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Welcome, dear reader, to the very special Pride edition of GCN! It’s a great honour and privilege to be able to publish this edition of our magazine in advance of our first in-person Pride festivals, gatherings and parades in two long years!
While we all tried to hold strong during a global pandemic, our community has not been able to meet and celebrate in the ways we would have pre-COVID-19.
As a community we’re all to used to weathering the frequent storms of a racist, homophobic, transphobic and generally challenging world but it’s fair to say this year in the wake of the Sligo murders, the spike in violent homophobia and the worrying increase in transphobia in Ireland, that this upcoming Pride season is more vital and politically charged than ever.
As LGBTQ+ folks, we understand the power and importance of visibility as a tool to combat the hate, ignorance and fear that fuels homophobia, transphobia and racism. In GCN, we take that as a key part of our jobs - to represent, reflect and amplify our LGBTQ+ community and to express, defiantly and proudly, our existence and our communities lived experience despite the challenges.
For this special issue, we wanted to focus as much as possible on all the amazing people in our big queer family and all the awe inspiring work being done, while at the same time, not shying away from the serious issues we still face.
So, what’s in store for this most Proud edition?
Let’s start with our fabulous cover and accompanying fashion shoot shot by the talented Hazel Coonagh! PJ Kirby and Kev Twomey are two Irish mammy’s boys from Cork who co-host the chart-topping podcast, I’m Grand Mam. The lads are to be praised for putting a smile on people’s faces, curing ex-pats of their homesickness and helping LGBTQ+ people celebrate their queerness. We were delighted to collaborate with them on the stunning fashion shoot featuring the best and brightest Irish designers and talk to them about the importance of visibility, pride of self and queer joy.
Elsewhere in the issue, we have a visual feast for you all in the shape of Niamh Barry’s powerful photobook No Queer Apologies. At the core of the project is the idea that there is an infinite set of ‘possibilities’ in relation to queer expression, looks, feelings, experiences and definitions.
There is a really broad and diverse range of excellent journalism in this issue from recurring contributors and first timers alike covering topics such as homophobia in sport, societal transphobia, lesbian intersectionality, Disabled Joy, Queer Asian Pride, the history of the Trade Union movement, dating and difference and the question of who gets to tell queer stories, to name just a few.
Interviews in the issue include a meeting with the new CEO of Outhouse, Oisin Reilly, we talk to choreographer Phillip Connaughton and writer/director Philip McMahon, the creative team behind the exciting new show Party Scene, long-time LGBTQ+ ally John Keelan shares all you need to know on the new community gathering spot All My Friends, and finally, there is a not-to-be-missed conversation with Evan Somers who was the victim of a homophobic physical assault on Dame Street in Dublin.
We’re very happy to finally have our fabulous Community Directory back in print. If you are a community organisation, service or group and don’t see yourself listed there, please do let us know and we’ll gladly update!
We really hope you all enjoy this issue of GCN and take as much pleasure in it as the team here at GCN do in putting it together for you all.
We also know this Pride will be overwhelming for many of us after the last two years, so we hope that you have a wonderful, safe and supported season, no matter how you choose to celebrate (or not).
Pride is still a protest and we know we still have so much work to do for the most marginalised parts of our community. The GCN team is proud to commit to continuing the work we do everyday to educate, entertain and inform our community and also to represent and reflect the reality of our queer lives to ourselves and wider society.
Thank you to all of you who have supported us in doing that work across the past three decades. The fact that a small independent queer press like GCN has survived in Ireland since 1988 is a true testament to the tenacity and brilliance of our community. We are so thankful!
A particular thanks goes to all who’ve helped to keep us going through the pandemic by supporting our digital output when the magazine was paused, engaging with new endeavours like #100kinMay and our rather fabulous merch and supporting us by donating directly or subscribing. We are very grateful.
Happy Pride to you all!
THE GCN TEAM