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Welcome, dear reader, to the August/September edition of GCN, as we celebrate queer creativity. That glorious cover photo by the superbly talented Steven Peice, which captures creators of incredible LGBTQ+ shows in Dublin Fringe Festival, stands as testament to the ability of our community to make lasting art.

Ireland has always punched above its weight in the creative fields and it is so heartening that, in a time of continued repression of queer rights and the rise in hate speech and actions, artists have continued to flourish, inspire and empower. The Fringe is a perfect platform for radical ideas, experimentation and plain old fun. With that in mind, a feature inside sees the aforementioned creatives fill us in on what to expect. Race you to the box office.

Elsewhere in the magazine, we’ve been in the grip of World Cup fever as the Irish Women’s Team captured the nation’s hearts and carried them to the lands down under. However, while there have been some trails blazed along the way, the incredible story of Jackie McCarthy O’Brien shows how queer Irish athletes have been overcoming the odds for many years.

Iconic on Ireland’s kink scene, Geared celebrates its 10th anniversary and our intrepid reporter doubled up by taking some truly punk photos of attendees at their big Pride celebration.

Speaking of Pride, ever wondered if those organisations and businesses are true allies or merely capitalising on the Pink Euro during rainbow month? A confrontational piece inside asks the big questions.

Following an article we proudly published in our last issue discussing the lives of LGBTQ+ teachers in Irish schools, we turn now to look at the experiences of LGBTQ+ school children throughout the years, and wonder ‘has much changed for the better?’

Fancy a late-summer break? One brave reporter risked it all by looking at what Malta has to offer. Just kidding, she had a great time.

On a community level, we once again proudly platform and celebrate the thoughts, voices and viewpoints of our LGBTQ+ family through a series of thinkpieces.

There’s a terrific description of a continued journey of self-discovery and how it led to the writer coming out all over again. Folk from the aromantic and asexual communities share their own stories, dispelling myths and hopefully clearing up misconceptions along the way.

A young gay writer speaks charmingly about the power of finding like-minds in the world of reality TV fandom, while another piece looks at an instance of hate crime and chillingly describes that moment we have all likely experienced where a casually thrown out homophobic catcall on a night-time street has the potential to spin into violence.

GCN is always delighted to share the words and wisdom of community organisations going that extra mile to help us. Adam Shanley of the MPOWER program at HIV Ireland closes the issue by discussing the state of play for sexual health support in Ireland, while in our regular monthly column, we profile another founder of the Sexual Liberation Movement.

Now, back to art. From the Silence = Death design to the photos of Nan Goldin and the posters of the Guerilla Girls, art has always been a powerful form of activism. We remember one of Ireland’s greatest artists who used their platform to raise awareness for those who needed it. Shuhada’ Sadaqat, known professionally as Sinéad O’Connor, passed from this world on July 26. A true warrior and force of nature, O’Connor’s death has made a huge impact on us all. Her talent was unmatched and her spirit was a thing to be reckoned with. As is always the case, it is only after something is lost that many realise just how essential it was. A piece early in the magazine recognises O’Connor’s activism and shares imagery of the mural created in honour of her by Emmalene Blake. Rest in power, sister, there will never be another like you.

Thank you, as always, for reading. 

Much love,

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Welcome, dear reader, to the August/September edition of GCN, as we celebrate queer creativity.
As part of our annual NXF Pride ‘Leaders Series’ in June, this author spoke with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
Inside SLM
Ireland’s first Sexual Liberation Movement started as an undercover meeting between ten Trinity College students in the final months of 1973. As part of a series, Ethan Moser profiles the people behind the SLM.
Since its inception, reality television has been regarded by many as fluff TV, disposable content, a junk watch, but for some queer people it has also been a lifeline when regular programming has excluded LGBTQ+ stories.  Spencer Jacques explains
Shuhada’ - Sinéad - Warrior
On July 26, 2023, Shuhada’ Sadaqat, known professionally as Sinéad O’Connor, passed away. Ireland was rocked by the loss of a great woman. Sarah McKenna Barry discusses the impact her activism had on the community. Noel Donnellon photographed the mural by Emmalene Blake.
While Pride month sees company logos incorporate rainbows, flags hung from venues that have something to sell, and businesses marching in Parades, where is the allyship when there isn’t money to be made? Brídín Ní Fhearraigh-Joyce explains how you can’t spell Pride without corporate sponsorship.
What does it feel like to be an LGBTQ+ student in Ireland? Have things changed substantially from the ‘darker days’ of the 1970’s? Or even the 1990’s? Nicole Lee looks at where we stand now and talks to members of the queer community about their own experiences of the school system.
The Maltese Welcome
According to the Rainbow Europe Map and Index 2023, Malta is the most LGBTQ+-friendly country on the continent and has been for quite some time. In fact, the nation has secured the top spot for eight consecutive years, based on the findings of the review’s author, ILGA-Europe. Alice Linehan went on a fact-finding mission (wink wink) to see what it had to offer.
Coming Out Again
Like many queer people, Han Tiernan grew up feeling different, not quite knowing how or why but knowing that they didn’t feel like they fit. This is their journey of self discovery.
The 2023 Dublin Fringe Festival is nearly upon us! Ethan Moser caught up with some of the amazing creatives involved to find out what’s in store. Photographer Steven Peice captured the artists alongside their stage personas.
Where do you go to dance and feel you can truly be yourself ? Is it your typical big club open every night, or perhaps it’s an exclusive once-in-a-blue-moon rendezvous? Al Fartukh photographed and interviewed those who like to go to Geared, the iconic queer fetish, leather and rubber club.
Romance and sex are in every aspect of our culture. And so is the assumption that every human being wants both those things. Beatrice Fanucci hears from members of the asexual and aromantic community who share that it’s very much not the case.
In 2023, the Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team made history by qualifying for a major tournament for the first time ever. But one woman had already made history in Irish sport, overcoming huge odds and eventually becoming the Grand Marshall for Limerick Pride in 2023. Jackie McCarthy O’Brien shares her incredible story with Alice Linehan.
Listings, social organisations, support
It’s a sad reflection of society that the vast majority of LGBTQ+ people have experienced that terrifying late-night moment of harassment or name-calling on the street that can all-to-quickly turn into violence. Joe Drennan recounts his own moment and proves the need for the Hate Offences Bill.
Parting Shot
Outbreaks and breakthroughs – what's next in queer sexual health?
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