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16 October 2014
BBC NI - Eyewitness

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P.A. Mag Lochlainn is President of Northern Ireland Gay Rights Association Image of P.A. Mag Lochlainn

I am the president of the Northern Ireland Gay Rights Association, one of the main bodies dealing with the law and gay people in Northern Ireland. And we strongly suspect that because gay teenagers - gay / lesbian / bisexual teenagers - in Northern Ireland are more isolated than any other part of the United Kingdom, that we have probably got a higher suicide rate correspondingly. Lesbian or gay teenagers in Northern Ireland have no gay centre to go to, although recently one has opened in Derry for the North-West which is doing fantastic work. But Belfast has none. And secondly they have very, very few role models - there is only (out of all the teachers in Northern Ireland) there is only one teacher who is 'out'. There is not a single 'out' doctor, lawyer, nurse or any…most other professions, and where is the teenager to find advice? Certainly not from the tabloids who peddle misinformation. And we have fairly good anecdotal and, we reckon, statistical evidence that teenagers are killing themselves because of this lack of information and this tremendous feeling of isolation.

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