The Rainbow Project were today appalled and sickened by the comments made by Lord Ken Magennis of the UUP on The Nolan Show.

John O’Doherty, Director of The Rainbow Project said: ‘At a time when an Equality Commission survey has found that negative attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Northern Ireland have significantly hardened it is reprehensible that a senior politician should claim that people in loving and committed relationships are ‘unnatural’ and deviant.’

He continued: ‘Many LGB&T people feel isolated and vulnerable in their communities and the ridiculous claims made by Lord Magennis only compound this isolation. What was equally worrying was that Lord Magennis advised that young people coming to terms with their sexual orientation should seek the assistance of a physician or psychiatrist as if there is something wrong with them. This is completely unacceptable.

‘Any young people listening this morning should know that, there is nothing wrong with them and that, help and support is available for them at The Rainbow Project.

‘We are calling on Lord Magennis to retract his prejudiced and uninformed comments and apologise for the damage he has caused. We are also calling on the UUP to denounce the comments made by one of its most senior Parliamentarians and to clarify the party’s position on the rights and status of LGB&T people in Northern Ireland.

ENDS

1. For more information please contact John O’Doherty on 028 9031 9030

2. The Rainbow Project is Northern Ireland’s largest LGB&T organisation.

3. The Equality Commissions report entitled ‘Do you mean me?’ noted the following:

a. Over a quarter of people (27%) would mind a gay, lesbian or bisexual person living next door, compared to 14% in 2005, with 42% unhappy about them becoming an in-law, a rise of 13 percentage points over the last six years.

b. Around a third of people (35%) would mind a transgender person as a work colleague, rising to 40% as a neighbour and 53% as an in-law. This is the first time a major survey in Northern Ireland has considered attitudes towards this group.

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