FROM THE TEAM
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Welcome, dear reader, to the April/May edition of GCN, arriving at a period of flux for the LGBTQ+ community.
As that attention-grabbing cover designed by super talented GCN family member Dave Darcy implies – it’s time for change.
It is becoming obvious that issues happening elsewhere in the world are being imported as our issues. Would you have believed that in 2023, library staff in Ireland would be threatened, intimidated and filmed at work without their consent by what can only be described as ignorant fools protesting the presence of LGBTQ+ books? This is a direct connection to actions in the increasingly divided USA.
A further huge problem is the proliferation and platforming of anti-trans discourse in the media. It may have initially seemed good ‘oul Ireland wasn’t going to follow in the bootsteps of the media across the ponds both big and small in their obsessive and harmful coverage, but, sadly, here we are. There’s a passionate and necessary call-to-arms to end this cruel coverage in the centre of this magazine.
Younger changemakers feature in a pair of articles platforming the need to protect our LGBTQ+ youth from the bigotry of online discourse. Young folk discuss how, while they may have found their tribes online, they’ve also experienced queerphobic attacks. Thankfully they offer personal advice on how to navigate the terrain.
In another powerful piece on queer youth, Ruadhán Ó Críodáin, the Executive Director of ShoutOut, asks what does the global pushback against LGBTQ+ inclusive education actually mean for LGBTQ+ young people?
It might seem like there is an increasing amount of hardwon rights being stripped away from us across the world, yet the heartening reality is that Irish LGBTQ+ folk have always been battlers and fighters for what we deserve. This is evidenced by a series of features celebrating trailblazers in our history. There’s a heart-touching piece remembering the work of the exceptional Terri Blanche, alongside a feature sharing the experiences of the amazing Mary Dorcey and her co-founding of the Sexual Liberation Movement, while Unshrinking Violets, a new exhibition for Bealtaine looking at 50 years of lesbian activism, wants you to get involved.
Our community is multi-cultural, so for the first time, we have a piece written in Portuguese addressing the Brazilian queer folk who have made this country their home. There is also a hard-hitting but ultimately uplifting interview with a gay man who became the first Indian male belly dancer in Ireland. Ukrainian LGBTQ+ people now in Ireland also share their experiences in a feature which details how you can help the queer folk trying to survive in the middle of a war zone.
Somewhere the community has found solace, as well as a place to channel our hopes, concerns and stories, has been in the arts. A fascinating feature on drag performers breaking the mould of what is considered acceptable on the scene sits alongside a wonderful interview with the founder of an Irish dance class specifically for the queer community. These dovetail nicely with a look at the history of queer theatre in Ireland and the creatives still paving the way today.
When society at large is unaccepting, we as a community have found alternative ways to connect and express ourselves. For example, we have stories celebrating the riot of goth punk queer joy that is the club night Dance To The Underground, and a heartening opinion on how virtual connections helped a community member whose friend circle mainly consisted of straight people who couldn’t share her experience. The existence of coded language and symbolism to find fellow queers or express sexual interest has been around for centuries and we guarantee a few surprises in a thoroughly engrossing investigation.
LGBTQ+ people should support LGBTQ+ people, bottom line. To that effect, Homeworks have released an open call for a workshop helping community members combat climate change, while NXF Board member Hayley Fox Roberts details her hopes for how the Federation can empower the community, and finally, there’s an interview with the founders and volunteers of the essential LGBT Ireland National Helpline.
As you see, there’s ton of content celebrating the resilience, creativity, love, bravery, drive and power of our united community. Let the many and varied voices contained within these pages confirm that this is the time to gather closer together, not allow bad faith actors to divide us. Don’t let our achievements be nullified by hate, scaremongering and ignorance. If things seem like they are slipping, put the foot down. Time for change. Thank you, as always, for reading.