Tag Archives: Gay Pride

Outside the GPO, O’Connell Street, Dublin 1 last Monday

‘Robert’ writes:

It’s a June 2020 I don’t think anyone really envisaged.

For me; single, living in a shared apartment in Dublin with no balcony; with a housemate (who has opposing views and tastes in most of the conversational things in life) celibate, I’ve been adhering to the guidelines and socially responsible for more weeks than I care to count at this point.

It’s a struggle to define the level of loneliness, with all family either on the opposite side of the country or abroad.

I feel strongly that there are many like me and including this may help someone know they’re not alone right now. It may even help to read this lengthy rant I felt the compulsion to write.

We all need to take breaks from social media. It is, however, very hard not to have your attention and heart gripped with what is happening on the other side of the ocean. And many will condemn the protesters for actions which contravened Covid-19 protocols here in Dublin.

However, I have witnessed many house parties in the city centre and, in my observed opinion, most non-adherence to guidelines is happening behind closed doors.

Given the mental health implications of staying at home, I won’t condemn someone who broke guidelines because they could simply no longer go on without human contact and, in doing so, perhaps saved their life.

This is a Pride month like no other and I think it’s very important to establish that if you are not willing to take the time to understand what brought people to the American Embassy – the embassy of a country to which modern Ireland has very deep strong ties – then you probably need to. You also need to learn that no amount of tweets, videos or digital alternatives is a substitute for protest.

Many people (including gay people before they come to terms with it and come out) associate Pride with parades and an extra level of nudity and colourful displays of expression.

But it’s there to remind us of the riot which founded the modern-day movement and to remind everyone that, though oppressors forced most of us to live in a place of hiding, a tipping point was reached.

After lifetimes of oppression, forced double lives, social invisibility, condemnation, murder and disregard as lesser human beings… It was the consistent pressure of an American police force on the only safe space LGBT+ people had left, that ignited the movement that gave me the freedom to be who I am today openly.

One of the people who started to push back was a black trans woman. If she and those around her stood silent and continued to let someone stand on their necks, the foot would have succeeded in complicit silence.

Just over five years ago, Panti Bliss eloquently gave us in Ireland the language to express how we felt. Generations of Irish LGBT+ people had been unable to break Ireland’s complicit silence because we simply didn’t know how, and we certainly didn’t feel, that we could express what it was like.

There is an understanding that a white gay man will never fully understand the experiences of black or people of all colour. To infer that I, or as white gay men, do is wrong. There are, however, far too many similarities in the shared experiences for us not to look at and the chance that they present to increase the strength of the equality movement internationally.

The hope that inclusion for all of humanity to realise the strength of numbers in a shared agenda for unrestricted access to equality, regardless of colour, sexuality, creed or gender, is within the scope of possibilities if we act up and answer the pleas of those fighting to be in a society that promises fair freedom to all citizens.

Mankind has entered an era of sufficient education en masse to recognise each individual’s own worth – the product of generations’ past battles – to better humanity. Here we are.

Like so many, but not all, gay men, I was always afforded the ability to hide from my oppressor. To deepen my voice, check how I walked, check what I wore and check how I held a cigarette helped me evade getting called out, ostracised and beaten (physically or emotionally).

Living the double life I can only postulate has so much to do with the increased levels of mental illnesses which studies show LGBT+ people are more likely to encounter in life.

I’ll never know a life where that ability to hide was not afforded to me, until I was ready to relinquish it. We campaigned door to door with our stories over five years ago as Ireland said “sure come on up here ’till I get a look at ya and see if you’re alright”. We bared our souls publicly and we put ourselves on display, to be examined, nationally.

And yet, even though we won, we had still gone face-to-face, door-to-door and toe-to-toe with our oppressors – the ones we lived in fear of for years.

We knocked on doors waiting in anticipation of an opinion on ourselves – to have a fundamental part of our existence open to opinion and debate, scheduled and systemic, in quick succession, just asking to be considered equal.

Irish LGBT+ people chose this route out of respect and love for the Constitution and the sacrifices that founded this State born from our ancestors’ oppression. We also inherited a situation that – in order for a harmonious respect and inherent love of both identities – there simply was no choice but to start asking.

Seeing black and people of colour hug tearfully outside the US Embassy in Dublin at the weekend, crying out for help and for support, on the first day of Pride month 2020, I suddenly saw myself back in an Ireland before we, as a majority, said Yes.

I remembered how many straight people understood they could never understand, who listened, and said Yes. Having had five years to digest being equal – at home at least – and to look back, I’ve realised that it would be contrary to my fought-for equality and freedom to exist without prejudice while simultaneously denying the same to another anywhere. And silence would be denial.

There stands a hope for two movements to unite in securing their common basic human right to simply be without prejudice. In Ireland five years ago, we underwent the social revolution that allowed us to share and listen, to open ourselves to empathy and, where possible, sympathy. Many people learned that we are not ok with silent suffering.

A hope now exists for what can be achieved as a collection of movements to recognise the common goal, acknowledge that racism within LGBT+ people is an isomer of homophobia in black culture. Humanity’s future – if it is to progress – depends on recognising and respecting that which binds us.

So by all means cast judgement. Tell stories of how racism doesn’t exist in Ireland; that this is just America’s problem; tell me Pride finished its job in 2015; tell me not to feel bothered by “LGBT+ Free Zones” in Poland, after all…it’s over there. Hitler was over there too but he spread just like a virus.

It is impossible to gauge the power and impact of a movement, it is impossible to gauge how many LGBT+ lives were saved by Pride, not just from death but intrinsic self-loathing.

I was born into a world where people said gays were a virus and HIV was the cure, where people like me were blatantly let die, where my own country considered me illegal by nature.

Today, while in Ireland, we enjoy hard-earned freedoms, only to be reminded that things are very different elsewhere as freedoms to just be are revoked in favour of the facist flavour.

Pride gave me space to live. I relinquish freedoms and bear extra responsibilities daily nowadays to save lives. I will not simultaneously condemn those who must protest now to save theirs and those just like them.

Even if the lives saved are because the people protesting felt the combined energy of human good to put an end to suffering by wedging the door of conversation open, helping to ensure ignorance and silent approval is not allowed to take hold here in Ireland. Is that not worth it?

If you feel like you’ve made all the effort against Covid and the people who attended this protest have no respect for your effort, think hard.

And please, listen to the reasons that drove people to protest. If they don’t sound familiar, be thankful. All lives do not matter unless #blacklivesmatter.

Rollingnews

Monday: Meanwhile, In Dublin

 

Last year’s Dublin Pride parade

This morning.

“We feel the scale of one of the largest events in the country would place unnecessary pressure on essential frontline services and resources that will have been at full stretch for many months.”

Dublin LGBTQ Pride parade organisers

Dublin’s Pride parade cancelled over virus (RTÉ)

Rollingnews

South Great George’s Street, Dublin 2 this afternoon

‘Anon’ writes:

I gave up social media because Madonna told me to. Yes. I gave up social media because I saw either a video or read a message of Madonna talking about the toxicity of Instagram.

To be quite honest, I don’t remember which format and that, ladies and gentlemen, is the vagueness of the attention span one has when you have a hand-held screen which bombards you with information at a pace far faster than the human brain has had the ability to adapt to.

Now, it must be said that as I write this it is only day three but I feel liberated.

I’m a 30 year-old, below average fitness-level gay working in a fairly high-stress environment and living in Dublin.

I dropped out of University in my final year and stumbled through the recession in a low level, low income job, making no real progress with my life but committed myself to this job out of feeling worth nothing more for myself.

I had failed but I’m from a long lineage of people who are quite frankly very hard on themselves.

It took a failed long term relationship for which i had poured all my energy into (and I’m going to come back to this energy because it’s something I’d like to discuss) for me to realise that I had completely lost myself.

I was a closeted gay in a county, staunchly Catholic, secondary school. I took a hell of a lot of abuse in my years listening to all the homophobic shit: “gay” was the derogatory term of choice.

I’ll always remember the only time I heard someone defend gays and I’ll forever love her for it. It was upstairs between the chemistry and biology lab and I remember it like it was yesterday.

I’ll also – even though we fell out irreparably in later years – will remember the girl who stood up for me on the bus. Big shout out to Squishy.

I don’t actually harbour resentment for the homophobic bullying. I was harbouring guilt and shame and taking an emotional beating upon myself.

Nobody knew me because I was affording nobody myself, including myself. I was something to be kept hidden, even from myself.

Coming out a month before the Leaving Cert to my parents and a select few so, they could deal with it “whlie I had to study” was one of my smartest choices in life. Which is also one of the only real things I have ever done for myself.

One thing has been with me throughout all the years. Social Media.

Continue reading

2001

In October 2001, the GAA threatened legal action with the makers of GI (Gay Ireland) accusing the magazine of ‘bringing the association into disrepute’ over the use of county jerseys [Kerry, Dublin, Cork, Galway, Kilkenny and Mayo] in chap-on-chap billboard snogs.

18 years later…

2019

The GAA licences official Gay Pride county jerseys.

Good times.

Hon Mayo.

GAA’s involvement in Dublin Pride ‘isn’t just a token gesture’ (Sky News)

However

MASI

Yesterday: “I Have No Objection Of Members Of The Gardai Taking Part in A Personal Capacity”

Meanwhile..

Oh.

Gardai at last year’s Dublin Gay Pride and in 2017 (middle pic)

“When I’m taking part in Dublin Pride these days, I feel like I’m Dr Frankenstein chasing his monster, said Izzy O Rourke [one of three people who began the current run of Dublin Pride in 1992].

“I’m not saying anyone shouldn’t go to Dublin Pride, I understand why people go, but today’s celebration has become a cheap opportunity for businesses to promote themselves, and for state bodies to give an appearance of inclusivity without having to do anything very substantial.

“There’s a chequered history between the Garda and Dublin Pride. For years I was liaison with the Garda, and the truth is we weren’t treated very respectfully, we never got the policing we asked for and we were not protected.”

“I have no objection of members of the Gardai taking part in a personal capacity, but we’ve forgotten what Pride is supposed to be about. It’s about resistance and solidarity, the fact that we will defend each other in good times and bad. That’s what it commemorates, and there’s a recalibration needed.”

Anyone?

‘Cops marching in Pride is not a sign of progress’ – Founding member of Dublin Pride backs alternative event (Breakingnews)

Rollingnews

Meanwhile…

Saturday.

Further scenes and people from the sun-soaked Gay Pride Parade through Dublin south city centre by James Chimney (more at link below).

Gay pride 2018 (James Chimney)

Meanwhile…

There’s always one.

Earlier: Changing of The Guard

Saturday: Pride In Appearance

Meanwhile…

Mmf.

A brick duct (top) taped with the Irish words for ‘Fairies Out Of Ireland’ thrown through the window of Panti Bar (above), Capel Street, Dublin 1 run by Miss Panti

Fluffy Biscuits writes:

Pride takes place in Dublin this weekend where the LGBT and their allies will descend in Dublin en masse to shake nipple tassels and dance to great cheesy house music but there is a bigger point here.

There is a massive gulf in my opinion of ten years ago and to now. Ten years ago I was never fully comfortable in myself

I was 25 and Pride made me feel insecure. Upon reflection it was an affront to my masculinity, to my sense of self identity. What worried me most was that it was going to reinforce stereotypes that are so prevalent but it was not these people who were reinforcing the stereotypes it was society themselves and this shone a light on my own prejudices.

Pride does conjure up an image of pissed twinks in hot pants downing naggins of Huzzar (indeed I see that myself ) yet these people know they are safe in the knowledge that society is not going to harm them for enjoying life in a way that is not afforded to our LGBT brethern in Russia, China or parts of Africa or the Middle East where consensual sex with a same sex partner carries a death penalty.

Gay pride had its origins in the oppression of LGBT people by establishment forces which culminated in Stonewall on June 28 in 1969 in Greenwich village in New York. Police harassed drag queens and gay men and lined them up against a wall.

Standing up for people of the future, they fought back. Over the next week riots erupted and fights with police. Adopting tactics of other groups at the time like the Black Panthers, the LGBT community laid a keystone for future fights.

Back to 2018. Five minutes before I sit down to write this I see the news that someone put the window in on Panti Bar with the words “Fairies out of Ireland” written in Irish.

My mind harks back to the article during the week of the gay couple beaten up in Portlaoise for being gay. Lest we forget Declan Flynn, murdered for being gay in September 1982 for being gay.

Nine years ago I was kissing a guy outside The George as I was on a date. Walking past a group of lads began to film me and labelled us as “freaks”.

I didn’t take too kindly to the comments and the poor lad suffered the indignity of having a six foot two guy with a shaved head and beer belly round on him to the point that he fell to the ground.

Pride is not without its issues. Nothing is perfect ever in this short existence we live. Pride personally for me is not something I am into as I am quite happy about how I am and I reach out on a personal level to people not out. (The crowds tend to wreck my head as well, but that’s the same for Paddys Day too, I cant be arsed!).

The second issue is the commercialisation of the Pride parade. There are employers on that list of sponsors who I know treat their employees like shit, would they be as quick to engage with a union as they would with employees about gay pride?

However you enjoy Pride. Have a safe one. Big old me will be at the bear night tomorrow seeking out other big chubby hairy men to cuddle up to!

Top pic via Panti Bliss

Panti Bar pic by Ultan Mashup

Earlier: Growing Up Proud

Pride (in The Name Of  Chat)

Yesterday evening.

Dublin Castle, Dublin  2

A celebration to mark the 25th Anniversary of Decriminalisation of Homosexuality featuring Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar playing with the Dublin Ukuleje Collective.

Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews