Stefano, Dave, Katie, Marlon, Peter and Lisa

Welcome, dear reader, to our January 2021 issue! It’s hard to believe it, but we got through that turbulent year which seemed to both last forever and, to use the word du jour, zoom by. We’re delighted to be able to continue the physical edition of the magazine and plan to do so long after this pandemic ends.

So what do we have in store for you this month? Trust us, it’s a good one!

Firstly, we’ll round up some of the biggest events for the LGBTQ+ community (and yours truly) in 2020. It’s been a rollercoaster, but there’s been some amazingly positive gains for us all that are worth remembering.

Hannah Tiernan has an excellent piece looking at public spaces which had double lives as meeting and cruising spaces for queer men. It’s a terrific read that’s at the same time eye opening, heartfelt and oddly nostalgic.

A darker period in time that it seems many in power would prefer be swept under the carpet, are the national shame that were the Mother and Baby Homes. Oisin Kenny has created a piece that pulsates with righteous rage as survivors and advocates speak of the blanket of silence that needs to be torn away.

Oisin authored a second vital feature speaking to the amazing folk behind an international research project which aims to advocate for meaningful changes in policy and practice to support the intersex community. We wish them every success.

One of our personal favourite things to come out of 2020 is our Queer Utopia series. Aiming to create positivity and manifest brighter tomorrows in the midst of global worry, we were delighted to connect and platform dreamers, planners, creators, thinkers and activists and challenge them to imagine an ideal LGBTQ+ future. This month we have a tsunami of beauty, as illustrator Neave Alouf teams up with activist Ollie Bell to create a stirring poem accompanied by gorgeous imagery, activist and writer Stephen Moloney pens an essay which dares to dream about utopian possibilities becoming reality, and Babs Daly captures a white-hot series of portraits featuring John Mangru - one of which you’ll have already seen as it graces our knockout cover. It’s an embarrassment of riches, to be fair.

Keeping the artistic theme going, Chris Rooke dives into the delightfully anarchic world of Irish queer zines, highlighting some of the handcrafting creators.

There’s no community like our community when we come together in support of each other - as evidenced by Brendan Kelly Palenque’s continuing interview series with the fine folk behind the MPOWER sexual health programme. This month he highlights the exceptional volunteers who make it all happen.

Speaking of sexual health, the GHN (Gay Health Network) share further informative, necessary and insightful findings from the EMIS Ireland Community Report, containing essential statistics on the sexual health of our community. You can also expect a host of updates and opinions from our LGBTQ+ family and organisations, keeping us all connected, entertained and informed.

Finally, we’d like to close by wishing you all a healthy, happy and hopeful New Year. As evidenced by our community history, when we work together, for each other, with each other, we can achieve so much. Here’s to all of our community. We are family. Happy 2021.

This article appears in the 366 Issue of GCN

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This article appears in the 366 Issue of GCN