Today The Rainbow Project, the largest LGB&T support and advocacy organisation in Northern Ireland, launched its research entitled ‘OUTstanding in Your Field – the experiences of LGB&/T people in rural areas of Northern Ireland’. The research was supported by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. 410 LGB&/T people responded to the survey conducted by The Rainbow Project.
Speaking on the launch of the research, Director of The Rainbow Project, John O’Doherty said: “This report further shows the inequalities experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Northern Ireland in terms of health and wellbeing, crime, homelessness, education and employment. While inequalities are experienced by many within our community there are specific increased inequalities experienced by LGB&/T people living in our rural communities, namely; invisibility and lack of, or unwillingness to access, key health and wellbeing services.”
“The research shows that there are more LGB&/T people moving from urban areas to rural areas than from rural to urban. This shows that there are substantial numbers of LGB&/T people moving from urban areas to rural areas indicating a desire to be a part of these communities. However, when we look at the motivation for moving LGB&/T people are more likely to move from a rural area to a more urban area if their sexual orientation and/or gender identity has played a role in their decision to move. Furthermore, more than half of LGB&/T people who have only lived in rural areas have, at some time, felt compelled to move because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity but have opted not to move.”
“Additionally LGB&/T people living in rural areas are less likely to be ‘out’ than those living in more urban areas. It is clear that we have more work to do to ensure visibility of LGB&/T people and services in rural communities. The Rainbow Project have developed new LGB&/T groups in Ballymena, Armagh, Enniskillen and Omagh over the last three years supported by the BIG Lottery and the Together for You programme. “
“We would like to thank the Minister and the Department for their support in delivering this key research. The Rainbow Project is committed to ensuring equality of opportunity for LGB&/T people throughout Northern Ireland and this research will help us work to address the specific issues impacting on those living in rural communities.”
Notes to editors