John O’Doherty, Director from The Rainbow Project said: “We welcome the apologies by Paula Bradley and Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and hope that these comments by their new leaders will be the first step towards significant change within the DUP. What we now need to see is action. For over 50 years the DUP has stood in opposition and actively sought to stop every LGBTQIA+ step towards equality; whether it be decriminalisation, age of consent or equal marriage.
Northern Ireland and Ireland as a whole has seen significant progress in recent years towards LGBTQIA+ equality and inclusion, with changes in legislation in regards to equal marriage, adoption rights and the blood donation ban being lifted. There are still significant inequalities experienced by LGBTQIA+ people around Trans Healthcare, the rise in both homophobic and transphobic hate crime and that some LGBTQIA+ people are still facing discrimination in their schools and workplaces.
The Northern Ireland Assembly has consistently failed to ensure equality and equity for the LGBTQIA+ community and the DUP have been pointed to as the barrier to change. We are therefore, once again, seeking to establish a two-way respectful engagement with Democratic Unionist Party on theseissues and more. We hope that Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, unlike his predecessors, will be the first DUP leader to meet with the LGBTQIA+ community and show leadership where is has been sadly lacking.”
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Aisling Twomey (she/her)
Policy and Advocacy Manager
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