The Trinity LGBT staff network launched this week in an event held in conjunction with Oifig na Gaeilge, Q Soc and Cumann Gaelach.
The network was established after several individual staff members contacted Trinity’s Equality Office before Christmas to ask for such a group to be set up. The launch event, Éigse Thuar Ceatha (Trinity Rainbow Celebration), was the result of a proposal submitted to the equality fund by Joel McKeever, former Auditor of Q Soc and now a member of staff, and Aonghus Dwane, the College’s Irish Language Officer.
The launch event was a part of Trinity’s Irish language festival, “Éigse na Trionóide”, and was followed by the LGBT-inclusive céilí, or “géilí”, held by Q Soc and Cumann Gaelach.
Senator David Norris, one of the founding members of Q Soc, and Mícheál Ó Conghaile, an Irish language writer who has written about coming out in Ireland, were the keynote speakers at the event.
Speaking to The University Times about the significance of the network for staff, McKeever said: “I think that the network is going to be very useful and something we can be very proud of in the college following on from the tradition of societies like Q Soc and the college being a very inclusive workspace.”
The LGBT staff network is in the very early stages of development and, at the moment, their main aim is to encourage any staff members who want to be involved to contact the Equality Office. In the future, they hope to run creative events, advocate for LGBT rights both on campus and nationally, and provide support for their members.
The staff network is looking at similar groups in other universities in Ireland to model their network on. They are particularly looking at the staff LGBT network in University College Cork, which was set up in 2007 and was the first of its kind in an Irish university. McKeever commented: “We are little bit late to the game but we are hoping to catch up with the other institutions as quick as possible.”