Tag Archives: Panti

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Panti Bliss made a guest appearance and performed a ‘Noble Call’ after the final performance of James Plunkett’s The Risen People in Dublin’s Abbey Theatre tonight.

Hello. My name is Panti and for the benefit of the visually impaired or the incredibly naïve, I am a drag queen, a performer, and an accidental and occasional gay rights activist.

And as you may have already gathered, I am also painfully middle-class. My father was a country vet, I went to a nice school, and afterwards to that most middle-class of institutions – art college. And although this may surprise some of you, I have always managed to find gainful employment in my chosen field – gender discombobulation.

So the grinding, abject poverty so powerfully displayed in tonight’s performance is something I can thankfully say I have no experience of.

But oppression is something I can relate to. Oh, I’m not comparing my experience to Dublin workers of 1913, but I do know what it feels like to be put in your place.

Have you ever been standing at a pedestrian crossing when a car drives by and in it are a bunch of lads, and they lean out the window and they shout “Fag!” and throw a milk carton at you?

Now it doesn’t really hurt. It’s just a wet carton and anyway they’re right – I am a fag. But it feels oppressive.

When it really does hurt, is afterwards. Afterwards I wonder and worry and obsess over what was it about me, what was it they saw in me? What was it that gave me away? And I hate myself for wondering that. It feels oppressive and the next time I’m at a pedestrian crossing I check myself to see what is it about me that “gives the gay away” and I check myself to make sure I’m not doing it this time.

Have any of you ever come home in the evening and turned on the television and there is a panel of people – nice people, respectable people, smart people, the kind of people who make good neighbourly neighbours and write for newspapers. And they are having a reasoned debate about you. About what kind of a person you are, about whether you are capable of being a good parent, about whether you want to destroy marriage, about whether you are safe around children, about whether God herself thinks you are an abomination, about whether in fact you are “intrinsically disordered”. And even the nice TV presenter lady who you feel like you know thinks it’s perfectly ok that they are all having this reasonable debate about who you are and what rights you “deserve”.

And that feels oppressive.

Have you ever been on a crowded train with your gay friend and a small part of you is cringing because he is being SO gay and you find yourself trying to compensate by butching up or nudging the conversation onto “straighter” territory? This is you who have spent 35 years trying to be the best gay possible and yet still a small part of you is embarrassed by his gayness.

And I hate myself for that. And that feels oppressive. And when I’m standing at the pedestrian lights I am checking myself.

Have you ever gone into your favourite neighbourhood café with the paper that you buy every day, and you open it up and inside is a 500-word opinion written by a nice middle-class woman, the kind of woman who probably gives to charity, the kind of woman that you would be happy to leave your children with. And she is arguing so reasonably about whether you should be treated less than everybody else, arguing that you should be given fewer rights than everybody else. And when the woman at the next table gets up and excuses herself to squeeze by you with a smile you wonder, “Does she think that about me too?”

And that feels oppressive. And you go outside and you stand at the pedestrian crossing and you check yourself and I hate myself for that.

Have you ever turned on the computer and seen videos of people just like you in far away countries, and countries not far away at all, being beaten and imprisoned and tortured and murdered because they are just like you?

And that feels oppressive.

Three weeks ago I was on the television and I said that I believed that people who actively campaign for gay people to be treated less or differently are, in my gay opinion, homophobic. Some people, people who actively campaign for gay people to be treated less under the law took great exception at this characterisation and threatened legal action against me and RTÉ. RTÉ, in its wisdom, decided incredibly quickly to hand over a huge sum of money to make it go away. I haven’t been so lucky.

And for the last three weeks I have been lectured by heterosexual people about what homophobia is and who should be allowed identify it. Straight people – ministers, senators, lawyers, journalists – have lined up to tell me what homophobia is and what I am allowed to feel oppressed by. People who have never experienced homophobia in their lives, people who have never checked themselves at a pedestrian crossing, have told me that unless I am being thrown in prison or herded onto a cattle train, then it is not homophobia.

And that feels oppressive.

So now Irish gay people find ourselves in a ludicrous situation where not only are we not allowed to say publicly what we feel oppressed by, we are not even allowed to think it because our definition has been disallowed by our betters.

And for the last three weeks I have been denounced from the floor of parliament to newspaper columns to the seething morass of internet commentary for “hate speech” because I dared to use the word “homophobia”. And a jumped-up queer like me should know that the word “homophobia” is no longer available to gay people. Which is a spectacular and neat Orwellian trick because now it turns out that gay people are not the victims of homophobia – homophobes are.

But I want to say that it is not true. I don’t hate you.

I do, it is true, believe that almost all of you are probably homophobes. But I’m a homophobe. It would be incredible if we weren’t. To grow up in a society that is overwhelmingly homophobic and to escape unscathed would be miraculous. So I don’t hate you because you are homophobic. I actually admire you. I admire you because most of you are only a bit homophobic. Which all things considered is pretty good going.

But I do sometimes hate myself. I hate myself because I fucking check myself while standing at pedestrian crossings. And sometimes I hate you for doing that to me.

But not right now. Right now, I like you all very much for giving me a few moments of your time. And I thank you for it.

Noble Call?

Thanks Conor

Transcipt via Cormac Flynn

PantiprotestGet her.

On Sunday the 2nd of February LGBT Noise will host an event for the LGBT community and supporters to respond to the recent controversy over comments made by LGBT rights advocate, Rory O’Neill, on the RTE’s Saturday Night Show on January 11th. 

The protest will take place at 2pm on South King Street, Dublin outside the Gaiety Theatre

Thanks Buzz

MacGill Summer Schools 2011

[Noel Whelan at the MacGill Summer School in Donegal, 2011]

The suggestion that anyone who disagrees with full equality for gays and lesbians is homophobic is surely a misuse of the word.

An overwhelming majority of our parents’ and our grandparents’ generation opposed equal rights for gays and lesbians; indeed most of them supported the continued criminalisation of homosexuality.
To many of us today that seems irrational on their part, but which of us would brand our parents or grandparents as a shower of homophobes?

Calling opponents homophobes may bring some level of satisfaction to those who do it and may attract cheers of applause in their own circles and on microblogs in the liberal realm, but it does nothing to advance the cause of debate.

It is also counterproductive in the effort to engage and persuade the mass of the moderate Irish electorate to support and vote for marriage equality.

Fianna Fail adviser and political analyst Noel Whelan in Saturday’s Irish Times.

 

Meanwhile…

Readiness to hurl the word ‘homophobe’ may not help the liberal reform agenda (Noel Whelan, Irish Times)

Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

5/4/2013. The Four Courts

 

Previously: Panti’s Back On

rory1

Panti Bliss aka Rory O’Neill (above) appeared on RTÉ One’s ‘Saturday Night Show’ and talked to Brendan O’Connor about his life.

On Sunday, our Lars Biscuits posted a short clip from the interview and an accompanying transcript.

Last night, RTE asked us to remove the video of the interview as “concerns have been raised about its content”. [We have asked who raised the concerns and are awaiting a reply from the station].

They further cautioned: “You are hereby put on notice that the publication and continued publication of this interview and any transcripts thereof may be defamatory.”

So we totally freaked out and removed the post.

We are unable to embed the video for copyright reasons but have reposted the transcript (below) as we believe the question of what is a homophobe is one of opinion, the subject is one of public interest, the opinion is based on facts stated or known (e.g. Breda,/John/Iona’s opposition to gay marriage) and it appears to be honestly held.

Therefore (until we hear otherwise)…

Rory O’Neill: “…but of course I’ve met people who have just absolutely had awful, terrible experiences coming out to their families and..”

Brendan O’Connor: “And but a lot has changed hasn’t it since then like?”

RO’N: “So much has changed. And I think em a small country like Ireland sometimes we get a bad rap because people think “oh small conservative country blah blah blah”. But actually I think a small country like Ireland changes much faster than a big country because absolutely…I’m..think about it every single person in this audience has a cousin or a neighbour or the guy that you work with who is a flaming queen. I mean you all know one. And it’s very hard to hold prejudices against people when you actually know those people. And Ireland because it’s such small communities grouped together, everybody knows the local gay and you know maybe twenty years ago it was okay to be really mean about him but nowadays it’s just not okay to be really mean about him. The only place that you see it’s okay to be really horrible and mean about gays is you know on the internet in the comments and you know people who make a living writing opinion pieces for newspapers. You know there’s a couple of them that really cheese..”

BO’C: “Who are they?”

RO’N: “Oh well the obvious ones. You know Breda O’Brien [Irish Times Columnist] today, oh my God you know banging on about gay priests and all. The usual suspects, the John Waters and all of those people, the Iona Institute crowd. I mean I just..you know just…Feck Off! Get the hell out of my life. Get out of my life. I mean..[applause from audience] why…it astounds me…astounds me that there are people out there in the world who devote quite a large amount of their time and energies to trying to stop people you know, achieving happiness because that is what the people like the Iona Institute are at.”

BO’C: “I don’t know. I don’t know. I know one of the people that you mentioned there which is John Waters. I wouldn’t have thought that John Waters is homophobic?”

RO’N: “Oh listen, the problem is with the word ‘homophobic’, people imagine that if you say “Oh he’s a homophobe” that he’s a horrible monster who goes around beating up gays you know that’s not the way it is. Homophobia can be very subtle. I mean it’s like the way you know racism is very subtle. I would say that every single person in the world is racist to some extent because that’s how we order the world in our minds. We group people. You know it’s just how our minds work so that’s okay but you need to be aware of your tendency towards racism and work against it. And I don’t mind, I don’t care how you dress it up if you are arguing for whatever good reasons or you know whatever your impulses…”

BO’C: “Because it is what you believe, it’s your faith or that, yeah?”

RO’N: “…it could be good impulses..and you might believe that these impulses are good because you’re worried about society as a whole and all this rubbish. What it boils down to is if you’re going to argue that gay people need to be treated in any way differently than everybody else or should be in anyway less, or their relationships should be in anyway less then I’m sorry, yes you are a homophobe and the good thing to do is to sit, step back, recognise that you have some homophobic tendencies and work on that. You know stop spending so much of your life you know devoting energies to writing things, arguing things, coming on TV to do anything to try and stop people achieving what they think they need for happiness.”

We offer a right of reply to anyone mentioned.

Previously: Panti At The Abbi

Fauxdelma Healy Eames

Also: Ignorance is Not Panti Bliss (Matthew Mulligan, Trinity News)