Alexis Transition - Alexis Riva
The fantastic recipient in the LGBT+ Digital Changemaker Category was Alexis Riva, for her YouTube channel Alexis’ Trans-ition. Alexis Riva is a transgender woman who, through her YouTube videos, has been documenting her transition for the past five years. She has spoken openly to her followers about each step of the process, sharing everything from the beginning of her HRT journey and monthly estrogen updates, to breast augmentation surgery and frank discussions of taboos within the community. When the award was announced, it was clear she hadn’t expected to win, but her on-the-spot speech prompted wild cheers from the audience. Among others, she thanked TENI, Outcomers in Dundalk, and sent the room into laughter with her characteristic humorous frankness. “I didn’t think would win this - my head is massive already!” She spoke about the educational purpose behind her videos, and her growing desire throughout her life to be unapologetic and queer. “I’m so visible in my queerness now,” she began. Cheers and whistles obscured the final half of her sentence, but the message was clear: she has been a huge help to many young trans people and a constantly inspiring member of the community.
The Big Gay Bucket List
The Big Gay Bucket List is a podcast made by Stephen Hackett and James O’Hagan. Running since August 2018, the podcast has monthly episodes discussing everything from coming out to family holidays and hookups, mental health and the perils of Christmas. Both presenters come from outside Dublin, so there is a nationwide awareness to their conversation as well. Listening to the episodes feels like sitting in the living room with your friends, curled up with a cup of tea: it’s no wonder they have struck a chord with so many listeners. The reviews clearly show that their audience is as varied as it is enthusiastic.
Call It Out Digital Campaign
The Call It Out Campaign involves a comprehensive but accessible list of instructions for what to do if you witness or experience homophobic, biphobic or transphobic behaviour. The digital campaign includes the website, which puts forward the information about reporting crimes, etc, in a straightforward, Q&A-style manner. It also raises awareness about the support services available for LGBT+ people. The campaign was set up after the results of a survey conducted by UL’s Hate and Hostility Research Group, which indicated that just over a fifth of LGBT+ people had experienced violence due to their sexual orientation. It gained grassroots traction among the community on social media, and has been spoken about by activists such as Evgeny Shtorn, who won the GALAS Person of the Year award, Derry Girls actress Nicola Coughlan, and former Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh. Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI), one of the organisers, stated: “We want to send a clear message to the LGBT+ community that homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are not acceptable. We want to tell people; ‘no, you don’t have to stand for it.’”
Cork LGBT Digital Archive – Orla Egan
The Cork LGBT+ Archive was digitised for the first time in late 2019, ensuring that the history preserved in the archive will be available online in the Digital Repository of Ireland. The Archive represents Cork’s rich and varied history of LGBT+ everyday life and activism: it consists of photographs, newspaper articles, event posters, and miscellaneous queer-life paraphernalia. Orla Egan is a Cork based LGBT+ activist, and author of Queer Republic of Cork. She has been working tirelessly on the treasure that is the Archive for several years.