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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.

Much love,

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Welcome, dear reader, to the April/May edition of GCN, arriving at a period of flux for the LGBTQ+ community.
In Memory of Terri Blanche
GCN was saddened to learn of the passing of Terri Blanche on Friday, March 24, following a short illness.
Joining the board of the NXF has, for me, nicely completed a circle. Coming out in the late ‘90s, I moved to Dublin to work for GCN, a great experience where I found my community.
Homeworks is a new collaborative project between the National LGBT Federation (NXF) and Common Knowledge aimed at bringing climate action solutions into the homes of communities in Ireland, led by LGBTQ+ people.
Inside SLM
Ireland’s first Sexual Liberation Movement started as an undercover meeting between ten Trinity College students in the final months of 1973. Ethan Moser interviews the people behind the SLM.
Muito brasileiros sonham em emigrar, porém, essa é uma jornada repleta de altos e baixos. Letícia Barbosa expõe suas reflexões em relação ao ato de sair do Brasil e a importância da comunidade brasileira na Irlanda.
The LGBT Ireland National Helpline launched in November 2010, bringing together volunteers from around the country to create a streamlined service for Ireland’s queer community by Ireland’s queer community. Brian Dillon gets an update on why the service is just as important as ever.
Wild Flowers
Unshrinking Violets: 50 Years of Lesbian Activism is a series of events celebrating the remarkable achievements of lesbian, bisexual, femaleidentifying and non-binary people working towards improving LGBTQ+ rights across Ireland since the formation of the Sexual Liberation Movement (SLM) up to today.
Theatre has been associated with queerness for centuries, from traditions of onstage gender play to the many legions of queer theatre creatives and fans. They don’t call us “drama queens” for nothing.
“Ever since I can remember, I have been into arts and dancing. Dancing connects to my inner self.” So explained Sushant Suresh Singh to Pradeep Mahadeshwar.
Şpȇåķiñĝ mỳ Łaňgüàgē
Coded language, the hanky code, ways of dressing, the words we use - for centuries queer people have found subtle ways of sharing their identities with others without catching the attention of an unaccepting society.
This past March, Ireland’s national LGBTQ+ youth organisation Belong To launched the ‘It’s Our Social Media’ campaign. The initiative sought to underscore the online abuse experienced by queer youth and the onus of social media platforms to abate hateful content.
If you have a punk, goth or alternative friend, it's almost guaranteed they have heard of Dublin’s only queer punk rock and roll nightclub, Dance to the Underground.
Amidst the hideous human rights abuses carried out against the Ukrainian people, the LGBTQ+ community are additionally being subjected to further horrors by the invaders.
A Matter of Accountability
Irish reporting on trans issues has failed us. The media has a responsibility to be accurate and fair in their reporting, especially when it comes to sensitive issues.
Off the Main Drag
Despite its ubiquitous presence for hundreds of years, as Joe Drennan explains, many views on who can take part in the art of drag aren’t terribly modern.
The Jig is Up
Every Tuesday evening, this LGBTQ+ Irish dance class fills with people wearing trainers and comfortable gender-affirming dance attire.
Listings, organisations, supports
The feeling is Virtual
For LGTBQ+ people, finding support, friendship, understanding or solidarity can be difficult when our local communities may not match our identities or beliefs. It is no surprise to find that virtual connections have fulfilled those needs for many.
What does the global pushback against LGBTQ+ inclusive education actually mean for LGBTQ+ young people? 
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