Our friend Jon Hanna passed on Monday the 11th of March 2019. We are heartbroken.
Jon was a parent, a husband, an activist and so much more - to so many. Jon was a coordinator with Bi+ Ireland, and as a community we are deeply saddened by his passing and still reeling from this news.
In his ‘We Exist’ story, Jon tells us he was “Bisexual, Irish, cis, white, male, pagan, witch, parent, kinky, pro-choice AF, occasional depressive, rape survivor, of a working-class Northern Irish upbringing”.
Jon Hanna was uncompromisingly and unapologetically himself. He was a leader for our communities, someone who led the way for many of us, whether literally at a march giving us sun cream, badges and a sure stride to follow, or inspiring with reassuring words in our community spaces, both on and offline.
It’s hard to believe that Jon won’t be at Pride this year, or the March for Choice. Jon, who inevitably had a child in one arm and the other arm free for a hug. Jon who would be ready to chat, and ready to march with his children by his side, who would proudly carry a flag while pushing a pram.
Jon was also an incredible active member of RQR - Radical Queers Resist. He worked tirelessly in partnership with them in the lead up to the referendum on the 8th amendment. Jon and his leather jacket and Repeal jumper was synonymous with him making a space safe for the all of us
This Saturday (March 16th) at 2pm we will gather at Newlands Cross Crematorium to say goodbye to Jon. At the request of the family, please no flowers - donations can be made to Abortion Support Network or Rape Crisis Centre. - rip.ie. If you can, please wear your Repeal jumper or Free Safe Legal tshirt, or a Bi+/LGBTQIA pin or flag.
We know that people may have all sorts of different reactions, and they are all valid, and it's ok to let yourself have those feelings. Whether you knew Jon for a decade or met him once, or just chatted with him online, your grief is valid. Everyone is welcome to the funeral.
If you want would like to join our community to attend the funeral, please do. There is a group meeting at 12 pm on Saturday at the Olympia Theatre, Dame St, and getting the bus to the crematorium. Bring bus fare and look for the bi flags.
A paypal has been set up to help his partner and their kids with the practicalities of these difficult times. If you would like to make a contribution you can do so at https://paypal.me/pools/c/8cXeElETIG.
If you wish to add your condolences or share your memories of Jon, we’re collecting them here and will pass on to his family.
We are all struggling with this news, and know that we will for some time. Please take the time to seek additional support for yourself if you feel like you might need it, and know that our community will be here for you now and into the future.
For additional supports:
LGBT Helpline 1890 929 539, https://lgbt.ie/
Samaritans 116 123, https://www.samaritans.org/ireland/samaritans-ireland/
Dublin Rape Crisis Centre 1800 77 8888 http://www.drcc.ie/
Pieta House 1800 247 247 https://www.pieta.ie/
Now that the date has been set for the referendum that will allow us to repeal the 8th, the deadline is also set for the Supplement to the Register of Electors.
Any additions or amendments to the supplement must be made more than 14 days before an election (excluding Sundays and holidays). In the case of the referendum on the 25th of May, this means you MUST have submitted the form by the 8th of May at the very latest. Ideally as soon as possible.
Registering requires form RFA 2 available here.
Change of address from that you are already registered under requires form RFA 3 available here.
Now that the date is set, if you are still 17 but will be 18 on or before the 25th of May you may register now, using form RFA 2 above. It is advisable to include a photocopy of your birth certificate.
This also means that if you are going to need a postal vote and are not yet registered for one, you must register by the 27th of April.
If you require a postal vote due to physical disability or illness you need form PVS 1 available here.
If you require a postal vote due to circumstances related to your occupation (which includes some students) you need form PVS 2 available here. Check with your employer or institution to be sure you are eligible.
Postal votes are only available within the country, except for some cases where you are abroad on State business (military, Garda or diplomatic service).
We at Bi+ Ireland welcome the news that Minister Bruton has called for a review of the RSE (relationships and sexuality education) curriculum, has identified consent as a priority, and also that LGBTQ+ issues will be addressed.
The current curriculum is sorely lacking in both of these regards, which is failing the young people of this country. We look forward eagerly to learning of what improvements will be made.
Our Bi+ community has grown so much over the last two years! We now run a variety of events on a regular basis, all over the country. We aim to be an all-ireland, inclusive organisation. We’re looking for community members to join our coordinator team, specifically to help grow and support our events.
We would specifically welcome people who can join existing teams in Dublin, Limerick and Galway, but we welcome interest from anywhere in the country. We would like help with any and all of the following:
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