Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health Louise O’Reilly has said that the failure of the state to ensure the health service meets the need of LGBTQI people is a source of great shame considering their historic ill-treatment and marginalisation by the State.
Speaking this Pride weekend, Teachta O’Reilly said: “There have been significant strides made in recent years by LGBTQI people fighting for access to services and rights. However we must not kid ourselves into thinking that there is not much more to work towards.
“This Pride weekend, it is important to focus not only on how far things have come, but on what is left to be done.
“The state must deliver on the commitment to end new HIV transmissions by 2030. This must be delivered in conjunction with investment in public health services, and the delivery of fully funded HIV and sexual health services to meet the needs of all communities.
“We must also ensure that an end is brought to the discriminatory 12-month deferral period on blood donations for gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men.
“In the north of Ireland, this has recently been reduced to a three month wait for gay men, but there must be an alternative.
“In recent times, we have also seen increased attacks on the LGBTQI community.
“In particular we have seen attacks, often by influential people, on trans women. Let me say it loud and clear this Pride weekend, trans women are women, and trans rights are human rights.
“Trans women often face harassment and discrimination within society. This is compounded by a lack of awareness, knowledge, and sensitivity with the provision of healthcare. The current system is outdated, and it completely fails the trans community – it needs immediate reform and funding.
“Like all minority groups, lesbian women may also experience discrimination in healthcare, whether it is as regards access to services or the understanding of their health needs from medical professionals.
“Stigmatisation and marginalisation in society can have a significant impact on the health and mental health of the LGBTQI community.
“To counter this, our health services have to be understanding of the needs of the community; health services must be adaptable, dynamic, and compassionate. But most of all, they have to provide the range of resourced services that the LGBTQI community need.
“You can be sure that Sinn Fein will stand shoulder to shoulder with the LGBTQI community to deliver health services, and a State, that operates fairly and equitably and delivers for LGBTQI people.”