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Chalking it up for the LGBT community

Members of An Garda Siochana took a stand against homophobic bullying by contributing to a previous Chalk It Up event run by the BreakOUT Donegal LGBT Youth Group as part of the national Stand Up! LGBT Awareness Week.

Members of An Garda Siochana took a stand against homophobic bullying by contributing to a previous Chalk It Up event run by the BreakOUT Donegal LGBT Youth Group as part of the national Stand Up! LGBT Awareness Week.

The BreakOUT Donegal LGBT Youth Group invites you to participate in “Chalk It Up”, a unique public art event in support of the LGBT community.

The third annual event will take place at Market Square in Letterkenny on Saturday, 8th March, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Participants will be able to write messages that stand up for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) people and that take a stand against homophobic bullying using colourful chalk on pavement in the square.

The event, which is being held in conjunction with the national BeLong To organisation’s Stand Up! LGBT Awareness Week which runs from 10th to 14th March, will also feature free face painting and live music.

“It’s going to be a good, fun-filled couple of hours when people from all walks of life who believe in equality – including families, old people, and young people – take a stand alongside their LGBT friends and family members,” said Sinead Murray, Co-ordinator of the BreakOUT Donegal LGBT Youth Group.

The group, which was founded by Donegal Youth Service in 2009 as a safe, fun space for LGBT young people aged 16 to 23, meets weekly in Letterkenny and Buncrana.

Chalk It Up events run by BreakOUT in 2012 and 2013 were attended by dozens of participants whose encouraging messages lasted on the pavement for days afterward as inspiration to passers-by.

“Last year one little 8-year-old girl wrote: ‘You are not born a bully, you learn to be a bully,’ which was phenomenal,” Sinead said.

“Her parents took her to the event and the message that little girl wrote inspired me and others.”

Schools

A brand new aspect of Chalk It Up this year is the participation by eight of the 22 secondary schools in Donegal, which have committed to making noticeboards on school premises available for pro-LGBT and anti-homophobia messages during Stand Up! Week.

“I went to the Donegal Youth Council to let them know about the event and the brilliant young people went to their schools and said, ‘Can we do something?’” Sinead said. “They did it all and that is amazing.

“According to statistics, 10 per cent of the students in any school’s population are LGBT so what these eight schools are doing is creating a safe environment for those students and letting them know it’s OK to be LGBT.

“Next year I would love to see all secondary schools in Donegal take an opportunity like Stand Up! Week to roll out an event or a talk which takes a stand against homophobia.”

For more information about Chalk It Up, BreakOUT Donegal, or the Stand Up! LGBT Awareness Week, you can contact Sinead Murray on (086) 124 7968 or Donegal Youth Service on (074) 912 9630.

 
 
 

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