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The Institute of Guidance Counsellors, (IGC), endeavour to outline our support for the forthcoming Marriage Equality referendum on Friday, May 22nd next.
We are delighted to join other social justice and equality groups such as , the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, ( ISPCC), the National Youth Council of Ireland and ‘Belong To,’ in our support of the above proposed change to the Constitution.
Members of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors, (IGC), work across the entire educational spectrum, from second level schools, Colleges of Further Education, Third Level Institutions and formal Adult Education sectors.
Our members support students in all aspects of their lives which include, coming to terms with their own personal identity and issues regarding their own sexuality. This can be a traumatic and challenging period for some students who are questioning such an integral part of their being. Indeed, this period of questioning and uncertainty can also see the student struggling with additional burdens such as victimisation, bullying and social exclusion.
In that regard, we as an organisation support equality measures such as ‘Stand Up’, an initiative of the Department of Education and Skills and ‘Belong To’, which aims to eradicate homophobic bullying. According to the Children’s Research Centre at Trinity College, Dublin, (supported by the HSE’s National Office for Suicide Prevention), 58 per cent of LGBT young people had endured homophobic abuse, 25 per cent had been threatened with physical violence and 34 per cent had heard homophobic comments from their teachers. The research also found that 50 per cent of LGBT people under 25 had thought about ending their lives and 20 per cent had attempted to do so.
As a consequence of the above analysis and evidence within second level schools and Third Level environments, the Institute of Guidance Counsellors believes that our support for the Marriage Equality referendum can, in Future years help with fostering a more equal Ireland where all people are held in unconditional positive regard, irrespective of their sexuality. We would hope that support given by the IGC and similar organisations along with a YES vote in the Referendum will lead to an Ireland where all children are cherished equally by society and the state, thus ensuring that no child is subject to bullying or victimisation of any sort based on their sexuality.Our members treat people within a framework of positive regard and ultimately with a respect for the human person. It is in that outlook then, that we regard everyone as equal, and support measures within society to treat all people with the utmost respect. Consequently, we are supporting a Yes vote on Friday, May 22nd next.