On the 21st of October, the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) scooped up the award for LGBT Student Award sponsored by Accenture at the eighth annual Gay And Lesbian Awards (GALAS) 2017 in Dublin’s Mansion House with USI Vice President for Equality and Citizenship and Deputy President Síona Cahill clinching the award. Hailing from Longford, Síona Cahill is now serving her second term as USI Vice President for Equality and Citizenship and now as Deputy President managing events like Europe’s largest LGBTQ student training event in Europe, Pink Training and sits on the LGBTI Youth Strategy Oversight Committee.
Speaking at the ceremony, Cahill said,
‘I went to my first GALAS to support Senator Averil Power in 2014 for Politician of the Year, as a young woman who wasn’t out to myself, never mind anyone else. I sat in a room full of amazing people who were successful and hard working across all parts of the LGBT+ community, and I aspired to contribute in some way myself as soon as I was ready.
‘I went from 0-60km from the “Mammy I won’t be bringing home any lads from America” to my activism on the lead up to Marriage Equality, but the work is far from done when it comes to acceptance, education and legal rights for many of our young people.’
Cahil went on to say,
‘Coming out and figuring it out is an imperfect, ongoing journey, and it is imperative on all of us, LGBTI+ or not, to work harder to make the society we live and work in a better, more understanding one. Often this means challenging the status quo or the way we always saw ‘the world’, and that can be unsettling, but it’s absolutely necessary.
‘I am honoured to receive this award with USI and thank those shortlisted for the work they do for students.’
Shortlisted for this award were, ‘Out in UL’, ‘GiG Soc (NUI Galway)’, ‘DCU LGBTA Society’.
The GALAS were set up by GCN and the National LGBT Federation (NXF) to honour LGBT+ people and organisations for their contributions to Irish society. The awards are also to honour politicians, employers and others who are committed to advancing equality and social acceptance for LGBT+ people in Ireland.