Dignity and pride were much in evidence during Lesbian and Gay Pride Week, held in Dublin between 19-26 June. Although the gutter press - The Star, The Munster Nationalist - tried to sensationalise and demean the intention behind the NGF sponsored Kiss-In at Dâil Eireann on Midsummer Day, thirty men and women made a dignified protest aided by one hundred onlookers and hammered home the message of gay law reform to countless bewildered lunchbroke workers and city centre shoppers.
The Motown Night at SIDES on Wednesday 22nd June continued an annual tradition once the exclusive preserve of Flikkers Dance Club. After paying costs, Gay Community News was £270 richer from the night's benefit, for which we are eternally grateful. Now how about taking out a £5 subscription for your 'Spinster' aunt?
Fishnets and honest-to-goodness clean fun (honestly) were the staple diet of night owls at the Rocky Horror Picture Show on Friday 24th at Harold's Cross Classic Cinema. Given the week that was in it, Frank 'n' Furter's retort to Brad during the steamy seduction scene - "It isn't a crime giving yourself over to passion" - received an hysterical response from the audience: "It is in Dublin!".
International Lesbian and Gay Solidarity Day found Gay Health Action, Metropolitan Community Church and the National Gay Federation hosting information stalls at the Irish Film Institute (IFI) in Eustace Street. The ILGA video "We are Everywhere" was also screened. NGF displayed press cuttings, posters and photographs from its archives. They raised a few eyebrows as did the slide show hosted during the latter part of the day's events. It was certainly an opportunity to reclaim and acknowledge our history, or part of it at least.
The Pride Party on Saturday evening in the IFI brought out a wonderful mix of revellers. Proceeds from the night, amounting to £500 went to the National Gay Federation, which has been without a major source of income since the loss of the Hirschfeld Centre.
Sunday 26 June saw in an overcast day to the Pride Picnic, held on the mound in Merrion Square. About 70 people spent the afternoon being silly, reading newspapers, playing with pink "Pride '88" balloons (dispatched by Tel-A-Friend) and occasionally nibbling at the stupendous hamper of food and drink which came with the NGF Youth Group contingent.
Later that evening, close to 200 people packed SIDES for the Lesbian/Gay Health Action Pride Disco. The group received almost £300 in donations.
Organised at relatively short notice, i.e. about two months, on a shoe-string budget and without a focal point like the Hirschfeld Centre, the unqualified success of all the events, both political and social, proved that there is a community of Irish lesbians and gay men who are prepared to stand up for our rights and dignity - and have a bloody good time in the process.
Bring on Pride '89!