in civil marriage, or for any protections for lesbian and gay relationships. Or saying that they don’t know what the issues are, or how lesbian and gay people are not treated equally. They often have a perception that it’s all over already’.

make_voice_heard.gifSharing our stories through the media is critical in making the difference. GLEN gets numerous requests from the media every week for lesbian, gay and bisexual people to participate in a story. We need you to tell your story, so that real life lesbian and gay people, coupleSeand familieSeand their experiences can feature across the media; so that the public and politicians will understand our issueSeand so that this legislation can be as good as it needs it to be.

GLEN needs gay, lesbian and bisexual individualSeand coupleSeand their families or friends to join us in talking to the media over the coming weekSeand months. Would you be willing to join this campaign?

While this may be new and different for you. GLEN will provide you with media training, to give you the necessary information and support to help you feel more comfortable and confident about doing media work. You don’t need to be an expert on the legal or policy issues you already are an expert in your own experience and situation, and that’s the story that is critical in persuading the public and legislature of the changes needed.

If you feel however that media work is not for you, there are other areas where you can make a significant difference at this critical time. for example, by visiting your local TD.

If you would like to get involved in any way no matter how small or would like any further information please contact:

Odhr n Allen 086-3405654 or odhranallen@glen.ie;

Sandra Gowran 087 7960615 sandragowran@glen.ie;

Davin Roche on 087-1319519 or at davinroche@glen.ie

If you would prefer to visit your local TD contact Marriage Equality, who are running the campaign You’re not out until you’re out to your TD. As TDs will be debating the partnership proposals in the D il, raising our issues with them at a local level can have a significant impact. Contact Moninne Griffiths marriagequality@gmail.com 4732605 or GLEN for further information.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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