‘Stormont must do more’- gay group

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Stormont must do more to challenge negative attitudes towards the north’s gay community, a Derry gay rights activist has said.

John O’Doherty, director of the Rainbow Project, was speaking after the publication of a report found that more than a quarter of people in the north would mind a gay, lesbian or bisexual person living next door.

Mr O’Doherty said while government continues to treat the gay and transgender people as second class citizens there is the risk that this is how they will be viewed by the general public.

The Equality Commissions report found that over a quarter of people (27%) would mind a gay, lesbian or bisexual person living next door, compared to 14% in 2005. The report also revealed 42% said they would be unhappy about a gay person becoming an in-law. Around a third of people (35%) would mind a transgender person as a work colleague, rising to 40% as a neighbour and 53% as an in-law.

“What this report clearly shows is that not enough is being done to address the negative perceptions that exist. While Government ministers continue to refuse to introduce legislation to allow same sex couples to adopt children or get married, no consideration is given to the impact this has on attitudes towards our community.”

Mr O’Doherty says good relations policy must also extend to the LGB&T communities.

Foyle SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood said the report questions the “‘illusion of progress’ emanating from Stormont’s leadership.”

Derry Sinn Féin councillor Patricia Logue described the report as “ an appalling indictment on attitudes within our society.”