Sunday, March 17, 2013

Out Spotlight

Today's Out Spotlight is a group who believes LGBT young people need to be respected and cared for on the same basis as all other young people, and that when they are safe and supported in their families, schools & society they will thrive as healthy and equal citizens. Today's Out Spotlight is BeLonG To.

BeLonG To is a national organization for Irish Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) young people, between the ages of 14 and 23.

They provide direct youth work services to LGBT young people in Dublin and support LGBT youth groups all around the country. They support spaces where LGBT young people can meet each other, get involved in activities and see that their identities and selves are valuable and important.

Their belief is that the when LGBT young people experience problems this is are largely due to negative societal attitudes, they work to change these attitudes by training teachers and youth workers, running awareness campaigns in schools and youth services and working with government departments to ensure that LGBT young people are heard so that positive social change can occur.

BeLonG To grew out of a voluntary youth group – OutYouth – which had been meeting in Dublin on and off for over 15 years. The group was run by young people for young people with the support of Gay Switchboard Dublin. While OutYouth was often an excellent group and a model of youth work, sustaining its work was often difficult. Because it totally relied on the voluntary commitment and leadership capacity of young volunteers the group at times became unstable and even closed when youth leaders moved away or were no longer able to commit their energies.

In its final years a small number of very committed youth facilitators ran the group but also worked closely with a consultant who was brought in by Gay Switchboard Dublin to explore possible supports for the group. Part of that explorations was a community roundtable discussion to about putting together a sustainability plan for the group. The group got drew participation from most LGBT community groups in Dublin as well as City of Dublin Youth Services Board. Out of the meeting a smaller working group was formed, of individuals and representatives from OutYouth, The Gay Men’s Health Project, Gay Switchboard Dublin, Gay HIV Strategies, OUThouse and the City of Dublin Youth Services Board.

This steering group worked for two years developing policies and pocedures and funding proposals. Through this work the Youth Affairs Section of the Department of Education and Science committed to fund a new LGBT youth project. This funding was to be be administered by the City of Dublin Youth Services Board.

In March 2003 the new youth project opened for business with one full time youth worker. Soon after the name BeLonG To was adopted. In 2004 they launch Ireland first national LGBT youth awareness campaign So Gay! It was supported by the Equality Authorty, The Institute of Guidance Counsellors and Léargas. In 2005 BeLonG To had their second full time yourth worker and worked with Ire;and's Social Personal and Health Education support service to develop designated training for teachers on working with LGBT young people. This training was then rolled out around the country.

In September 2006 they held a Homophobic Bullying Seminar in partnership with the Children’s Research Centre TCD – first of its kind in Ireland. The next month The Stop Homophobic Bullying in School Campaign, was launched by Minister for State in Education Sile De Valera. It was a partnership campaign with the Equality Authority and significantly, was endorsed by the TUI, ASTI, The National Association of Principals, the Gardai, Irish Secondary Students Union and the National Parents Council. It was the largest LGBT campaign of any kind at that time. As in 2006 BeLonG To partnered with the Anti-Bullying Centre in TCD to deliver the first Irish study on LGBT young people’s experience of homophobic bullying in school. They also joined forces with the National Drugs Strategy Team and the North Inner City Drugs Task Force to carry out national research on drug use amongst LGBT young people and to develop the first and only LGBT specific drugs education and prevention service. And in response to young people presenting to BeLonG To with suicidal ideation BeLonG To delivered a submission to the National Suicide Review Group. As a result of this as well as ongoing BeLonG To campaigning, LGBT young people were included as a designated ‘at risk’ group in ReachOut, the governments ten year strategy on suicide prevention.

By further working with the HSE’s National Office for Suicide Prevention, in 2007 BeLonG To was funded to deliver a National Development Project to establish LGBT youth supports to young people around the country. The organization also produces a manual on how to set up and run an LGBT youth group. Using this resource BeLonG To develops a network of 12 LGBT youth groups in the the coming years.

In 2008 BeLonG To were appointed to The National Youth Work Advisory Committee which advises the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs on the direction of services and policy for young people in Ireland. That same year Ireland's President Mary McAleese addressed BeLonG To’s National LGBT Youth Forum in Galway, where she stated:

‘By working together ... we can overcome the bias and hostility experienced by many young gay people throughout the country. No-one should have to suffer on account of their sexual orientation.’

That same year they had established their first accredited LGBT Youth Group – Shout! In Galway and opened its Online Support Service at Christmas, operating each weekend throughout the year to support young LGBT people in dealing with any issues they may have.

In 2009 BeLonG To and GLEN were co-commissioners of Supporting LGBT Lives – a national study into LGBT mental health and wellbeing, with a special emphasis on young people. This report was launched by the Minister for Health and Children. They supported the work of a number of Oireachtas groups, this included supporting the Joint Working Group on Early School Leaving, presenting to the Oireachtas Committee on the high levels of suicide, and presenting to the Committee on Education on the experiences of LGBT young people in school.

The Office for the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (OMCYA)and BeLonG To produce ‘Homophobic Bullying Guidelines for the Youth Sector’. BeLonG advocated to having LGBT people in included in the National Drugs Strategy as a group that need greater support and working in partnership with the National Association of Principals & Deputy Principals, the Equality Authority and GLEN to deliver training to principals and schools to assist them in addressing homophobia and homophobic bullying in Irish schools. Their second accredited LGBT Youth Group in Limerick was created.

In 2010 BeLonG To launched the first ever LGBT Awareess week in Ireland, Stand Up! Show support for your LGBT friends. The first year of the campaign focuses on the Youth Work Sector. The 2013 campaign was last just last week.

Michael Barron, the director of BeLonG To, was been invited to the White House for a series of meeting with senior administration officials marking St. Patrick’s Day.

The unprecedented invitation came in recognition of BeLonG To’s groundbreaking work nationally and internationally to combat bullying in schools and to support LGBT young people facing harassment and discrimination.

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!


the real m said...

Happy St Pats to all. I made 2 corned beefs, good for lots of leftovers and hash, which I love, later in the week. Kind of quiet on the Jake front these days so not much to add. Hope you all had a good day and did not overdo the brew.

Jake Gyllenhaal Dating ‘SI’ Model — Finally Over Taylor Swift said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
prairiegirl said...

That's probably a diseased link, people, because that story is crappy made up stuff the quality of a Tiger Beat rag, so I would not click on it.

We have someone who thinks it's funny to put up links infused with infection so unless a link is put up by someone you know or recognize as a regular on OMG, I wouldn't be opening anything right now. And even then, I would right click on the link to test your anti virus because the paid troll knows how to imitate a blogger account as well.

I love how this is the kind of tactic Jake's people use. The kind of slime he hires to take care of things.

Real nice, Jake.

prairiegirl said...

Hi m!! Good to see you! Pretty good St Paddy's Day.

No Jimmy's Egg tho because the kids got up too late. Howeverrrrr... We have a new place that makes for nice consolation. Granite City. No slouch!!

Awww but no Jimmy's Egg. I was a little bummed, lol!

Steven said...

Hi All! Thanks for the tip about viruses. Is it really Jake's people doing that? I've only just found this blog and have read a few posts. Interesting to say the least!

Virus said...

That's been happening on Twitter as well...folks I don't know tweeting suspect links

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Warning said...

^^Infected link, don't click

Florida Tom said...

What a shame. People make me sick sometime.

Florida Tom said...

Not sure if it is being done by Jakes folks or other PR people or just some troll like our friendly troll. What makes you think it is PR PG. Shame on them if it is.

Know your trolls said...

Don't you love these posters that have "only just found this blog", but turn up at the most interesting times. Me thinks "Steven" is very familiar to everyone here.

prairiegirl said...

Tom, I believe it's someone hired from Jake's team because I believe it's a paid troll. I have been talking about this now for the last several days, please read past comments. ; )

Florida Tom said...

Well then we only open links if SK posts them in the daily post.

Florida Tom said...

What a shame. Makes Jake and Austin look really bad. I knew that wasnt sass the other day.

mud slinger said...

Makes Jake and Austin look really bad.

No, it is more a reflection of the accuser

about the spam said...

That post from "sass" was a repost from an anon of WFT2 that someone pasted over here without attribution.

There's a big surge in internet spam in comments, forms and social media the past few days, um, worldwide. It is epic. It is not "Jake's people."

Meh... said...

Meh, I don't think they're paid trolls. Paid trolls probably don't bother with tightly moderated comment threads - there's no point. I think they're just fangirl / fanboys, same with WFT2.

If Jake's PR felt threatened by OMG or similar internet chats about his sexuality and/or fatherhood, they'd have taken care of Toothy Tile real fast. And yes, they could have.

They could have persuaded E! to eliminate Jake as Toothy by exchanging some other hot exclusive story.

They could have filed a lawsuit.

They could have put Jake on The Tonight Show and faced it head-on, making a joke of it and publicly denying that he is the infamous Toothy Tile. That would have ended it right there.

They could stage a 'sex scandal' that catches Jake in a compromising heterosexual situation, such as dating a married woman or a prostitute a la Hugh Grant. Those types of scandals put the kibosh on gay rumors real fast and are more effective than even a marriage to Katie Holmes.

But they didn't. Why not? Maybe because the mystery surrounding Jake's sexuality is actually advantageous to him? Both his fangirls and his fanboys think he plays for their team? It makes someone interesting who otherwise might not be that interesting?

prairiegirl said... That's not it.

prairiegirl said...

And what I notice and find amusing, I mean intriguing is how it was dead on this blog all weekend but for some of the regulars, but the minute a finger points even as a 3 party, towards "Jake' Team" , here comes someone to the defense of said party.


prairiegirl said...

Anyway no one has to agree with me. I just expressed what I believed based on what I have witnessed.

Awful, crazy hectic day. Its the pits! I blame everthing going wrong today . on the fact we did not get to eat at Jimmy Egg yesterday. ;D

Florida Tom said...

It is cloudy in Florida. 74 degrees though:--

Special K said...

Snow more snow. This must stop.

prairiegirl said...

Oh no, more snow?! That's awful. This has been a looooong winter.

lol - I was looking at all my mistakes in my typing. Good grief, how embarrassing! Looks like a 5 yr old. I could have sworn I had it right - that doggone autocorrect.

the real m said...

They did not fight the jake is gay stories because he is gay. Truth is truth, cant be contained. Besides, Jake was a lot more open around town before Brokeback Mountain hit big. An open secret for too long before he was persueded to stay in the closet. And then came the kids, so a whole new reason for staying under the radar.