T. I’m the chairwoman of the committee of the LGB&/T group in Omagh, it’s my job to make sure the meetings run smoothly and efficiently. I keep in touch with Nuala from Rainbow regarding the progress of the meetings and for the likes of training. At the actual meetings themselves I’m there with the other founding members to greet people as they come, to ensure they settle into the group nicely. They also know that if they have any questions or queries I’m always happy to help and anything else they need help with I’ll put them in contact with Nuala.
D. I am one of the founding members of the Omagh LGB&/T group. I keep in touch with the other members and Nuala to ensure the group meetings are organised and there’s always someone at the premises to help with the meetings. I’m there to provide help and support to all members old and new.
How much do these communities and people need support?
T. To try and put a limit on it is just impossible. Especially in the likes our group in a town where homophobia is still an issue. But there is most definitely a great need for our group and the help that we ourselves provide along with the help of our various funders and organisers.
D. I think they need a lot of help in different aspects. We can provide social and peer support and ensure that local LGB&/T people have somewhere they can turn to and feel safe. We can give and offer so much personal advice and anything that is out of our hands we can pass them onto Rainbow Project.
What are the benefits of these groups – how do they help LGBT people?
T. Our group in Omagh offers everything from a cup of tea and a chat with likeminded people to training and awareness courses. You’d actually be surprised with what a games night or a movie night can do for these people. Just to be in an atmosphere where you feel safe and secure whilst being able to be yourself is extraordinary. These groups are a fantastic way for people to meet others like themselves in their community when they’ve often felt alone.
D. You’re able to meet other LGB&/T people in your community. You can have a chat with them and be totally honest about who you really are. A lot of people we have encountered within the group aren’t ready to be open about their sexualities and they have no one else to turn to, except us.
Do you think there is a neglect of the needs of LGBT here in Northern Ireland?
T. Most definitely. Northern Ireland still sees the homosexual as a second class citizen and someone to feel threatened by. It’s a case of brushing it under the carpet and forgetting about it. Hoping it’s a craze and that it disappears. Because of this, it is neglected. A person in power being openly homophobic also certainly does not help in progressing the cause either.
D. I thought there was a massive neglect, that was until we started the Omagh LGB&/T group. I now feel that I’m not so much on my own anymore and there are people and organisaitons in Northern Ireland working towards helping. I know now if I have any problems there’s going to be someone in that group I can talk to. Not everyone in Northern Ireland is that lucky; to be involved in a group with such great people.
How can people get involved in these groups?
T. At this present moment in time the best source of contact would be with the Nuala from the Rainbow Project on 90 319030 or firstname.lastname@example.org or via email email@example.com. We’re currently working on creating a Facebook page solely for the Omagh LGB&/T group. We are also looking into local advertising but because of the aforementioned, I’m not sure how it would be received in our area.
D. Anyone in the LGB&/T community is more than welcome to be a part of our group. We’re an extremely open minded group. We have had people of all different backgrounds come together in such a small town. The easiest way to get in touch with the group is to contact The Rainbow Project on 90319030 or email Nuala@rainbow-project.org or join our group in Omagh, by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
We are also going to set up Facebook page so you will be able to find us there soon!
A BIG thank you to our volunteers, members, partners and funders for their support in developing the Omagh, Ballymena and Fermanagh LGBT groups. Join us on facebook and twitter to keep up to date with future opportunities.