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GLEN is a Policy and Strategy focused NGO which aims to deliver ambitious and
positive change for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people in Ireland, ensuring full equality, inclusion and protection from all forms of discrimination.
GLEN has been instrumental in achieving a range of legislative and policy change including: decriminalisation in 1993; recognition of sexual orientation in refugee law in 1996; inclusion in Employment Equality in 1998; Equal Status in 2000; Civil Partnership in 2010, recognition and protection for families in the Children and Family Relationships Act in 2015, and of course marriage in the 2015 Referendum.
GLEN focuses on delivering change across a series of areas: legal recognition, protection and support for LGB relationships and families; education; mental health and well-being; physical and sexual health; workplace equality and community capacity development.
GLEN's vision for equality, as articulated in the Building Sustainable Change programme is that of full participation by LGBTI people in all aspects of life and society.
GLEN is confident that Ireland can become a place where all LGBTI people can feel safe and confident about being open regarding their sexual orientation and gender identity at home, in work and within the wider community; where LGBTI people are not discriminated against in laws and in service provision; where relationships and love between LGBTI people are seen as no different in relationships, families and love. GLEN envisages a future where LGBTI people can make an even more creative and dynamic contribution to the social, economic and cultural development of Ireland.
This vision was elaborated further in a speech by our Co-Chair:
GLEN is not here to manage our marginalisation but to abolish it. We are working towards a society where being LGBTI is unremarkable; where it is possible to be openly LGBTI and be elected Taoiseach. Where a teenager can come to terms with their sexuality or gender identity and have all the support from their parents, siblings, friends, school and society at large. Where parents will not worry or have any greater concerns when their child says they are LGBTI.
Underpinning the broad vision is a more elaborated vision of equality and full participation of LGBTI people in a number of critical aspects of life. These include:
- Relationships and Family: where same-sex couples would have the opportunity to share their lives together openly and have a family. This requires equal relationship recognition, including legal recognition of children being parented by same-sex couples.
- Inclusive, Safe and Supportive Education, where young LGBTI people can feel safe, supported and included in schools and can achieve their full potential.
- Health, Safety and Wellbeing, for which we need supportive family and communities and access to a broad range of services critical to well-being including health, mental health and effective policing where LGBTI people feel safe and secure on the street and in the places they live.
- Employment, Career and Full Participation in Economic Life, where LGBTI people have the opportunity to support themselves and their families through full, equal and open participation in employment, training and education. This means that a person's sexual orientation would not be a barrier to entry, or advancement in any area of employment.
- Full Participation in Society, where LGBTI people have the real opportunity to participate at any level in society and where being lesbian and gay would be of no hindrance to advancement in any aspect of public life, including political life of the country.
These critical goals of equality and opportunity had been identified through a series of reports consultations with LGBTI people. Particularly significant in this respect were the respective report of the Equality Authority report Implementing Equality for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual People (2002) and the report of the National Economic and Social Forum (2005) NESF Report No. 27 Equality Policies for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual People: Implementation Issues and through research identifying the critical issues impacting on the lived experience of being an LGBT person, including most recently The LGBTIreland Report.
GLEN is a trans-inclusive organisation and works with Ireland's leading trans advocacy and support organisation TENI to advance the rights of trans people and their families. While GLEN started out as an organisation focussing on sexual orientation it is increasingly including trans people and issues in our work, in collaboration with TENI.
Video of GLEN at the People of the Year Awards