This month, dear reader, we are proud to welcome you to a very special edition of GCN celebrating all things GALAS. On Saturday, February 8 in the Mansion House in Dublin, the ninth GALAS awards celebrated the outstanding contributions of people nationally and internationally to the LGBT+ community. The GALAS were established in 2009 by the NXF and GCN to honour those who work towards a better future for LGBT+ people both in Ireland and across the globe.
Co-hosting with style and aplomb were the living legend that is Anne Doyle, former RTÉ broadcaster and journalist and the utterly fabulous James Kavanagh, writer, presenter and social media influencer.
No less than 17 awards (two of which were decided by public vote) were announced and presented to organisations and individuals for their contributions in areas such as arts, media, culture, health, social inclusion, sport, politics, advocacy and public life. Such was the impressive array of shortlisted nominees and recipients that we felt it was only right to give over the entire issue and our cover to celebrating the tireless work being done in our communities. We are very proud to collaborate on the GALAS with the NXF and take the opportunity to honour those in our communities leading the charge and making things better for us all. In these pages, you’ll learn all about the fabulous shortlisted folks and get to see some of the glamourous looks from the night. In order to get all the fabulous GALAS awards recipients and shortlisted nominees into this edition we’ve removed our community listings for one issue only. Fear not, they will be back in situ next month.
This year’s GALAS event also marked the celebration of the 40th birthday of the NXF, which was founded in 1979. Previous chairs of the organisation including founder David Norris, Eamon Somers, Tonie Walsh, Ailbhe Smyth, Olivia McEvoy and current chair Caroline Keane were honoured on the night.
Caroline had this to say about the celebrations, “The GALAS saw us gather with friends and allies to celebrate and acknowledge the everyday heroes who are doing amazing work to improve the lives of LGBT+ people in Ireland and internationally. We have gained inspiration and affirmation from the GALAS, and we hope it will energise our community and allies to continue to work towards a fairer society for all marginalised groups. The GALAS was also the culmination of months of preparation by volunteers and supporters, and we appreciate the efforts of everyone involved in making it such a wonderful event”.
Our cover star is Evgeny Shtorn, recipient of the GALAS Person of the Year award, powerfully photographed by Babs Daly. The Kazakhstan born sociologist and LGBT+ activist was forced to leave Russia in 2018 and seek asylum in Ireland. He has been a vocal opponent of Direct Provision, and in particular the treatment of LGBT+ people inside that system. As he passionately pointed out in his acceptance speech (which you can watch in full online at gcn.ie) his hope is that this award and this moment is only just the beginning.
Speaking also of Babs Daly, unless otherwise noted, Babs provided the majority of photos for this issue. Thank you!
In the spirit of the GALAS, GCN congratulates not just the nominees and recipients, but you also, dear readers, for being the everyday heroes who make our community what it is.
THE GCN TEAM