BeLonG To deliver LGBTI+ awareness training session
BeLonG To is an national organisation supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex young people in Ireland. The organisation delivers a range of youth services to LGBTI+ young people, between the ages of 14 and 23, to create an environment where they're equal, safe and valued.
The FAI welcomed the organisation to the National Sports Campus to deliver an awareness session to employees as part of an initiative run by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs in the area of LGBTI+ capacity building. FAI CEO John Delaney and Chairperson of the Women's Committee/FAI Board Member Niamh O'Donoghue delivered addresses to welcome BeLonG To to the association.
The session was also attended by three footballers from the Dublin Devils, a gay and inclusive club based in Dublin; Aidan Walsh, Danny Ogilvy and Hicham Lamchaali. The players spoke about their experiences playing for the team and how much it has helped them in their lives.
"We're delighted to welcome BeLonG To and the members of the Dublin Devils football team to the FAI today," said FAI CEO John Delaney.
"It's an extremely important that we emphasise that football is for everybody, regardless of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. To hear from the Dublin Devils players on how football has helped them in their lives shows the hugely positive impact our game has in every community across Ireland.
"It was hugely important for the board and staff to hear about these experiences and help us make football more inclusive than ever before. We're delighted to welcome the LGBTI+ family to the football family."
"Today is an historic day for BeLonG To," said Monnine Griffith, Executive Director of BeLonG To.
"It is a chance for us to raise awareness of our organisation and the services we provide to the young LGBTI+ community in Ireland. It was a session based around obtaining skills you can use if you witness homophobic or transphobic bullying in the football community so you know how to deal with those situations.
"The FAI is one of the biggest sporting bodies in the country and we're delighted that they've welcomed us here today."
"It's an incredibly important day for the FAI because the whole point of football as a global game is that it is a game for everybody," said Niamh O'Donoghue, Chairperson of the Women's Committee/FAI Board Member.
"The Association has already made fantastic progress in improving it's inclusivity but this is another signal that the FAI wants to continue to improve in the future.
"It's all about creating a safe and comfortable environment for young people in Ireland from any background so they can fulfil their potential both on the pitch and off it. It's a hugely valuable event and I'm delighted to see it take place."