Event to flag homophobic bullying

editorial image
This Saturday an event will take place at the Market Square to address homophobic bullying among young people.

This Saturday an event will take place at the Market Square to address homophobic bullying among young people.

The event - ‘Chalk it Up’ - is being run by Longford Longford Comhairle na nÓg and in conjunction with ‘Belong To’, a national organisation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) young people, aged between 14 and 23.

The event on Saturday, which takes place from 2pm to 4pm, invites members of the public to write positive and supportive messages in chalk to the LGBT community, many of whom are currently experiencing homophobic or transphobic bullying.

There will be live music on the day and members of Longford Comhairle na nÓg would love for people to come along and support the campaign which aims to stamp out homophobic bullying in our schools for good.

Longford town native, Avril Gilchriest is the coordinator of Comhairle na nÓg and speaking to the Leader on Monday she said the whole issue of homophobic bullying in Longford schools became apparent following recent workshops held by the youth organisation.

“Every year we hold an AGM and the issues raised there are discussed; this time round a couple of things came up including bullying, but homophobic bullying also came to the fore,” she added.

“It is still very prevalent in Longford schools and people say things that they don’t mean or perhaps use words they don’t understand and this subsequently hurts another person.”

Ms Gilchriest went on to say that the initiative has been inspired by Belong To, an organisation that holds annual ‘stand up’ awareness events to address such issues.

Longford’s ‘Chalk it Up’ will take place on Saturday, April 18 and runs in conjunction with Belong To’s awareness week - ‘Stand up Against Homophobic Bullying’ which takes place nationwide from April 20-24.

“The purpose of ‘Chalk it Up’ is to make people become more aware of homophobic bullying and encourage them to use supportive words to members of the LGBT community; we will then ask them to write words in chalk on the pavement,” Ms Gilchriest continued.

“We then end up with a temporary mural. We will have music and a marquee on the day and we will be encouraging a festive and positive spirit in the Market Square on Saturday.”

For more information, contact Avril Gilchriest on 086 7945677 or email avril.gilchriest@foroige.ie.