Please say a few things about yourself and your scouting experience.
Hi there! My name is Aoife, I’m 23 and from Dublin! I have been a scout since I was very young and have been involved in varying amounts and levels over the last couple of years. However, following a quiet year for the scouts, I am not currently actively involved in local scouting but I frequently engage in events and activities organised by DU Rovers, which is a University scouting society that a few friends and I set up a couple of years ago.
What is the state of LGBTQ* in your scout association?
As a queer woman, my experience in Scouting Ireland has always been widely accepting of LGBTQ* individuals. It was during my time in the Scouts that I met the most accepting and welcoming people whom I am proud to still call my best friends today. I don’t think that I would own my identity in the way that I do today if it wasn’t for the people that I met in the Scouts.
The Scouts taught me the importance of being considerate and showing respect for and solidarity towards others regardless of our differences or similarities. Scouts are also loyal and brave, we were always taught the importance of being a leader and not a follower, and to stand up for what is right and good at all times. These are things that I will hold onto very closely into adulthood and in my career as a teacher as their relevance transcends far beyond Scout meetings and are vital attitudes to hold in today’s continuously diversifying world.
The Scouting Groups that I have been involved in over the years always fostered very inclusive mindsets. I never felt that my personal identity or the identity of my friends’ were barriers to our participation. Instead we were always encouraged to be confident, proud and to celebrate our differences as Scouts as it is diversity that truly enriches and strengthens all communities.
There are various supports available to individuals within the organisation including but not limited to the LGBTQ* Fellowship Patrol. The Fellowship Patrol was established with the intention to provide support and community for LGBTQ* members of Scouting Ireland.
What is the state of LGBTQ* in your country?
I am very fortunate to say that in terms of LGBTQ* rights, Ireland is a very progressive place to live. We have come a very long way over the last couple years with milestone events such as the landslide referendum in 2015, which legalised Same Sex Marriage, and the introduction of the Gender Recognition Act in 2015. However, of course Ireland is not perfect and there are still many aspects of society and the law that need to be examined further to make Ireland a completely equal and inclusive place to live in as an LGBTQ* individual.