THE Mind Yourself London Irish LGBT group was officially launched recently at the Irish Embassy, London.
The three speakers were priest Fr Bernard Lynch, Vanessa Lacey, Health and Education Officer with Transgender Network of Ireland and second-generation Irish poet Maureen Duffy, each sharing personal experiences as members of the London Irish LGBT community.
Fr Lynch spoke about how generations of people felt forced out of Ireland because of their sexuality, and said that “hearts were made for love and hearts were made for freedom”.
Vanessa recalled visiting the London Embassy as a man 25 years ago to get her first passport, not expecting to be back and speaking there with her female passport. She highlighted the importance of support for people travelling to London for gender reassignment surgery.
Maureen Duffy, widely credited as the first publically out lesbian in Britain, read two of her poems including Paternity about her long absent Irish father and spoke of the relative freedom she had to campaign in the 60’s for the decriminalisation of homosexuality.
Underlining Ireland as supportive on an international level of the rights of the LGBT community, Ambassador had opened the evening welcoming the community in its all diversity, and describing Ireland in terms of the LGBT community as “still on a journey but it has come so far”.