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LGBTQ workers heartened by Ireland’s first openly gay Minister

Date Released: 19 January 2015

The public disclosure by Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, that he is gay will bring confidence to workers still struggling against discrimination, according to the SIPTU LGBTQ members’ network.

Leo Varadkar made the public announcement that he was gay on RTÉ Radio 1 on Sunday (18th January). “It’s not something that defines me,” he said. “I’m not a half-Indian politician, or a doctor politician or a gay politician for that matter. Its just part of who I am, it doesn’t define me, it is part of my character I suppose.”

“It is a momentous occasion for the LGBTQ community,” said SIPTU LGBTQ network member, Rachel Mathews McKay, “There is now one cabinet minister, three TDs, two Senators and many others involved in local politics who are openly LGBTQ. You have to remember that until 1993 to be gay was still illegal in this country.

“It is inspiring to people to see that the leaders of this country do believe in equality and are against the continued discrimination suffered by many LGBTQ people,” she added.

According to the largest survey ever undertaken of gay people in Ireland conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Federation, the number one concern of LGBTQ people was discrimination in the workplace.   The report entitled Burning Issues, the publication of which was funded by SIPTU and the Equality Authority, states: “Issues in the workplace surfaced as the fundamental concern of all respondents. Being able to work in an environment where you can be fully open about your sexuality without fear of discrimination was rated the most important issue in the survey.”

For further information see:

Burning Bush


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