Welcome, dear reader, to, believe it or not - our December issue. It’s been a tough 2020 for all of us, and for a large portion of that year, we had to put pause on the publication of our print edition. So, needless to say, the GCN family are feeling particularly blessed to be able to present this issue of the magazine to you, and to help, in our own way, to keep our community connected. Thank you all so much for the support through this challenging year, it has meant the world to us and your generosity and energy keeps us going.
In this particular issue, it’s obvious to say, lockdown features a bit. Firstly, we share the findings of the essential LGBTI+ Life in Lockdown Survey Report - a joint project between LGBT Ireland, the NXF and GCN highlighting the challenges the community has faced during these strange times. Alongside that, the National LGBT Helpline also celebrates 10 years of providing vital community support -happy birthday, team!
Speaking of birthdays, the birth of a child is always going to be a dramatic time in anyone’s life, but Ranae von Meding speaks to LGBTQ+ families who had the added pressure of welcoming babies into the world in the midst of a pandemic and sees how they fared.
From children to young adults - throughout the month of November, we partnered with BeLonG To Youth Services for the online #GCNNewVoices series, platforming the voices and opinions of young LGBTQ+ writers from across the country. An invaluable part of the series were the illustrations of artist Neave Alouf, who responded to each piece with a bespoke creation. We’re delighted to show a selection of the series in print. You can find the full selections on our site.
We are proud to present the next instalment of our Queer Utopia series featuring a joyous yet confronting collaboration between the glorious creatives Sarah Moloney and Osaro. They played a blinder.
Pradeep Mahadeshwar continues the excellent series he debuted on our website featuring interviews with Asian LGBTQ+ folk who’ve made a home in Ireland, highlighting their experiences, hopes and concerns.
Stephen Moloney explores the creeping rise of the far-right in Ireland in a hard hitting and deeply informative piece, we learn how voices that once shouted in the dark recesses of the internet are feeling empowered to bleed over into real life.
Our cover feature is another collaboration, this time between activist Bulelani Mfaco and photographer Brian Teeling. Brian captured stunning imagery to illustrate Bulelani’s deeply aff ecting story of his arrival in Ireland.
The GHN (Gay Health Network) share part three of the EMIS Ireland Community Report, having previously shared parts one and two. Published for World AIDS Day 2020, it contains essential and informative statistics.
Inside our pages this month are two community call-outs that we’d like you to know about and support. The first of these is an open letter calling for the reopening of the GMHS (Gay Men’s Health Service) as a matter of urgency. The letter has been signed by many LGBTQ+ organisations who “are concerned about the consequences the continued closure will have on sexual health and wellbeing of many in our community, including an increase in the rates of HIV and STIs.” You can add your name to the petition on change.org.
With that in our minds, this year, GCN will once again be collaborating with HIV Ireland and Panti Bliss, the Queen of Ireland herself, to bring you an evening of conversation exploring the impact of COVID-19 on HIV services and supports. The theme for World AIDS Day is Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility so join us on December 1st for this special event and help us raise vital funds for both charities. Keep an eye online for more on that in the coming days.
Finally, our second community call out goes hand-in-hand with a wonderful interview with Éirénne Carroll, the newly appointed CEO of TENI, who shares the organisation’s goal to make life better for trans folk. Éirénne also penned an essential open letter (which also exists as a petition you can add your name to on change.org), signed by community members and organisations, sharing our solidarity with the trans community and our collective reassertion that #IrishSolidariT is vital and that there is no desire on the Island of Ireland for a separatist movement.
We are stronger together.
THE GCN TEAM