“Envisaging Growing Older”- LGBT Seminar at The Outhouse

29 Nov

I recently spent a few hours at the Outhouse through my internship and had the opportunity of sitting in on part of the LGBT Conference entitled “Envisaging Growing Older’. The Outhouse, located just North of the Liffey, is a community and resource center for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community. The Outhouse hosted a one-day seminar geared toward older LGBT people in which a variety of speakers and question and answer sessions occurred. We heard from Justine Quinn, Attorney at Law, who spoke about inclusive ageing and the law. This included LGBT issues such as gender recognition, civil marriage, guardianship, surrogacy, and adoption. She discussed Ireland’s current laws regarding these issues, the grey areas, and what this means to LGBT people in their every day life. We then interviewed George Robotham, Director of the Board of Outhouse who talked to us about the conference, why it was being held, and gave us a run down of the different speakers and topics being covered throughout the day.

During Justine’s talk, I was made aware of many issues surrounding the LGBT community that I had never really though in depth about before. For example, she spoke a lot about civil partnerships abroad. Every country has different laws regarding civil partnerships and gay marriage, so if one were to get married or have a civil union in one country, and take a trip together elsewhere, your marriage may not be recognized in the destination country, depending on the laws there. So in essence, if you were flying across five countries to get somewhere, your legal relationship status could change five times during the course of the flight. She also spoke a lot about child custody and how important having a will is for this reason. Irish laws currently only recognize one partner as being the legal guardian of a child. So, if this partner dies, the other partner is not recognized as a parent or guardian of the child unless specifically outlined in the will of the deceased partner.

I had an awareness of a lot of issues facing the LGBT community prior to this seminar through talking to friends of mine who are part of this community, but I had never really thought legally about the depth of the challenges people of this community face every day. It was a very informative and eye-opening experience in a lot of ways, and has really made me see how this community faces a life long battle on just living a normal life. I’m really glad I had the opportunity to attend and hear this perspective on the subject matter.

Here’s the interview we conducted with George Robotham, Director of the Board of the Outhouse .


Shannon Smith


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