The Burning Issue
Ireland’s irst gay leader is making for some heated chatter at GCN Towers…
“I have plenty of frailties and flaws, and I don’t deserve to be a role model.” So said Leo Varadkar when we interviewed him back in 2015, just after he came out over the national airwaves. It was a key moment for the LGBT community, the first Irish minister ever to pin his queer colours to the mast, but has the elevation of the same gay man to the leadership of Fine Gael, and therefore of Ireland, been a similar kind of moment?
We think Una Mullally put it best in her Irish Times piece, when she said it was a “strange victory for many LGBT people”. Waterford Whispers weren’t too wide off the mark either, when they went with “Varadkar makes history by becoming the first ever Irish leader to be openly and unabashedly classist.”
The world press is saying, ‘Isn’t Ireland’s so liberal now, with the marriage referendum and a gay Prime Minister ‘n’ all,’ while the Irish media are crowing to the world, ‘Sure aren’t we great now, altogether,’ but here in the gay press we’re caught between a rock and a hard place – on one hand we’ve the fifth out queer Prime Minister in the world’s history, and on the other we’ve a man who has said things that make our hair stand on end (and some of us have big hair). We’ll see how Varadkar’s leadership plays out, but if our online readership is anything to go by, he’s not the most popular gay in queerville.
Panti and The ‘T’ Word
So, Panti got slapped on the wrist on Facebook recently for using the tranny word, and by one of our columnists no less, who says it’s been used to oppress trans people for so long, it shouldn’t be thrown around as a joke. But Panti, having been criticised for this before, had said from then on she’d only use it when referring to herself, in the grand old tradition of drag queens since the dawn of drag queens.
It might be a bit of a storm in a T-cup, but there’s no denying that until the word is appropriated by the trans community (and it may never be), much like ‘faggot’ was appropriated by faggots, it’s going to be a bone of contention. Truth is, Panti is a champion of trans rights; she deserves the kudos for it, and she clearly doesn’t mean any harm.
It’s different when gay comedians like Al Porter bandy the T word about on national radio, seemingly without a care in the world for the offence it causes. Shouldn’t be allowed.
There were twitters of excitement running through GCN Towers when we learned that Rory O’Neill, aka Panti is to introduce a special screening of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie at the IFI on Tuesday July 27 at 6.30pm. The story of an idealistic, and woefully misguided teacher in an Edinburgh girl’s school, who urges her ‘girls’ to embrace art, sexual love, and, eh, facism, it’s a joy to behold. We took Panti aside to ask why she loves the movie so much, and she drawled: “Because in some ways Jean Brodie is a drag queen. She’s a bright, dramatic, colourful character in a grey, buttoned-down world that’s suspicious of her, and fears her power and her sexuality. And of course she has been my single biggest style influence too! All tailored colourful tweed and jaunty scarves. Essentially, Panti is Jean Brodie - just without the weakness for fascists!”
Fab Film Archive
Sorry Irish Film Institute! In April we were part of the reason for your online Player’s meltdown. You released The Irish Adverts Project, and everyone on the entire island, including us, went immediately gaga for it. Glad you’ve fixed that problem (a new server that can shoulder mega-traffic, goes the story on the street) before releasing your collection of seminal LGBT+ short films, just in time for Pride.
“There is such a wealth of talented filmmakers in Ireland who have made and continue to produce acclaimed films and documentaries on gay issues and themes,” says IFI Player Coordinator Aaron Healy. Films such as Barry Dignam’s Chicken, Conor Clement’s James, and Eoin Maher’s No Strings (pictured), all of which were shown at GAZE in the ’90s, naughties and teens, and which would rarely have seeen the light of day again, have been included, along with campaign films by the talented likes of Anna Rodgers and Zlata Filipovic, made for organisations like TENI and BeLonG To.
Mykki Blanco’s Pride Playlist
We asked our mate Mykki to give us a playlist for the month that’s in it. He took about 30 seconds to conjure this fabulous five up, all of which remind him of “aspects of Pride,” according to his good self.
– ‘Supermodel’ (You Better Work)
“Bring it on, ring the alarm, don’t stop now, just be the champion.”
– ‘She Can’t Love You’
“Oh you ain’t fooling me no. Tell me who’s fooling who, yo.”
3. Christina Aguilera
– What a Girl Wants
“Whatever makes me happy, sets you free, and I’m thanking you for knowing exactly.”
– Come as You Are
“Take your time, hurry up. Choice is yours, don’t be late.”
5. Mykki Blanco
“And, you know, those kind of guys that are super skinny with really fem habits, but are never actually faggots? I know, right.”
Kudos to Daniel Zagórski (pictured), the man behind Ireland’s first ever trans magazine, Trans*Action. The second issue has just been published and amid a hefty bunch of content, it features an exclusive interviews with iconic trans model and star of the reality TV show, Strut, Arisce Wanzer, and trans actor Ash Palmisciano, from Boy Meets Girl.
We’ve a special place in our hearts for Daniel, who appeared on the GCN cover back in 2015, and we love what he’s done with this totally original mag. You can find it at isssu.com/transactionmagazine
“I am proud to support my LGBTQ friends and the LGBTQ Americans who have made immense contributions to our society and economy.”
– Ivanka Trump, the day her daddy-boss cancelled the annual Pride month kick-off at the White House.
Makes No Senses
Just two seasons in, Netflix has gone and cancelled the queerest TV show on the planet, and we’re gutted. While Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said “we should have a higher cancel rate overall” to encourage creativity and risk-taking, another story goes that Sense8 had gone over budget and time constraints, so much so that the actors’ three-year contracts, for one season a year, had expired.
At GCN Towers we’re putting the blame partly on Baz Lurhmann and his terrible musical series, The Get Down, which has been cancelled after one season. One of Netflix’s most expensive productions ever, it swallowed up a lot of dough with little in the way of return. Though Sense8 was no indie production itself, with a single season costing $100 million.
Best case scenario is it’s a publicity stunt, and just like Arrested Development, we’ll see Sense8 once again on Netflix screens. Until then, kudos to the Wackhowski sisters for the amazing work, and adieu Nomi, Amaanita, Lito, and Hernando!
This month sees the release of a brand new, digitally remastered edition of classic queer TV drama The Naked Civil Servant, starring John Hurt, a must for any self-respecting LGBTs collection. Orignally broadcast on British television screens in 1976, the film tells the true-life story of Quentin Crisp (“England’s stately homo”), a dramatic and flamboyant gay man living an openly gay life in London at a time when decriminalisation was decades away. The film, based on Crisp’s bestselling autobiography, follows him through escapades in Belgravia, Chelsea and Soho, in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, as he refuses to be anything other than the fem man he is, despite the trouble it brings his way. Interesting side-note: the song ‘Englishman in New York’ (by Sting) is about Crisp’s time in New York, and it’s also the title sequel in which John Hurt reprised the role 30 years later. Another interesting side-note: during his 41 years living in his Chelsea flat, Crisp never, ever attempted any housework, writing in The Naked Civil Servant: “After the first four years the dirt doesn’t get any worse.”
We’ll be devoting plenty of our next issue to the 25th year of GAZE, Dublin’s International LGBT Film Festival, (running at The Light House from August 3 to 7), but in the meantime we’re here to give you the heads-up on what promises to be a fierce 2017 movie menu. We’re stoked for opening film, The 34th, which charts the rise and fight of Ireland’s Marriage Equality organisation, culminating in victory on May 23 2015.
It’s just one of a host of docs over the five days, including Out Run, the story of transgender woman, Bernz Benedito, leader of the world’s only LGBT political party in the Philippines; Small Talk, in which a young Taiwanese woman goes on an odyssey to learn about her lesbian mother; and Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin, an intimate portrait of the man behind Tales of The City.
Our most awaited lads’ movie is Tom Of Finland, a beautiful-looking biopic about the Finnish artist who influenced what we now know as the gay leather look with his hyper-sexy drawings, while we’re also pretty excited about Alan Cumming’s latest pic, After Louie, an inter-generational love story in which he plays a former AIDS activist struggling with survivor’s guilt.
Another love story to look out for is Canadian flick, Below Her Mouth, which is not only moving, but utterly hot, while American film AWOL gets all gritty as it explores a relationship between two women in rural Pensylvania, and British thriller The Dark Mile tests love between to women to its absolute limits, in the wild.
There’s a plethora of great shorts programmes, retrospective and secret screenings and panels exploring hot topics, all over five days that culminate with Irish premiere of one of the most talked-about LGBT films of the year, the must-see In God’s Own Country. Watch this space for more!
MADE 'N' SHADE
Ru Paul’s Broad City
Drag Race fans, sashay this way! RuPaul is set to hit the Big Apple with a guest cameo in the riotous Broad City. A very excited Ilana Glazer told Entertainment Weekly: “He’s just so delicious. He’s like, godlike, I’m not even kidding.”
An eight year-old drag queen, we kid you not, who took the stage at the Werk the World Tour in Montreal, and gave Bianca Del Rio shade. And her mom was in the audience! Bless.
The just re-elected Malta Prime Minister will introduce a marriage equality law in the predominantly Catholic country once Parliament resumes. The Church ain’t pleased.
“I’d come out of the closet if I was gay,” French football cutie, Antoine Griezmann tells the press. Easier said than done, if you actually are gay, Antoine.
The Mamma Mia! Sequel
Ah, here. Meryl better not sign up, or we’ll never speak to her again.
Kathy Griffin killed her career by posing for a photo, holding Trump’s severed head.
“The fact that we don’t hold our male politicians to the same standard as female comedians is shocking,” said Sharon Needles, recreating the photograph on stage.