Buttimer: We still have LGBT issues to address

Buttimer: We still have LGBT issues to address
Senator Jerry Buttimer

Mr Buttimer said that some people think "we put the roof on the house for LGBT people" in 2015, but that there are many more issues that Ireland still needs to be addressed, like acceptance and protection of transgender people, and public health and homelessness issues that can disproportionately affect the LGBT community.

Mr Buttimer, the first openly gay Fine Gael TD, is currently in Boston on a trip with nine other LGBT activists and lawmakers from across Ireland and Northern Ireland to work with Boston College's Irish Institute. The trip is organised to create links between people working on LGBT issues in Ireland, to allow them to learn from others doing similar work in the United States, and to share what they have learned from working in Ireland. 

The people on the trip include Una Mullaly, chair of the National LGBT Youth Strategy group, a representative for G-Force, the LGBT group representing Gardaí, and a number of others from across different groups on both sides of the border.

As part of the trip they have been studying with Boston College, and meeting different groups who are working on issues in the US, like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and legislators who have passed key policy changes over there.

"It's a collective approach to how we can bring together different strands for the LGBT community," said Mr Buttimer, speaking from Boston.

"There are still a whole host of issue that we need to promote and pursue," he said.

Mr Buttimer said that the trip allowed people from key groups in Ireland to learn together abroad and then come back home with the same information and goals so that they could work together back in Ireland to deliver.

He said that some of the key problems facing LGBT people in Ireland were around youth services, trans people, and healthcare issues, all of which require a combined approach from legislators and civil society to tackle them.

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