Welcome, dear reader, to our February issue of GCN, as we step bravely and positively into this new and exciting year. While the decade may have changed, our priorities – to support, highlight and celebrate our wonderful community in every way we can- have not. To plan properly for the future, we must reflect on the past as well as taking stock of where we are today. With that in mind, we decided on a theme of Past, Present and Future, so in the following pages we take a look at the milestones the community has achieved and, more importantly, at all the issues which still seriously affect our community.
Our beautiful cover image this month has been provided by The Stairling Collective as part of the upcoming Every Woman exhibition which will soon open in Collins Barracks. Featuring portraits of trans woman and non-binary femmeidentifying folk, it’s part of the Herstory Project uncovering fascinating women’s stories from history, mythology and contemporary culture.
We hear from Equality For Children founder Ranae von Meding who shares the frustrations and the fear of being an LGBT+ parent still left out in the cold while trying to get equal rights for her children.
It’s also shocking to realise that in terms of trans healthcare, Ireland still forces its trans citizens to travel abroad to access essential surgeries not available in this country. Noah Halpin, the founder of This Is Me -Transgender Healthcare Campaign speaks about the appalling situation and demands better.
Evgeny Shtorn illuminates the national shame that is the Direct Provision system from the unfortunate perspective of having endured the callous process. Evgeny discusses the long term effects such a traumatic system will have not only on those seeking asylum but on the country itself.
The fact that despite continued homophobic attacks and reports of racism, we still do not have hate crime legislation in Ireland is ridiculous. Dr Patrick McDonagh takes a look at the context for its omission and the legislations journey so far in Ireland while also urging the Government to fulfil the 1916 Proclamation promising to cherish its children equally.
Oisin Kenny looks at a topic which is unfortunately still a source of stigma for many – mental health. The LGBT Ireland report in 2016 stated that a startling 70 percent of young people had suicidal thoughts, while one in three had attempted suicide. With statistics like that, there’s no way this can’t be at the forefront of every LGBT+ support group’s agenda.
Fittingly in an issue dealing with looking at the present through the lens of the past, artist Louise Walsh speaks about revisiting and revitalising a work originally created during the darker days before decriminalisation, and how both the work and society as a whole have transformed in the meantime.
In an art form which is very much regarded as futureforward, Chris Rooke discovers the independent comics and graphic novel scene is flourishing as a source of queer representation both inside and outside the panels.
With a general election just around the corner, Jade Wilson reflects on our political systems and parties and the current state of play on the biggest issues facing our communities. We hope it will help arm you with questions for candidates calling to your door and inform you before you cast your vote on February 8. With this in mind, GCN has teamed up with BeLonG To Youth Services for a very special collaborative digital campaign called #VotewithPride calling on candidates to outline why we should vote for them, and how they will improve safety, equality and inclusion for LGBT+ people.
On Feb 4, at 7pm, BeLonG To and GCN will host the #VoteWithPride Hustings. We are inviting candidates from all political parties to join us and answer questions about what matters to us as a community.
You can join the conversation online by tuning into the GCN Facebook page, we’ll broadcast the conversation live so you can interact with the politicians in real-time. We’ll be relaying your comments and questions. We’re also planning to have questions from the community prepared beforehand. You can send your questions in advance by emailing us at email@example.com and then on the night with the #VoteWithPride hashtag on Facebook and Twitter.
Our community can be proud to have affected such profound societal change in the past four decades (and more). We have achieved these changes with the power of solidarity and togetherness. Our strength lies in our intersections and our support for all parts of our diverse LGBT+ community. We are at our strongest together.
Please use your vote on February 8.