Limerick charity GOSHH provides essential services to gay people in the Midwest • GCN

GOSHH (Gender, Orientation, Sexual Health and HIV) is a Limerick-based charity, located in Redwood Place on Davis Street. It opened in 1986 as Gay Switchboard Limerick. It was originally created as a helpline for volunteers, and over the years has evolved into an information and support panel for members of the LGBTQ+ community and people living with HIV. HIV/AIDS.

Although the services provided at GOSHH are extremely important to the queer community and people living with HIV, the Limerick charity is committed to helping everyone, in any way possible.

“Anyone can call us, even if they need something that we don’t do, we take care of pointing them out and showing them where to go, rather than fooling someone,” explains Eóin Burke, outreach worker at GOSHH. Eóin has worked with the charity since 2021 and specializes in training and personal support, especially for people struggling with their gender identity.

As an outreach worker he can visit clients in rural Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary. “It’s really nice to be able to reach out to people who might not have access to our services in the city.”

Besides personal training and support, GOSHH provides many other essential services to the community. Anyone can call GOSHH for free condoms and lube, and they can even be sent to people for free just by calling, dropping in, or filling out an online form.

Free tests for STIs are also available, with rapid tests for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis C. Rapid tests are carried out in minutes, and in the event of a positive result, there are always attendants on hand of hand to help the person. “It’s just a finger prick, a few drops of blood and within minutes the person knows the results,” says Ann Piercy, Personal Support Worker at GOSHH, which specializes in supporting people living with HIV.

Ann has worked with GOSHH since 2018. Along with training, speaking and advocacy, a big part of her role is testing. She says: “We go wherever we are asked to go, whether it is testing in universities, in direct delivery centers or in primary health care, and we also test in festivals.

She previously worked as a carer and recalls volunteering with the Limerick charity every Friday: “It was my feel-good Friday; I was coming here, and I didn’t feel like I was volunteering because I loved it. Even though I wasn’t paid, I knew that was where I belonged.

Limerick Charity GOSHH parade in celebration of Limerick Pride (2022)

The organization also provides free counseling and peer support. In the event that people need to be put on a waiting list for the counseling service, several GOSHH staff members will have time to meet regularly with the people on a waiting list.

They also offer training, such as sexual health workshops or information booths at events like Freshers Week. GOSHH spearheads awareness campaigns on topics such as consent, sexual wellness and contraception.

There are amazing support groups that meet regularly at the center. Two youth workers, Edel Mitchell and Jessica Curtin lead support groups for teenagers and young adults. They also run a support group called Genderwise, which can help people explore their gender identity, whether they identify as trans or non-binary.

People can subscribe to the newsletter on their website, which will inform them of social events organized by the center. GOSHH organizes many events like coffee mornings, kayak groups, bike groups and storytelling workshops. In the building there are leaflets that cover a wide range of topics, also available in other languages, including Ukrainian.

If you think you could benefit from any of the services provided by GOSHH, you can call them at (061) 314 354 or contact them by email at [email protected]

Are you looking to get involved with GOSHH? At the moment, the center is calling on volunteers, especially for the tests. The center will train volunteers who will put themselves forward. If you are interested, you can click here:

If you want to find out more about the amazing charities that support gay people in Ireland, click here:

© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

GCN support

GCN has been a free essential information service for the Irish LGBTQ+ community since 1988.

During this global COVID pandemic, we, like many other organizations, have been greatly impacted in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary hiatus from our print publication and live events. So now more than ever we need your help to continue to provide this community resource in digital form.

GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from from €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free and independent LGBTQ+ media.

Michelle J. Kelley