UL research shows Irish public underestimate homophobia, biphobia and transphobia

Brendan Courtney, Jack Murphy, Ellen Murray and Maria Walsh at the launch of the public awareness campaign Call It Out

NEW research from the University of Limerick underpinning a public awareness campaign suggests that the Irish public underestimate homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

The recent research survey, conducted by UL’s Hate and Hostility Research Group, shows that while people in Ireland feel positive towards sexual orientation and gender diversity, they underestimate levels of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

The research is a major component of the groundbreaking LGBT+ public education and awareness campaign Call It Out, launched in Dublin this Monday.

Launched by prominent LGBT+ personalities Brendan Courtney, Maria Walsh and Jack Murphy, the Call It Out campaign aims to shine a bright light on the sometimes visible, often hidden phenomena of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia and the corresponding impact on Ireland’s LGBT+ community. The campaign, one of a number taking place across the EU this year, is being launched to coincide with International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia on May 17.

More than 80% of people who participated in a recent research survey, conducted by the University of Limerick’s Hate and Hostility Research Group, agreed that lesbians and gay men, bisexual people and transgender people should be free to live their own lives as they wish. Respondents also expressed high levels of comfort with having LGBT+ people as neighbours.

Of the 1395 people who took part in the survey however, only a minority believe that LGBT+ people in Ireland are at serious risk of violence because of hostility towards their sexual orientation or gender identity. Just over a third of people (36%) believe that violence against the LGBT+ community is “a serious problem” in Ireland.

These findings contrast sharply with the reported lived experience of LGBT+ people in Ireland. Research published in 2016 by leading Irish LGBT+ organisations found that 1 in 3 LGBTI people had been threatened with physical violence, while 1 in 5 had been punched, hit or physically attacked in public during their lifetime due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Call It Out is a joint initiative of the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) and the Hate and Hostility Research Group at UL. A national committee representing leading LGBT+ organisations advised on the campaign messaging. Co-funding for the campaign was provided by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme of the European Union.

Utilising a range of media platforms including billboards, poster sites, infographics, social media, radio ads, and regional events, the campaign aims to appeal directly to the wider public while also empowering members of LGBT+ community to seek support when confronted with hostility.

A short film entitled " Have You Ever Felt? ", written and directed by award winning filmmaker Kate Dolan and featuring a host of emerging Irish actors from across the LGBT+ community will feature prominently on social media for the duration of the three week campaign.

Ellen Murray, campaign spokesperson for TENI, said: “LGBT+ people still live with a background of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia as a result of their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. For many it feels like it is part of being who they are. We want to send a clear message that homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are not acceptable. To the general public, we ask that you call out homophobia, biphobia and transphobia when you encounter them.

“To our LGBT+ community, we ask that you share your experiences with people you trust. Talk about it to find support,” she added.

For more information about the campaign visit www.callitout.ie.