60% of gay people in Ireland avoid holding hands in public out of fear - survey

Six in 10 gay people in Ireland avoid holding their partners hand in public because they are being afraid of being assaulted or threatened.

Over 2,300 Irish people took part in the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights survey, with 11% saying they had been attacked at some point in the last five years.

More than one third of respondents said they had been harassed for being LGBTI in the year before they took part in the survey.

The annual report shows evidence of an increase in contacts to the LGBT Ireland online chat service relating to violence and harassment, rising to 40 in 2019 compared to 11 the previous year.

The organisation said: "We have heard of people's experience of being shouted at, threats to 'out' people, offensive graffiti on homes and threats of physical violence.

"These incidences have taken place in public spaces, on public transport, in school, in workplaces, as well as online through social media, websites and dating apps."

According to Paula Fagan, CEO LGBT Ireland, said that we cannot afford to be complacent as the report shows many LGBTI+ people still feel very vulnerable to discrimination.

Ms Fagan said that “much progress has been made in achieving greater visibility, rights and inclusion of LGBTI+ people in Ireland, overcoming stigma and discrimination remains the greatest challenge for those who contacted us.”

Eddie McGuinness, manager of Dublin Pride, feels there are certain places where gay couples feel more vulnerable.

"In main thoroughfares where there's a lot of other people, we blend in and that is fine on the day-to-day but say myself and my husband late at night are walking hand-in-hand - that is a lot more insecure," said Mr McGuinness.

"You don't know who is going to be behind you, who is going to be in front of you."

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