LGBT+ rights in Ireland. What is it like to live here if you are part of this community?

According to Global Human Rights statistics, homosexuality is still officially criminalised in 60 countries. 83 percent of LGBT people are forced to hide their orientation. In 2020, there were 350 murders of transgender people around the world just because their sexual orientation does not coincide with traditional views.

In some countries LGBT people are still very much harassed. People are often stigmatised, physically abused, discriminated against at school and work, and prevented from living their lives because of their sexual orientation. Because of these attitudes, many people have to move to more liberal cities and countries to start a new life.

At the same time, a large number of highly developed countries do not only tolerate non-traditional relationships, but allow them to be legalised. Ireland is one of these countries. There is no doubt that there is a very tolerant attitude towards LGBT+ people. LGBT people in Ireland are not disadvantaged in any way. They can live their lives to the fullest, just like normal different-sex families.

History of the LGBT community in Ireland

For many years, the Catholic Church has had a strong influence on the Irish population, which is why society here has been quite conservative in many aspects. This makes it all the more interesting to see how free the country has become in its opinions at the moment.

In 1993, same-sex relationships were decriminalised in Ireland. In May 2015, the Irish government became the first in the world to pass a law allowing same-sex marriages by referendum (popular vote).

Also in 2015, transgender people were allowed to self-declare their gender when changing documents. All people aged 18 and over can self-declare their gender identity. The law was passed in Ireland in 2015. Gender reassignment is also legal in the country. Same-sex families have the right to adopt children. People with a non-traditional sexual orientation can serve in the army and it is illegal to discriminate against them because of their sexual preference.

In the summer of 2017, an openly homosexual man, Leo Varadker, was appointed as head of the Irish government. He became the world’s fourth head of state/government of a non-traditional sexual orientation. 

Most forms of discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation are now illegal in the country. Incitement to hatred on grounds of sexual orientation is illegal in Ireland. The rights of LGBT people in Ireland are closely monitored. There is an LGBT Liaison Officer in all police stations. Any harassment or bullying should be reported to An Garda Síochána.

There are many different events for LGBT people in Ireland. Every year Dublin Pride, a pride parade, takes place in Dublin. It is held on the last Saturday in June. There is also a gay theatre festival and there are many pubs, bars and clubs for LGBT people. 

This shows, once again, how open Ireland is to members of this community. On the streets of Dublin, Galway, Cork and other cities, it is not uncommon to see same-sex couples who feel completely free to express their feelings without embarrassment. 

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Useful resources for LGBT people in Ireland

There are many different associations and social organisations for people from the LGBT community. There you can find like-minded people, get help, information, psychological support or just enjoy your free time. 

LGBT Ireland

There is a gender identity family support helpline, instant messaging support, age-specific support groups. LGBT Ireland are there to support people at all times.

Belong To Youth

This Irish national organisation for LGBT+ young people. Belong To Youth runs youth groups and provides training on LGBT+ issues for staff at Direct Provision Centres. 

  • The phone number is +353 016706223.
  • Email –


The main aim of the organisation is to provide a safe space for members of the LGBT community. It is a place where people can meet, discuss their problems, get help and find answers to their questions. At the Outhouse, people can feel free and safe. 

Here are some other resources where you can find useful information about LGBT people and their rights.

In which countries is LGBT outlawed?

Unconventional relationships are absolutely no longer as surprising and unusual as they used to be. Same-sex relationships are not criminalised as extensively as they were a few decades ago. However, as of December 2022, there are 68 countries with laws which somehow or other outlaw LGBT relationships. Most are Muslim countries or countries with a lot of religious influence. The full list is available here.

Some countries like Russia and Chechnya do not have bans on non-traditional relationships, but do have laws banning LGBT propaganda. Unfortunately, not only films with non-traditional couples fall under this law, but even books about sexual education. This makes countries not only homophobic, but also totally closed to sex education. De facto, any non-traditional relationship is prohibited and actively frowned upon here.

With all the difficulties in the history of the LGBT community and the difficulties people have in the present time, the rainbow flag, which is the symbol of this community, shows its full meaning. The rainbow flag symbolises the possibility to go beyond and to be free. 

Everyone should have the right to feel safe, comfortable and secure. People should not be deprived of their basic needs just because their sexual orientation differs from what is considered normal in society. Maybe someday all people will respect and accept each other without regard to skin colour, orientation, religion or anything else. Being able to simply remain human is the key to a free, harmonious and peaceful existence.

Kateryna Mazovetska
Kateryna Mazovetska

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