Bi+ Ireland were recently invited into Whitehall College of Further Education as part of their LGBTQI Awareness Week
Our coordinator Sharon gave a presentation to staff and faculty on Bisexuality 101 which included bi+ language, ways to support and stand up for the bi+ community, and how to support friends and students who may be bi+, and Sharon's own personal experiences with being bisexual.
The talk was a huge success, and Bi+ Ireland were honoured an proud to be invited to partake in the college's LGBTQI Awareness Week. We'd like to offer huge thanks to Paul Rudden and Conor Kelly for the work and dedication for organising it.
Bi+ Ireland are available to facilitate workshops, talks and to help educate about bi+ issues and the bi+ community in Ireland. Would you like us to work to your organisation? Get in touch!
We at Bi+ Ireland are disappointed to see the recent Twitter change that has filtered out community content and resources from the #bisexual hashtag.
On November 3rd, the introduction of search filter changes on the website included steps for the blocking of potentially sensitive material. This change is believed to have lead to the blocking of photos, video and news searches on #bisexual and related hashtags.
On November 4th, the results were noticed by bi+ organisations and individuals worldwide. They have since been highlighting the issue on Twitter.
Bi+ Ireland Coordinator Sharon Nolan states "This move from Twitter, accidental or otherwise, is damaging to the bi+ community. Due to the high rates of isolation within our community, many of our member's only opportunity to connect to other bi+ people is through the likes of social media. Making it harder for bi+ people to connect is unacceptable."
"The removal of photos from the #bisexual hashtag is likely related to Twitter trying to remove adult content" continues Nolan. "There is still a hypersexualisation of the bisexual identity, which has historically lead to our community being dismissed and misunderstood. We are not just our sex acts or porn, but a community of people who deserve supports and to be able to openly exist."
Currently there is a Change.org petition calling for Twitter to remedy the situation, and many media outlets including the BBC, Pink News and Alternative Press are covering the issue.
There has yet been a public response from Twitter about the situation.
We talk a lot about visibility in the Bi+ community, but there’s only one way to be visible in the ballot box, and that’s to register to vote and to make it to the polls.
There are several elections planned for 2018 in Ireland (four referenda, including one on the 8th Amendment, and the Presidential election) so it is particularly timely for Irish citizens resident in Ireland who are over 18 or will be on or before the 15th of February 2018, to register.
Registering to Vote
If you register before the 1st of November 2017 you should be included in the Draft Register of Electors 2018/2019 which will be published on that date.
Even if you are already registered to vote, you should check that draft register when it comes out, as people are sometimes removed in error.
You will be able to apply to change your details in the draft (including adding yourself if you were not included) until Friday the 24th of November 2017. The Register will be published on the 15th of February.
If you change address, or if you did not manage to register by the 24th of November, you can join the Supplementary Register at any time up to 14 working days before an election, including if you are not yet 18 but will be when an election takes place.
Who can Vote
Since the upcoming elections are all constitutional referenda and a Presidential election, it’s worth noting that only Irish citizens who are resident in the Republic of Ireland are eligible to vote in these elections—other residents can vote in different types of government election depending on their citizenship, but only citizens have a say on the constitution or the presidency.
If you were born anywhere in Ireland, including Northern Ireland, you have an automatic claim to Irish citizenship and can tick “Irish” when registering to vote. Likewise, if you have a parent who was both an Irish citizen and born in Ireland.
If you have either a parent who was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth but who was not born in Ireland, or if one of your grandparents was born in Ireland, then you can apply for citizenship through Foreign Birth Registration. This can take up to six months.
If you previously registered to vote under another citizenship you should use from RFA2 to change your registration to note that you are Irish. It may be wise to contact your local authority.
Otherwise becoming an Irish citizen requires that you become one through naturalisation, and then use form RFA5 to have your electoral registration reflect this change in citizenship.
If claiming Irish citizenship, note that Ireland allows dual or multiple citizenship with any other country and does not require that you renounce your other citizenship(s). Not all countries allow this from their side though, so check the rules of the citizenship(s) you already have.
You cannot vote if you live abroad with two exceptions:
Pictures from the GALAs 2017
A video of Sharon Nolan's acceptance speech, GALAs 2017
Bi+ Ireland represents a diverse group of people, with a whole spectrum of opinions and life experiences. We want to best represent our community, but to be an inclusive space we also want to offer solidarity to the marginalised communities that intersect with us.
Back in September 2016, requests were made from our members regarding whether we would be involved with the March for Choice. While many of our coordinator team are passionately pro-choice, we were aware that there would be an implied stance of our entire organisation if we took part in the event. We did not want to impose this on our members without their input, so we asked them about their thoughts on Bi+ Ireland taking a stance on the 8th amendment, and whether we should publicly back the campaign to Repeal the 8th. We polled the group, and 94% of you voting in favour of us publicly supporting the campaign! Following this, we joined the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment and are working with 100+ other groups and organisations to secure a referendum. You can check out our member profile on their website too.
The discussions we had show that reproductive justice and the fight for access to abortion in Ireland is a LGBTQIA+ issue. The 8th Amendment directly affects bi+ women, lesbians, trans men and AFAB non-binary people too.
In the Burning Issues 2 report, more than 90% of respondents believe our LGBTQIA+ community should support equality for those who face discrimination. The issue raised the most was support for repealing the 8th Amendment. For some, it’s because they want to support more progressive social issues. For others, it’s to do with their personal bodily autonomy. Ensuring the right to bodily autonomy has always linked the LGBTQIA+ community with the push for reproductive justice and abortion rights. So much of the homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and heterosexism we experience is down to a disrespect and disregard for bodily autonomy. Anyone fighting for bodily autonomy is our ally, as we are theirs.
Join us on Saturday, September 30th as we March for Choice. This year will be our second year marching in the Abortion Rights Campaign March for Choice and we couldn't be prouder to be represented at the event.
Come celebrate with us around the country!
Celebrate with us online!
Join us at the March for Choice, September 30th