EQUALITY AND LGBTQ+
Being Gay or Lesbian
Being attracted to the same gender is something to be proud of!! Loads of people are attracted to the same gender or more than one gender, and this is absolutely fine and normal.
Being gay or lesbian does not mean you have to behave or live your life any differently. Gay and lesbian people come in all shapes and sizes and live all sorts of different lives.
Coming out can be scary and emotional, but it can also be exciting and can help you to live your life in a more open and happy way. Remember, only tell who you want to tell. Take your time with coming out and go at your own pace. It’s totally fine to wait until you’re ready.
What does transgender actually mean?
Trans* is an umbrella term for those whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the sex they were given at birth, for example, transgender or transsexual people. Some trans* people may feel that they are a man born into a female body or a woman born into a male body, but not necessarily.
Trans* people also include people who identify as gender-neutral, non-binary, genderqueer or genderfluid people, who may identify as a range of combinations of male and female or as neither of the two.
It’s important if you are friends with or know a trans person to address them with the gender they refer to themselves as and refer to them with their chosen name and gender pronoun.
Coming out is the process of accepting your sexual orientation and being open about that with other people.
Make sure you’re ready – it’s good to go at your own pace. Come out when you feel comfortable and confident in doing so. There is absolutely no rush and don’t put too much pressure on yourself if you really don’t feel ready yet.
Below are some terms that might be useful to explore:
Coming out: The process of accepting and telling others about your gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation. Many trans people will ‘come out’ as a different gender to the sex assigned at birth and may begin a social or physical transition.
Lesbian: a woman who has emotional/romantic/sexual attraction towards other women.
Gay: Someone who is mainly attracted to people of the same gender.
Bisexual: Someone who is attracted to two genders
Transgender: Refers to a person whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the sex assigned to them at birth. It is important to never out someone as trans without their permission. Forced outing – whether intentional or unintentional – is a form of transphobia.
Queer: once a derogatory term but recently reclaimed. It is an umbrella term that captures multiple aspects of gender expression and identities.
Intersex: Intersex people are born with sex characteristics such as chromosomes, genitals, and/or hormonal makeup that doesn’t belong strictly to male or female categories, or that belong to both at the same time.
Non-binary: An umbrella term for gender identities that fall outside the gender binary of male or female. NB people may feel their gender identity is not exclusively male or female and can vary between
Hermaphrodite: derogatory term which has been replaced by the term intersex. Intersex people are born with variations in their sexual anatomy or hormonal pattern seen as not fitting in with typical “male” or “female” bodies
Other useful websites include:
IT Carlow Students’ Union strives to make the student experience inclusive for all. We work both locally and nationally, alongside The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) on a broad range equality issues such as the current fight for women’s bodily autonomy (Repeal the 8th). We are constantly tackling on-going issues such as racism, transphobia and homophobia through campaigns such as Equality & Diversity Week and Welfare Wednesday’s.
IT Carlow Students’ Unions and most other Students’ Unions around the country alongside USI campaigned tirelessly for marriage equality in the Republic of Ireland and will continue to do so for our friends in Northern Ireland until a referendum has passed.
In 2017/18 the SU team secured Gender Neutral Bathrooms in every block on the Carlow Campus and will continue lobby for this much needed change on our satellite campuses Wexford and Wicklow as they continue to expand. In the coming year all of IT Carlow’s Student Charter and Policy will have changed to become gender neutral and inclusive as will IT Carlow Students’ Union documents.
We work alongside the Student Services Access Officer to make sure each room and floor of IT Carlow is accessible to all students with disabilities and are constantly monitoring this throughout the year.
‘No one is equal until there is equality for all’
If you have any questions or thoughts on this, don’t hesitate to contact your Welfare & Equality Officer Naomi McGuire at SUWELFARE@itcarlow.ie.