Follow the rainbow and find out more about what is it like to be a member of the LGBT community in Ireland from Fernanda, our TU Dublin Blanchardstown Campus Ambassador …

Ireland is a small, mostly Catholic country and here being gay was a crime until 1989. If you start reading this you’re already got very scared, right? So was I!

Being gay is not easy is many places in the world, I came from a place where every 24 hours, an LGBT person dies of violence. So is a natural thing for us to be afraid of what we’re facing when we’re moving to a new place. We hide, we keep ourselves quiet and we observe.

When I first arrived in here my first big surprise started in college, at ITB the LGBT Society (Colours Society) is more than a society, they’re a big family that support each other in all the aspects of life. I joined the society in 2014, and with them I learned a lot about the rights and how is like to be gay in Ireland.

Ireland has become an example of equality to the rest of the world.

You can walk around, holding your partner’s hand and nobody is going to attack you (verbally or physically) to be honest, they don’t care about who you love. It’s not something that people really worry about, love is love.

In 2015 Ireland said YES to equality, as the first country in the world to vote by popular referendum on equal marriage. With 62% of the vote, the Irish voted YES and today marriage is a right for everyone, whether it is couples of opposite sex or same sex. The referendum wasn’t important just for the same sex marriage, but also to give confidence to young people to speak about their sexuality, Research by the BeLong2 showed 53% of 14 to 23-year-olds say they know someone who has identified their true sexuality since the referendum.

I was lucky enough to be part of this route to the referendum, and could see things changing on the streets and the way people perceive same sex couples. When before people wouldn’t care, now they look and they smile, they give you more strength to keep fighting for your rights. Ireland has become an example of equality to the rest of the world.

So, if you’re a member of the LGBT community and you want to come to Ireland, come, there’s plenty space in their rainbow for you!