Local tattoo parlour AWOL Tattoos and Piercing are holding a day long tattooing event this month in support of Teach Solais LGBT+ resource centre.
The ‘Big Gay Charity Flash Day’ on May 17 is being organised by AWOL and Dublin based tattoo artist Ciaran O’Brien with all proceeds going to Teach Solais.
Teach Solais is in the midst of a funding crisis that could force it to close its doors by November and deprive the LGBT+ community in the west of Ireland of an important community hub.
Amach! LGBT charity runs the community centre which is used for many essential health and peer services in Galway.
It serves as a hub for activities like the Galway branch of the national LGBT helpline, peer support groups like the GOSSIP transgender group, and many health related events like free HIV testing from AIDS West and meditation or wellness session.
Recent Health Galway funding has allowed the centre to expand on the various health initiatives that run out of Teach Solais for the benefit of the physical and mental health of the LGBT+ community.
A crowdfunding campaign ‘Save Our Teach Solais’ has so far raised over €7,000 out of a goal of €10,000 to try and keep services running, but more help is needed.
Ciaran O’Brien said on Instagram that he began organising this event when looking for an LGBT charity to support and heard about the incredible work that Teach Solais was doing when he last visited AWOL.
He had originally planned on doing something by himself to help break the stigma against HIV positive people getting tattoos, but after hearing his plan and talking about Teach Solais, the team at AWOL were all in.
“Teach Solais LGBT+ Resource Centre is the first of its kind in the west of Ireland, and is a vital safe space for the LGBT+ Community.”
He praised the resource centre as a “great hub of activities, support, education, resources, information and events for the LGBT+ community in Galway city and the west”.
“Teach solais will sadly have to close its doors if they don’t reach their 18k goal. As they receive NO GOVERNMENT FUNDING !!! Leaving many many people who rely on its services with nowhere to go!”
People can come to AWOL Tattoos in Newtownsmith on May 17 and choose from a wide range of tattoo designs for €50 with all proceeds going directly to Teach Solais.
“Teach Solais is very close to our heart here in AWOL, so many of our wonderful customers benefit from their amazing support and we want to do anything that can help them prevent closing their doors,” AWOL Tattoo and Piercing said on Facebook.
“They are a vital resource for the LGBT+ community here in the West so show them your support and come get tattooed on the 17th May”.