EILE Magazine - October 2014 (Vol.2, Issue 5)

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Magazine V2 Issue 5 – October 2014

Stuart Hatton Jr.

Mr Gay World


Mr Gay Ireland Special


Fashion | Film | Music | Health | Travel | Interviews

EILE Magazine | Who’s Who

Contributors Mark Anthony Mark is from Port Laoise and is an event producer, having worked on several fashion shows in Ireland. He is EILE’s resident style writer. Nick Bassett Originally from England but now based in Auckland, New Zealand, Nick is the creator of Chart Shaker, his daily music blog. He is EILE’s own music guru. Rob Buchanan Rob is a writer and blogger based in Blanchardstown in north Dublin, writing for numerous LGBT media in Ireland. M. Butler M. Butler lives in Dublin, and has studied Psychology & Philosophy. Scott De Buitléir Scott is the creator of EILE Magazine and is a writer and broadcaster from Dublin. He also hosts The Cosmo, RTÉ’s LGBT radio show, every Wednesday at 10pm. Tobias Larsson Tobias is a freelance journalist from Sweden, currently living in Helsinki, Finland. Lisa Reynolds Originally from County Meath, Lisa is a fashion industry student living in Bray, County Wicklow. Frances Winston Frances Winston is EILE’s resident film buff, and has contributed to many publications such as The Irish Independent and Irish Tatler. Rick Watts Based in Los Angeles, Rick is an LGBT activist and contributor to the NewsWrap segment of LGBT radio show, This Way Out. He is also a board member of TWO‘s production company, Overnight Productions.

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EILE Magazine | Welcome

Highlights October 2014 Mr Gay World – P.10 We chat with newly-crowned Mr Gay World, Stuart Hatton Jr. (We also chat to Robbie Lawlor & Nick Flanagan on pgs. 22 & 24!)

Eat Our Feelings – P.18 We find out about the hilarious new comedy/cooking webseries from New York

Hunter Canning – P.38 Scott De Buitléir chats to the New Yorkbased photographer and artist ahead of two innovative photo exhibitions

Volume 2, Issue 05 Editor-in-Chief: Scott De Buitléir Features Editor: MKB Contributors: Mark Anthony, Nick Bassett, Rob Buchanan, M. Butler, Tobias Larsson, Lisa Reynolds, Frances Winston, Rick Watts Cover Photographer: Samuel Rodrigues NB: All images in this publication are either under Creative Commons licence, or used with permission. Any queries can be made via eile.ie/contact Special Thanks to MKB for all her hard work, dedication and support. Web: http://eile.ie

MGI ‘15 Contestants – P.48 A selection of the contestants taking part in the upcoming Mr Gay Ireland Grand Finals

Contact: eilemagazine@outlook.com Twitter: @EileMagazine Facebook: http://fb.com/eilemagazine Note: All opinions expressed in this issue are the writers’ own.

Film & Music Reviews – P.58 Frances Winston pops along to the cinema to see Gone Girl and Mr Turner, while Nick Bassett listens to some of the hottest new music.

…and much more! EILE Magazine 3

EILE Magazine | Editor’s Letter

Contents 6-

Viola Dust


LGBT News Round-Up

10 - Mr Gay World 14 -


18 -

Eat Our Feelings

22 -

Robbie Lawlor

24 -

Nick Flanagan

26 - Travel: New York 32 -

Opinion: LGBT News

38 -

Hunter Canning

42 -

LGBT Experiences

44 -

Film: Coming Out

48 -

Mr Gay Ireland Special

58 -


60 - Music 63 -

Gabe Lopez

64 -

Women’s Health

Welcome to EILE Magazine For the second year running, EILE Magazine is honoured to be media partner for Mr Gay Ireland & Mr Gay Northern Ireland, a competition and fundraiser which has raised over €145,000 for charity since it was first launched ten years ago. As the outgoing pair of advocates, Robbie Lawlor and Nick Flanagan, prepare to hand over the titles to the new generation, we caught up with them both to see what they thought of their experience. We also chat with some of the finalists in this year’s competition – catch them on Oct. 26! We also catch up with the newly-crowned Mr Gay World, and our EILE coverguy this month, the charming and warm Stuart Hatton Jr. This month’s issue is also jam-packed full of creativity, from Ireland, continental Europe, and New York. We have opinion pieces from Dublin and Los Angeles, and some fantastic superhero-inspired fashion advice for the guys. We also take a look at HIV and women’s health, which is a a must-read. This month’s issue of EILE features some wonderful contributions from Ireland, California, Finland, and New Zealand. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy reading them as much as we do.

Scott De Buitléir Founder / Editor-in-Chief

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Music | Viola Dust

Viola Dust Viola Dust are a five-piece R&B/pop group, based in Newry in Northern Ireland. The group formed in March 2014, and have received a fantastic response to their singles from Irish and British media, including BBC 6 Music and RTÉ 2fm. EILE Magazine caught up with the lads to see what Viola Dust is all about. 6 EILE Magazine

Music | Viola Dust Who/what is Viola Dust? Where did it all begin?

classic American soul, like Al Green, Aretha and James Brown.

Viola Dust are a modern R&B/Pop quintet based in Newry. We formed in March 2014, and released our debut single ‘The Big Hop’ a month later. We began by writing and rehearsing a lot, and when we found our drummer, John, everything fell into place and we played our first show.

What has the reaction been like to your music so far? Have you done any shows yet?

You’ve already had two great singles released; The Big Hop and You’re Mine, which are brilliantly produced and sound perfect. Have you been working with any other musicians/producers? Thanks. We took a lot time getting them right. We write and demo the songs at home, but to get them really polished we wanted to record with a really good producer. We worked with Rocky O’Reilly in Belfast, who was able to help us get that pop sheen.

We’ve had some lovely attention. Xfm, BBC 6 Music, Today fm, and 2fm, have all got behind the singles, which is really helpful. We’ve only played two shows. Both of those were in Belfast, and were an absolute joy. The songs are much heavier live, and we’re very excited about getting to play around Ireland in the coming months. What are the plans over the next few months, and for 2015? We’re heading back into the studio in midOctober to record some new songs. We’ll release our debut E.P. in December, with an Irish tour and UK dates to support it.

Who would be your biggest inspiration(s)?

Can’t wait to see the lads live in concert!

We’ve been influenced by a lot of modern R&B and Hip-Hop, but we also reference a lot of

For more information on Viola Pop, visit their Facebook or Twitter profiles.

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News | Round-Up

LGBT Monthly News Roun Canada: LGBT Activist Jim Deva Has Died

Jim Deva, age 65, Vancouver LGBT activist, has died unexpectedly at his home on Sunday last, after a fall from a ladder. Co-owner of a bookstore (Little Sister’s Book & Art Emporium) since 1983, Deva was involved in a long battle with the Canadian Border Service Agency, to be allowed to sell LGBT-themed books in his store. The issue, after two decades, eventually went to the highest court in Canada, where the case was ruled in his favour. A documentary film by Aerlyn Weissman, called “Little Sister’s vs Big Brother” was made in 2002 about the court battle. Bruce Smyth is the 8 EILE Magazine

other owner. Deva had been a high-school teacher, but gave up teaching after being seen by a pupil at a gay bar. He subsequently opened the bookstore, which also served as a meeting place and information centre for the predominantly gay community of the Davie Village/West End of Vancouver. Jim Deva is survived by his partner, Bruce Smyth, and will be sadly missed by his friends, family and the LGBT community in Vancouver.

Marriage (NOM) and the American Family Association, has now included two gay dads and their child in their latest campaign.

MKB – eile.ie / September 24

Watch the 30 second ad, called Made To Matter,

US: Retailer ‘Target’ Includes Gay Dads In Their Ad Campaign

- September 17

American retailers Target, who have been targetted (sorry) by anti-gay protests in the past, have done it again, made LGBT inclusive ads that is. The company, the secondlargest discount retailer in the US after Walmart, has already been very supportive of LGBT issues, such as marriage equality, and in spite of protests from the anti-gay National Organization for

LGBT Conference Delegate Severely Beaten in Belgrade A German man, who had been attending an LGBT conference, is in intensive care in a Belgrade hospital, after he was severly beaten in a homophobic attack last Saturday night. Dusan Jovanovic of the Emergency Centre in Belgrade told media that the man, who has been identified by local

News | Round-Up

nd-Up authorities by the initials D.H., was admitted to hospital with “life-threatening” injuries. “He was received with severe head injuries and bleeding, so he has undergone surgery and put in intensive care as his condition is very serious,” Jovanovic told the AFP news agency. The Serbian Health Minister, Zlatibor Loncar, personally visited the man, who had been in a critical state since he was admitted. Meanwhile, Serbian police have identified and arrested three men who attacked the German activist, but gave no further details on the perpetrators. The German activist, D.H., had been attending the LGBT conference at the Metropol Hotel in Belgrade, organised by Germany’s Hirschfeld-Eddy Foundation from Germany and Labris, a Serbian lesbian human rights organisation, in a partnership with Civil Right Defenders and YUCOM – Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights. “We will not allow this kind of thing to remain unpunished,” said Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic, “and we will arrest the German citizen’s attackers.”

According to AFP, the incident occurred two weeks ahead of a scheduled gay pride parade, the first since more than 150 people were wounded in clashes between security forces and ultra-nationalists in 2010. Authorities in deeply patriarchal Serbia have banned gay pride marches ever since, citing security reasons. (eile.ie / September 16)

Wales: Man Blinded in Homophobic Attack A 20-year-old gay man has been left blinded in one eye after he was attacked by a group of men in south Wales. Tyler Maddick, a 20-year-old photographer, was walking home in the Penylan area of Swansea when a car pulled up alongside him and he was verbally abused by up to four men. “The next thing I know I have this liquid in my face”, Maddick said to BBC News, describing the petrol attack in Gendros. “It disorientated me. Then my eye started to burn up.”

Maddick’s mobile phone battery died at the time of the attack, which meant that instead of being able to call for help immediate, the young man walked home and tried to clean his eye before calling for medical advice. Tyler believes that his sexuality “is quite obvious”, and that it is the reason behind his attack. However, the attack had been made worse by the fact that Tyler, a freelance photographer, already had been suffering from an eye infection. “I’ve been told that because I had an infection in the eye anyway that lost 90% of my vision,” Mr Maddick explained, “the chemicals going into my eye has knocked out 100%. I’ve been told there’s a very high possibility that my vision won’t come back in that eye. I have been visually impaired anyway but then there was the prospect that my eye could get better, but now it’s not going to happen.” A spokesperson South Wales Police confirmed that the force are investigating the incident, and are appealing for witnesses. (eile.ie / September 15)

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Interview | Mr Gay World

Scott De Buitléir chats with Stuart Hatton Jr, the newly-crowned…

Mr Gay World 10 EILE Magazine

Interview | Mr Gay World

Having been crowned Mr Gay World in Austria last month, you’d expect Stuart Hatton Jr to be in high demand, but that doesn’t mean he’s used to it. He jokes about how many e-mails, phone calls and texts he has been getting. “If I put [my phone] on the floor”, he jokes, “it’d be vibrating so much that it would start walking off on me!” Stuart is in no way taking the extra attention for granted, though. The dance teacher and entrepreneur, from South Shields in north-east England, first entered the local heats for the title of Mr Gay UK as a “personal goal”, and quickly went on to win the national competition. That was enough for him, he explains, as he hadn’t set his sights on the international competitions, until he was approached by the organisers of Mr Gay UK to take part in the upcoming events in Rome and Austria.

Photo: Samuel Rodrigues

“To be completely honest”, Hatton explains, “I had never heard of Mr Gay Europe or Mr Gay World! …but it was an amazing opportunity, and I made some great mates in Robbie [Lawlor; Mr Gay Ireland] and Nick [Flanagan, Mr Gay Northern Ireland]. We’re best friends for life!” While he had always been a

strong contender to win the global title, Stuart had some incredible support at home – not only from his friends and family, but from the entire community in South Shields. “South Shields’ local council [South Tyneside Council] changed road signs to say ‘Vote Mr Gay UK’ when I was over in Rome and Austria”, Stuart explains, still clearly in awe of the support. “I hadn’t seen it myself, but friends were sending me photos and putting them up onto Facebook. It was absolutely amazing.” Not only was the support of the community amazing, but their readiness to make the best of his new title was also incredible. Stuart goes on to explain how local schools invited him to speak to students about homophobia, summing it up himself as “I’m gay – so what?” Local papers and media also paid attention to the self-made businessman, helping him break down homophobia, both locally and nationally. Stuart, along with his Irish friends, Nick Flanagan and Robbie Lawlor, have become a close trio since meeting in Rome for the Mr Gay Europe finals. “Robbie’s knowledge and campaigning for sexual health [practice] is so admirable”, Stuart says, in awe of the Dubliner’s passion for advocacy, while also praising the charms of the Irish. “You’ve got some really good guys over in Ireland,” he says, with clear admiration.

Stuart jokingly admits that being bestowed with the title of Mr Gay World is a bit like the iconic line from the Spiderman films: “With great power, comes great responsibility!” He does note, though, that it’s easier to catch the media’s attention.

“ South Shields’ local council changed road signs to say ‘Vote Mr Gay UK’ […] It was absolutely amazing ” “It’s easier for me now,” Stuart says, “to call up a newspaper, or radio or TV station, and say ‘Hi, I’m Mister Gay World, I have this idea I’d like to talk about on air’ or something like that. They’ll pay attention, which I’m grateful for. […] Homophobia is rife. We often don’t think so, but it is.” For the next while, to say that Stuart will be busy is putting EILE Magazine 25

Interview | Mr Gay World

it very mildly. He plans to travel to Canada, South Africa, North America and Australia over the coming months. He is also scheduled to take part in The Outing in Lisdoonvarna (or “Lisdodo-do-do…” as he tries to pronounce it – I decide against explaining what Lios Dúin Bhearna means, not to confuse him more) where he will give a class in same-sex ballroom dancing, something he is clearly passionate about. In fact, alongside a clothing range he has in production, he is also in talks with the various Mr Gay Europe competition organisers, in the hope of including a same-sex ballroom European championship event. Either way, it seems that Stuart’s own background as an entrepreneur has helped him focus on what he hopes to achieve as the newlycrowned Mr Gay World. “I’ve had to hit the ground running”, he explains. Considering he has only had the title for a few weeks, it seems like Stuart Hatton Jr is already off to a good start.

Stuart Hatton Jr. winning the Mr Gay World Grand Finals in Rome earlier this year 12 EILE Magazine

Rights | UN

Selfies For Equality – Free & Equal Campaign This powerful Free & Equal Selfies for Equality video [see link here] of people who are standing up for LGBT equality, was posted by UN Human Rights on YouTube: “In September 2014, more than 160 Presidents and Prime Ministers- and thousands of political advisers, activists and journalists – descended on United Nations Headquarters in New York City for the opening of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly. This year, the UN Human Rights Office, together with diplomats from a dozen countries and human rights activists set up a photo booth near the entrance to the iconic General Assembly Hall. Visitors were invited to stop by and have their photo taken while holding up a sign affirming their support for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual

and transgender (LGBT) people around the world. The Free & Equal photo booth was supported by the UN Core Group on LGBT Rights, whose members comprise Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Croatia, El Salvador, France, Israel, Japan, Montenegro, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Uruguay, the United Kingdom and the United States, together with the European Union, the UN Human Rights Office, and the NGOs Human Rights Watch and International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission”.

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Fashion | Superhero Style

The Avengers Age Of Style Mark Anthony takes menswear inspiration from the superheroes! Recently, I’ve begun to broaden my horizons when it comes to the places I take inspiration from. Whether it’s listening to unfamiliar genres of music, or reading books that have been translated from foreign languages, I find it really helps to get the creative juices flowing and consider options you had yet to think of. The same can be said for the way I approach my personal style, too. Not only have I begun to source inspiration from my natural surroundings, and stolen plenty of ideas from women’s fashion, but I’ve 14 EILE Magazine

also begun delving into my childhood memories. When I was a kid, I was obsessed with all of three things: superheroes, video games and climbing as many things as possible. Seeing as I’m not too familiar with video games these days (clearly) and I’ve already had my fair share of falls from climbing (while under the influence, of course), I thought I’d delve into the murky world of superheroes, to see if there was any styling tips and techniques I could learn from them. Those of you out there that have, or used to have, even a fleeting interest in superheroes will already know that there

are LOADS of them about. Like, seriously, far too many to do any justice really. So, for the first of what I hope to be a handful of instalments, I thought I’d limit my field of vision to a small group – and where better to start than Earth’s Mightiest Heroes : The Avengers. Yeah, yeah, I know they’ve changed their line-up more times than the Sugarbabes over the years, so for the sake of simplicity, let’s just stick to the one everyone will be most familiar with – the team from the film. I can literally hear the sighs of disappointment from comicbook fanboys already.

Fashion | Superhero Style

L-R: Burton, Day Birger At Mikkelsen

An uncontrollable rage monster that destroys everything around it as soon as someone accidentally bumps into him and spills his drink at the bar. Yes, that is a description of me after too much “fighty juice” (vodka), but it also applies to The Hulk as well. Well not the vodka. Although that would explain so much. Yet aside from the valuable lesson on the importance of stress relief, let us also consider the colour purple. Still completely underrated in the world of menswear, it’s an extremely versatile hue, especially in lighter shades like violet and lavender. The ideal partner to grey and navy, it is the colour I would always recommend guys look into when they say that they are getting sick of using blue, brown and pink with their neutral coloured clothing. Seriously, try it in a shirt, trouser or knit to find out just how versatile it can be.

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Fashion | Superhero Style

Iron Man uses a flying metal suit to beat the crap out of bad guys, and pull a serious amount of women – what’s not to like? However, red and yellow are notoriously hard to pair together because of their positions on the colour wheel. They’re the least appealing of the contrasting colour combinations available to you, so I am going to simply say (for the moment) don’t try this at home, and instead focus on the power of the suit. Honestly guys, you will never look better than when you’re wearing one. Plus, you’ve already sorted out 75 per cent of your outfit. All that’s left to choose is a suitable shirt and tie combination and your footwear. Easy.

L-R: Smalto, M&S

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Captain America, the unofficial leader of The Avengers, who has no real powers aside from being at the peak of human potential, and reminding me of my granddad because he always bangs on about “the good old days”. Although his costume has gone through many variations, highlighting the importance of style reinvention, the palette of red, white and blue has always stayed the same. And that is exactly where the inspiration for your outfits can be found.

L-R: Drykorn, David Mayer Naman

Fashion | Superhero Style

Sure, you run the risk of looking like a walking Union Jack, but the trick to combining two strong primary colours like red and blue is to make sure you vary the hue they are in. For example, why not try a navy suit with a pink shirt? All you’ve done there is made one colour darker and the other lighter. Alternatively, combine classic dark raw jeans and a blue oxford shirt with a red Harrington jacket for the perfect late Autumn/early Spring outfit. As long as you remember to change the hue of at least one of those colours, and use white to anchor your look, there’s no reason why you can’t go all-out patriot – all day, every day.

L-R: Belstaff, River Island

Ah yes, Black Widow and Hawkeye. Another example of just how cool and on trend black-on-black is becoming within men’s style. However, my suggestions would be to stay away from the skin tight Lycra, and vary the textures you use when creating an all-black ensemble. For example, look to combine different yet complementary fabrics such as leather, wool and flannel in Winter. The other great thing about this approach to dressing is how easy it is to add a shot of colour. Hats, gloves or shoes can be used as statement accents, because black is the perfect black canvas for experimenting with colour and patterns, especially when it already comprises 90 per cent of your look.

There is absolutely no lesson to be learned from Thor I’m afraid. Don’t wear anything Thor wears unless you’re about to go to a “Game of Thrones” marathon at a mate’s house or you actually are the God of Thunder. Oh yeah, and join a gym. So there you have it, a couple of lessons I’ve learned after a quick dip into my fondest childhood memories. When it comes to creating and developing your own personal style, being inspired by your past, and the experiences that have made you the person you are today are important, and can really help define the unique way that you dress yourself. This is just one of the ways I do it. EILE Magazine 17

Interview | Eat Our Feelings

Emma-Jane Gonzalez and Sasha Winters speak to EILE Magazine about their new webseries; half comedy, half cooking show!

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Interview | Eat Our Feelings The idea behind Eat Our Feelings is brilliantly innovative; where did it all come about? We were basically set up on a friend date. Our mutual buddy, Adam Goldman, had been telling us about each other for ages, and when we finally hung out, everything made sense. (Doesn’t that sound romantic?) We both have backgrounds in entertainment, but work in food. We’re both nervous and weird and love comedy, and we were both looking for a new project. So the concept of Eat Our Feelings came together pretty naturally. We love food so much, but don’t feel represented in food media. We’re imperfect, and goofy, and don’t always have our lives together, but we can still make really delicious things. And we want to free the kitchen up for people, to make it accessible and entertaining, as well as lovely and nourishing. Also, we’re always fascinated by the characters your see in Food television, but we want to know what’s happening before and after the meals are made! Do Ina Garten and her lucky, lucky husband ever fight? Does Sandra Lee get sad when she has to take apart the table-scape, and does anyone appreciate it as much as she really wants them to? What does Guy Fieri dream about!? We want to know about the stories! Were comedy and cooking able to mix as well together as you expected/ hoped?

L-R: Sasha Winters & Emma Jane Gonzalez

We had a lot of discussions about the balance of sitcomstyle scenes, with the instructional segments, and how to best handle that. But what it comes down to is that we’re pretty goofy, so no matter what we’re doing, we’re joking around with each other, which is what we really want people to see - you don’t need to be serious, to make good food. You can be a total weirdo, and we’re here to prove that! You’ve recently completed your kickstarter campaign (congratulations!) – are you surprised at how much support is available out there for such projects? We’re so excited by reaching our Kickstarter goal. And while we have complete confidence in the project, we were definitely anxious for the entire fundraising month. It was pretty fantastic when we’d see all these people we don’t

know, supporting the project. That’s what’s great about crowd-funding. It gives us the power to support the things we want to see, because network TV doesn’t necessarily provide everything we need. We have to fill in the gaps! That’s what we’re trying to do, and we’re delighted that other people think it’s cool. Any special moments so far from this project that you won’t forget any time soon? In making Eat Our Feelings, we’ve realized how great and supportive our community is. Everyone is so willing to help one another, for the sake of a project, and our core team came together really beautifully. Doug, the executive producer, is basically a wizard. We have Adam Goldman, directing, Dave Turner, as director of photography, Chris Rubeo, writing the most beautiful music, Brian Dorsam, with all the lovely credits and digital EILE Magazine 19

Interview | Eat Our Feelings

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Interview | Eat Our Feelings stuff. They’re all so fantastic, and willing to put in these insane hours. We got lucky, and it’s a nice reminder of everyone’s generosity, in the creative world- things get made, because we help each other. Also, we really like getting matching outfits. It has little to do with the actually story, but we think it’s really funny to dress alike? So expect a lot more of that. Where next, now that the fundraising has been successful?

Any plans to travel to Europe (maybe Ireland?) with your filmmaking - or indeed, your cooking? Scott, we are dying to do Eat Our Feelings Abroad! Will you help us make colcannon? Our knowledge of Irish food is limited! Help us out! Irish Cuisine 101, coming right up! The first two episodes of Eat Our Feelings are now available via the series website, eatourfeelings.com.

Up next is filming the rest of the season! We’re in the planning stages now. Getting the episodes nailed down, figuring out our locations and casting and scheduling. We’re about to launch into a few months of crazy! And we’re so excited to do it.

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Interview | Robbie Lawlor

As the MGI 2015 Grand Final approaches, we chat with Dubliner Robbie Lawlor about his time as the outgoing Mr Gay Ireland

Robbie Lawlor

Mr Gay Ireland

How did you come to be Mr Gay Ireland? It was pretty simple, I heard that there was a heat on in The Front Lounge and I just went for it. I was asked a few questions on stage, “Why should you be Mr. Gay Ireland?” etc. I ended up with the title of Mr. Gay Front Lounge, I did not think I’d get it at all.

You’ve volunteered with sexual health charities, both before and after winning the MGI title; has the title been able to help you get the word out about how to keep in check? Definitely, winning this title automatically gave me the platform I needed to be heard. Colleges and gay support networks got in contact with me, and asked me to give

Interview | Robbie Lawlor

sexual health talks, do condom distributions, write up sexual health information for their websites, etc. It gave me an instant voice, and connections that could have taken me years to gather up otherwise. LGBT media mention sexual health a lot, but is the message getting out there, do you think? This is a tricky question. In my opinion, yes and no. Although sexual health is becoming less and less taboo, thanks to campaigning, Ireland still has a long way to go. There are still homosexual men that I have encountered that can’t differentiate between HIV & AIDS for instance. Over the last few years, there has been a rise in HIV diagnoses in homosexual men. However, there has been speculation that this rise is due to effective campaigning, more people are getting checked, therefore more men are being diagnosed. Education through more informative campaigns can help fight stigma, get people tested, and help those living with sexual health issues fight against their ultimate concern, the public perception. For example, I was recently in New York, and I was astounded by how open men were about their HIV status, when they last got checked, etc. In many different public transport stations, there was an array of posters campaigning against stigma to sexual health, HIV/AIDS in particular.It is true, New York is a high risk

area, but take one look at the Irish statistics and relative population size, and you will soon realize we are quickly heading into that territory. What moments stood out for you the most as Mr Gay Ireland? The whole year has been a whirlwind. It has given me some amazing opportunities, fashion shows, activist work, photo-shoots, but what most stood out for me was definitely the travelling. To represent your country on an international level is just mind boggling - a once in a lifetime experience. I revelled in it, and along the way, I made lifelong friends. Austria and Rome definitely were the highlight. You travelled to Austria for Mr Gay Europe, and to Rome for Mr Gay World; what was it like? Was it what you were expecting? I went to both of these competitions not having a clue what to expect. I know they had a somewhat similar format to Mr. Gay Ireland, but what I got was much, much more. You get placed into this surreal experience with people from all over the world, undergo different challenges, and then compete in a final that is broadcast worldwide. It’s a difficult experience to describe; from the people you get to meet, to the knowledge you gain, to the events you are thrown into. It definitely kicks you right out of your comfort

zone, but you wouldn’t change a thing. Those who might not know about the festival(s) might think the Mr Gay competitions are shallow... are they right or wrong? What these competitions are all about is finding a representative that they can broadcast to the world. For this, they need someone who is confident, who has knowledge on LGBT issues across the world, who can talk on stage/to the media, and who isn’t afraid to get their photo taken. This is not a competition to find “the most ripped”, it’s an all-rounder who can get his voice heard. Former representatives of these titles have not just gone on to sign modelling contracts, they have gone on to do some real work that has helped create visibility for the LGBT community on an international level. Where next for you, once you pass on the title to someone else? I’m currently doing my masters, Sexuality Studies in DCU. It concentrates on sexual health education/promotion and gender equality. I clocked up the volunteer hours to enter this programme, and I’m hoping to incorporate this education into helping Ireland’s LGBT community in the future, so yea, watch this space....!

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Interview | Nick Flanagan

Northern Star Mr Gay Northern Ireland Scott De Buitléir chats with Nick Flanagan on his year as Mr Gay Northern Ireland For a man with so much talent and potential, one can not help but be taken in by Nick Flanagan’s modest charm. The 22-year-old Tramore native lives and works in Belfast, and while he was originally crowned Mr Gay Galway 2014, Nick has recently been travelling the world representing Northern Ireland at Mr Gay Europe and Mr Gay World. As part of our Mr Gay Ireland special, we caught up with the Waterford wonder to find out his experience of being Mr Gay Northern Ireland: 24 EILE Magazine

How did you come to be Mr Gay Northern Ireland, seeing as you were Mr Gay Galway in the MGI Finals? I won the Mr Gay Galway competition during Galway Pride last year. I went on to compete in the Mr Gay Ireland finals in October, and finished as winner of best interview and overall runner-up. A Mr Gay Northern Ireland was also chosen at the final. However, after a few months he left his post. In the meantime, I had relocated to Belfast, and was working away. I received a message in January, from the

producers, asking me if I would be interested in representing Northern Ireland, as the previous delegate had left. I was excited by the prospect, and so I agreed the next day. That was the start of it all! What has your experience of Belfast and Northern Ireland been like, both in general and in terms of the LGBT community? I moved to Belfast in December last year. It’s a bigger city than Galway, although very different culturally. I was lucky to meet some lovely people right away. I started working

Interview | Nick Flanagan in Maverick Bar, and joined a swim team, so between the two I met plenty of friends. The LGBT community was very welcoming and friendly. I’ve gotten to know many of the faces and the people behind them. It has been a pleasure. My experience of Northern Ireland has been very positive. There are so many beautiful natural attractions and interesting amenities here, you are never stuck for something fun to do! The only issue I have found is the residual sectarian tension that remains in small pockets around the city. Unfortunately, the week before I went to compete at Mr Gay Europe, my home was defaced with sectarian graffiti, and I was forced to relocate. I posted an image of the graffiti on my facebook page. I had so many people post on my page leaving positive and reassuring comments, that it really changed my perspective on the event, and helped me to see the silver lining. The LGBT community in Belfast has always put aside religious issues and remained an integrated community. In my eyes, they are a role model for all of Northern Ireland, and that is something I am very proud to be a part of. You travelled to Austria for Mr Gay Europe, and to Rome for Mr Gay World; what was it like? Was it what you were expecting? In June, Robbie and I met at the airport, and set off for the first of our international ventures. Neither of us had a clue what we had gotten

ourselves into! Arriving in Austria, we were warmly greeted by the producers and the other delegates. It was an evening of introductions and pleasantries, coupled with a night of well-earned sleep. The next morning the competitions commenced. Over the next week we were tested with a series of intellectual, physical and creative challenges. We travelled [through] 3 countries before arriving in Bregenz for the final. I won the Sports Challenge and the Art Challenge, and placed top 5 overall, qualifying for Mr Gay World. August arrived, and once again Robbie and I met at the airport, this time we were much more relaxed. On the back of our own summer adventures, we had a lot to catch up on! The journey to Rome felt like only minutes. We discovered new friends and rekindled our Austrian bromances. A congregation of the world’s finest, ready to fight it out for the coveted crown! We were tested on LGBT history, fitness, stage talent, media interactions, and many more of the qualities needed to be an equal rights activist, and forerunner for the LGBT community in world media. The week that would ensue is one that I will never forget. Tears and treadmills, 6am sunrise yoga and 6pm toga parties, smiles and strops, hangovers, and horrendously early morning wake-up calls. But mainly pain, lots of pain. I had pains in my side from laughing, pains in my cheeks from smiling, and after the big

finale, a pain in my heart. I was not ready to say goodbye to my international sisters! It was an emotional goodbye, with the promise of a reunion in South Africa for next year’s Mr Gay World competition. What moments stood out for you the most as Mr Gay Northern Ireland? I don’t think there has been a particular moment that has stood out for me, but rather a feeling. After the dust (and the glitter) has settled, it’s a feeling of belonging and fraternity that remains. The people I have met over that last year through the Mr Gay competitions have changed my life. Where next for you, once you pass on the NI title to someone else? Now that I am back in Northern Ireland, I have been working with the producers to ensure we have more awareness of what the competition is really about, and hopefully find somebody who will represent Northern Ireland proudly, and passionately, on a National, European and World stage. Personally, I hope to continue building my own sports therapy business, while also continuing my academics. I have orthopedics and neurology modules starting next week, so it’s time to get the head down again and back to my regular routine, but this time, knowing what I have accomplished, I will be standing a little taller and feeling a lot prouder. EILE Magazine 25

Travel | New York

Escape to…

New York

Commonly referred to as “the city that never sleeps”, New York is one of the best loved city break destinations. With endless activities and attractions for tourists to enjoy, including a visit to the vibrant and vivacious Times Square, various museums and Broadway shows that will amaze you, the famous Empire state building or the sombre location of Ground Zero, NYC never disappoints. You can make the most of winter with a quick shopping trip across the Atlantic in the run up to Christmas, as you won’t find a better place to stock up on gifts than the Big Apple! From the hustle and bustle of Chinatown to the heart of

26 EILE Magazine

Manhattan retail on Fifth Avenue, you’ll be spoiled for choice. While you’re there, get into the festive spirit early with some ice-skating in the beautiful Rockerfeller Centre or the Winter Wonderland that is Central Park.

Travel | New York Spend 3 nights in a 3* hotel from only €630pp. Price includes: Return flights ex. Dublin, accommodation on a room-only basis, taxes and charges. Travel: 23rd October 2014 Spend 3 nights in a 3* hotel from only €631pp. Price includes: Return flights ex. Dublin, accommodation on a room-only basis, taxes and charges. Travel: 6th November 2014 Spend 4 nights in a 3* hotel from only €617pp. Price includes: Return flights ex. Dublin, accommodation on a room-only basis, taxes and charges. Travel: 23rd November 2014 Spend 3 nights in a 3* hotel from only €616pp. Price includes: Return flights ex. Dublin, accommodation on a room-only basis, taxes and charges. Travel: 11th December 2014 Offers are subject to availability. For more winter breaks to New York visit http://www.gohop.ie/g85/ New-York-Holidays For more information or to book visit www.Gohop.ie or call GoHop.ie on 01-2412389.

EILE Magazine 27

Opinion | Month in Review

Changing the Rules?

Rob Buchanan takes a look at changing attitudes in the Church, the Mosque and Facebook The dichotomy between queer self-importance and homosexual apologism was highlighted this week in current affairs, when we had drag queens demanding recognition on social media, rebelling against Facebook’s registration policy, and conservative gays clapping like seals tempted with fish at the thought of Pope Francis acknowledging nontraditional couples. 28 EILE Magazine

It seems the schizophrenic nature of gay identity is simultaneously reactive and radical, constantly on guard against discrimination, yet also secretly yearning for the embrace of the establishment. Drag Queens across the world are getting their sequined knickers in a twist over recent changes to Facebook’s naming policy, and rightly so. Contentious changes to Facebook are attempting to force people to use their legal names on their profiles. The Queens were threatening to picket Facebook offices across the world, to show their dissatisfaction with the identity crisis the social media site has created.

It appears Facebook didn’t fully consider the consequences of the millions of Drag Queens and Kings worldwide, whose raison d’etre is often to highlight injustices against their LGBT communities, and galvanise them into action. The response from drag artists was that the sinister move, forcing people to use their legal identities, was not only degrading and disrespectful, but in some cases might even endanger performers by exposing their private lives. The Orwellian move garnered swift resistance across social media, and petitions on Change.Org, raising tens of thousands of signatures in days. I’m sure that, apart from

Opinion | Month in Review the financial motivations for Facebook to maintain the legal names policy, there are doubtlessly security issues and liability issues, for bullying and criminal transactions or communications. Whilst I could understand some of the outrage caused, there were several alternatives provided by Facebook, such as setting up a page just for the Drag persona. I must admit I feel that any protests about the uncomfortable surveillance aspect are fairly ridiculous. This is Facebook after all, privacy is non-existent, your personal information is being volunteered, and is the number one commodity on the site. If you wanted to breach the rules and maintain your full statutory rights, then you should pay for a website. No one is “forcing” you to use Facebook, it’s not a legal requirement like a passport to travel. Overall though, it’s a bit of a PR disaster for Facebook, which seems to continuously put its foot in its mouth, with ridiculous accidental homophobic gestures, such as censoring photos of men kissing. Although recent updates, allowing gender identifiers, were a welcome sign of progress. The still seemingly too-goodto-be-true poster child for the Catholic Renaissance , Pope Francis, is at it again. In yet another slick and hopefully sincere PR move, the pontiff has demonstrated his progressive liberal leanings, by blessing 20 straight couples

in services at the Vatican. Among the many dogmatic misfits were some divorcées, one with a daughter. None of these couples would have gotten their foot in the door of the Vatican under the previous administration, let alone received an official blessing in St Peters. Whilst all this seems like the beginning of a new era of liberalism and inclusion in the Catholic church, the green shoots are still in their infancy, and Francis has not been without his critics in the curia. The church is very far from a unanimous push to leave the bigotry of the past behind, and is light years away from the recognition of same-sex couples on an equal footing with heterosexual ones. But if Catholicism is dragging its feet, there is progress in more unlikely corners. South Africa in recent years may be a lightning rod for criticism about corruption and violence, but undoubtedly it is one of the most progressive and égalitarian African nations when it comes to LGBT rights and equality. Perhaps it is because the citizens, facing generations of repression and apartheid themselves, are acutely aware of what the dirty end of the persecution stick feels like, and so are less quick to judge. In keeping with that odd dichotomy, an “open Mosque”, without gender segregation, and with the welcome mat fully extended to LGBT people, will open this week

in Cape Town. While it is certainly an anomaly in the deeply entrenched violent homophobia of Islam, it is also a great start, and an indication of how Catholicism’s foothold risks slipping even further if it fails to adapt to the realities of 21st century society. We were once an invisible minority, now the issue of LGBT rights is inescapable, be it on the internet or in the Vatican. Whether your values lie in challenging dogma and defending against the everpresent risk of homophobic repression , or if you equate gay equality with just another form of heternomative lifestyle, the global LGBT community seems to be self-consciously, and relentlessly, forcing itself to the forefront of modern life. It’s easy to get caught up in all the hippy-dippy rhetoric, however, we must remind ourselves that so much of what we are falling over ourselves to compliment the pope on, such as saying he doesn’t judge gay people, is hardly groundbreaking morality. This is the kind of common human decency we should expect from any stranger in the street, and is hardly a stretch of compassion and empathy from a major religious leader, whose job is to preach love and peace.

EILE Magazine 29

News | Gareth Thomas

Gareth Th Stru

“It is difficult for people to realise what is on the mind of someone who wants to die. For me, I had so much pride, but so much hatred for what I was�. 30 EILE Magazine

News | Gareth Thomas

homas Came Close to Suicide uggling With Being Gay This is what Gareth Thomas, former Wales rugby captain, had to say when speaking about wanting to commit suicide, having struggled with his sexuality all his life. The 6’3″ 40 year-old, from Bridgend in Wales, was being interviewed by BBC Radio 5 Live, part of which was about his new book, Proud, which came out this week. He said he thought about suicide as a way to stop being “part of a horrible world I had created around me”. Gareth revealed that he had come out to his wife, Jenna, whom he had married in 2001, and three months later she left him, after which he felt suicide was the only option. He really missed her, as the two had met as teenagers, and she was the one who had been there for him all the time. This led to his coming out to

his team-mates, after a draw with Australia 29-29, at the Millennium Stadium, in 2006. He told former Wales and Ospreys coach Scott Johnson, who was then assistant coach with the Australian team, that his wife had left him, when Johnson went to shake his hand after the match. Johnson then had Thomas’ team-mates, Stephen Jones and Martyn Williams talk with him at the Wales team hotel.

made captain for the second and third tests of the series.

Rather than reject him, which Thomas feared would happen, they patted him on the back and said “Don’t worry, let’s have a beer”. Thomas said that this was a huge weight off his shoulders, as the men he respected most had accepted him.

To listen to the podcast of the BBC Radio 5 Live interview with Gareth Thomas click here.

Having represented Wales in both rugby union and rugby league, Thomas was the mostcapped Welsh rugby union player, until overtaken by Stephen Jones. He announced publicly that he was gay in 2009, and retired from rugby in 2011. In 2010, he was awarded Stonewall’s Hero of the Year.

MKB September 15

He was known by the nickname ‘Alfie’, whom Thomas says he created to be the archetypal rugby player and macho-man, originally coming about because of his supposed resemblance to the alien sit-com character, ‘Alf’. In the 2005 British and Irish Lions Tour of New Zealand, Brian O’Driscoll was injured in the first test against New Zealand, and so Thomas was

EILE Magazine 31

California Dispatch

Californi We’re Still

Rick Watts on lessons to be learnt from those who have lived to fight another day A couple of weeks ago, I happened upon one of my neighbors, exchanging styrofoam boxes with someone who had pulled into the driveway of our apartment building, here in West Hollywood. He had just handed what appeared to be a light (and presumably empty) box to the visitor, who in turn handed to him one that was much heavier, and it dawned on me that what I was witnessing was his weekly receipt of meals from a local HIV/AIDS service organization, called Project Angel Food. I recognized the boxes, because I’ve volunteered 32 EILE Magazine

for them; cooking, packaging and delivering meals, every Thanksgiving since 1999. Since beginning in the basement of an area church 25 years ago, Project Angel Food has provided more than 9 million meals to persons struggling with debilitating diseases (primarily AIDS, but in recent years other illnesses as well). Their motto—“for life, for love, for as long as it takes”—pretty well sums up their mission. For, in this age of powerful new antiretroviral medications that have saved so many lives, there is as yet no cure for HIV.Though those medications have unarguably

extended our lives; (hopefully to the day when there is finally that elusive cure), we continue to deal with often debilitating side-effects, that nonetheless affect our ability to hold down stable employment, and housing, as we age out of our potentially most-productive earning years, while dealing with those sideeffects. This is often without the familial relationships that can be of such value to anyone dealing with the infirmities of illness, or old age, that disproportionately affect persons with HIV. For some, there are daily medication side-effects, such

California Dispatch

ia Dispatch: Here! as dizziness, stomach upset or incontinence. For others, there are more serious longterm ones, such as joint replacement-necessitating Avascular Necrosis, kidney or liver toxicities, disfiguring lipodystrophy, or cardiovascular issues.

about 40-60 times the rate at which it is experienced by the general population. Additionally, there are more common autoimmune conditions, such as the oftendebilitating reactive arthritis, which disproportionately affects as many as 1 in 10 HIV patients. [Word of advice: Get yourself checked for a genetic marker called HLA-B27!]

…we also increasingly become a part of another sub-class within the LGBT communities – senior citizens.

” In my own case, I’ve experienced all but the cardio problems; having had two AVN-associated hip replacements, presumably caused by one of my early medications. While AVN hits “only” about 5% of the HIV population, that number is

According to recent statistics, in the USA alone, there are over 1.1 million persons living with HIV, who do, or will, eventually depend upon medications to keep them from the otherwise almost-100%certain death sentence of their disease. Even the much more contagious, and rapidly-lethal Ebola has a fatality rate of “only” 70-90 percent! Moreover, in dealing with the sometimes self-imposed stigmas of loneliness or hopelessness—whether due to HIV, unemployment, or

relationship travails—far too many of us slide into self-destructive patterns of substance abuse; some illegal (like crystal meth), others legal but no less destructive in the long run, (like alcohol or tobacco.) It’s no secret that not all “tweekers” [meth-users] are 20-something hustlers, nor are all alcoholics 50 yearolds, collapsed in a gutter with a bottle. Their habit is just as likely to be practiced hidden behind their own door as at the local bar or bathhouse. But as those living with HIV— who are disproportionately gay—live longer (and hopefully more productive) lives, we also increasingly become a part of another sub-class within the LGBT communities – senior citizens. According to a University of Washington study, there are some 2 million self-identifying LGBTs over age 50 in the USA: a number that is expected to double by 2030. According to the Los Angeles LGBT Center (formerly LAGLC) just in LA County, there are more than 65,000 gay seniors over age 65. Most of those were, until recently, denied their right to marry long-term partners, and therefore denied Social Security, veterans, pension survivor benefits, and inheritance tax preferences, EILE Magazine 33


California Dispatch that married heterosexuals have long taken for granted. According to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute they are therefore only ¼ as likely to have had children to help support or sustain them in old age. So LGBT seniors are more likely to need assistance in their sunset years, but with housing costs skyrocketing in LA and other cities, both youth AND fixed-income seniors have been caught in the pinch. Moreover, LGBT seniors who age into traditional assisted-living care facilities, often find themselves forced back into the very closet they’d fought so hard to leave in earlier years, as they suddenly find themselves unavoidably surrounded by less-than-receptive heterosexual fellow residents, that themselves are products of an earlier less-accepting era. The good news, however, is that—while need still far outstrips available resources, (whether for persons with HIV/AIDS or struggling with substance abuse issues, or for unemployed or homeless or atrisk youth or senior citizens)— help does exist for those who know where or how to seek it out, and have the patience and fortitude to deal with oftenfrustrating bureaucracies. The Los Angeles LGBT Center (formerly LAGLC), continues to expand, and provides expert medical services, through 34 EILE Magazine

its Jeffrey Goodman Special Care Clinic—one of the few federally-qualified health centers specifically serving LGBT people. The Center’s Youth Services programming has long provided desperatelyneeded services for LA’s disproportionately-LGBT homeless youth. And now, after its recent merger with Gay and Lesbian Elder Housing, and its two LGBTspecific senior housing projects (Triangle Square and the Argyle) the LA LGBT Center is embarking on a major expansion of those efforts. In a new project that will both double the number of beds for youth, and provide dozens of new affordable and low-income senior apartments, in a new complex that will also house the Center’s administrative offices, that facility will in turn free up space elsewhere for the further expansion of medical and mental health

services. These services will target youth, seniors, HIV/ AIDS and associated at-risk populations, and substance abuse counseling—all while continuing to provide educational opportunities, such as GED classes for homeless youth, employment counseling, and passionate advocacy for equal rights for all. In two weeks, West Hollywood will again host AIDS Walk LA: the primary fundraiser for AIDS Project Los Angeles—an organization which has done so much, for so many, for so long. APLA has long served as a clearing house, to connect and guide HIV patients in need, to governmental and nonprofit resources to help them; whether to sign up for Social Security, MediCare/Medicaid/ ”ObamaCare,” food bank/ meal assistance, or mental or substance abuse counseling. Quite literally, I owe my life

Quality LGBT News and Features – Produced from Los Angeles Available via podcast on our website (thiswayout.org) or on iTunes, and on 200+ Radio Stations Worldwide!

thiswayout.org | Twitter: @TWORadio Overnight Productions (Inc.)/”This Way Out” Post Office Box 1065 Los Angeles, CA 90078 U.S.A.

California Dispatch to APLA’s benefits counselors, and also to the kindness of friends—like my neighbor— who even in his penury, occasionally, anonymously, hangs a bag of fresh fruit on my doorknob, following my 3-week hospitalization, for a now months-long severe flareup of reactive arthritis, that sometimes has hobbled me too much to get out of the house. My neighbor, a kind and gentle soul, who would give a stranger the shirt off his back, has nonetheless struggled for years with depression and HIV, which, like for so many people, gay or straight, have found their unfortunate expression in substance abuse—alcoholism in his case. This in turn has fed a self-perpetuating cycle of repeated bouts of unemployment, minor health crises, and poverty—recently verging on homelessness for him and his beloved dog. But thanks to the medical services provided by the Center, his HIV is under control, and, in recent months, he has taken what any alcoholic can attest is the most difficult, and necessary, step any addict can take: admitting to

his addiction, and resolving to fight it. As with most addicts, recovery for him too consists of periods of sobriety, interspersed with occasional periods of relapse. But like so many before him, and no doubt after, he demonstrates again that sometimes courage is that little voice that says, “tomorrow, I will try again.” In the words of the Buddha, “Fall down seven times, get up eight!” In the meantime, thanks to APLA’s food pantry, Project Angel Food’s meal deliveries, and occasional assistance of friends, he survives to fight another day. In the naked honesty of admitting to fellow addicts that he is one of them, my neighbor—my friend— continues to try to piece his life back together, and I have faith that he will succeed. Like the homeless kid, the lonely senior, the addict, and the many, many HIV survivors who have outlived the worst of the plague, we may at times feel invisible to a culture that too-often disproportionately values youth, wealth and good looks over experience,

knowledge and wisdom. There is, however, something of value to be learned by everyone from the experiences we’ve lived through; what musician Pat Benetar refers to as the inner rings of our personal tree trunks. Alain de Botton said “One’s doing well if age improves even slightly one’s capacity to hold on to that vital truism: This too shall pass.” So don’t forget or ignore us, for our experience has lessons all can learn from. After all…we’re still here! -Rick Watts

Based in Los Angeles, Rick is an LGBT activist and contributor to LGBT radio show, This Way Out

Listen to This Way Out on thiswayout.org 36 EILE Magazine

Information and support for women who need someone to talk to

DLL – Phone: (01) 872 9911 (Callback facility available)

Art | Hunter Canning

38 EILE Magazine

Art | Hunter Canning

New York-based photographer Hunter Canning chats to Scott De BuitlĂŠir about life and art in motion in the Big Apple

Art in Transit

EILE Magazine 39

Art | Hunter Canning

Your Subway Series photos started off on Instagram; what happened to inspire you to take the first photo? I’ve always loved peoplewatching. I can’t help but wonder, “What’s running through their head?” In 2009, one of my favorite trains to shoot on was the D, which runs close to ten minutes without stopping. During 40 EILE Magazine

that time passengers are usually completely silent and yet there’s an entire novel unfolding on their faces. Back then I was shooting on an old DSLR, so I’d use the squealing of the train tracks to cover the sound of the shutter. Once I got a phone with a decent camera, I was able to shoot more liberally during my daily commute. As a New Yorker, I’m on and off the train constantly, so everyday I’m

photographing moments that catch my eye. In London, the joke is that people avoid eye contact on the Tube/ underground. In Dublin, commuters are on their phones and chatting away on the DART. What have you learned about New Yorkers from the series? New Yorkers have no problem

Art | Hunter Canning with direct eye contact. Throughout the series you’ll notice people looking right into the lens. Some look annoyed, some smile and nod, while others stare at me and are probably wondering the same thing I am, “What’s that person’s story?” Although when I’m shooting on my phone, I figure most commuters assume I’m playing Candy Crush like the rest of New York. What has the reaction to your photography been like? Did you ever hear from someone whose photo you took? The reactions are pretty positive. Back in May, BuzzFeed featured the series in the list “13 Instagram Artists All Creatives Should Follow” which was pretty cool! I gained some new followers which motivated me to keep snapping away.

The subway is an intimate playground. It’s fluid and familiar, while simultaneously being static and alien. No one is watching and yet everyone is watching you. It’s relentless unpredictability draws me in again and again. #THESUBWAYSERIES is a celebration of people and I hope others experience it as such.

The Sheen Center is located at 18 Bleecker Street, NYC www.sheencenter.org

Tell us more about your upcoming exhibitions in October - not one, but two!

EYEHEART Gallery is located at 502 West 27th Street, NYC Gallery hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 2pm - 8pm. www.eyeheartnyc.com

Yes! Two shows at once is a little crazy but it’s all very exciting.

PERMUTATIONS will run Oct 2nd - 30th at EYEHEART Gallery with an opening night party on Oct 2nd from 6pm - 10pm. The exhibit showcases my nude “landscapes” which are digital collages made up of my subjects’ bodies.

#THESUBWAYSERIES is currently on view at The Sheen Center through Oct 31st. Robert James Anderson did a masterful job curating over 100 photos meticulously arranged on a grid. We’ll be having an open reception with complimentary drinks on Oct 9th from 6pm - 9pm.

EILE Magazine 41

Feature | LGBT Experiences

21st Century Life The first of a series, in which LGBT people talk about coming out & their experiences in the modern world – by Lisa Reynolds I wanted to create this article for a long time because I wanted to interview people about their experiences of being gay in 21st century life. I would like to take this opportunity to thank each of them for their insight and time. I really appreciate it. Name: Chance Location: Florida Age: 23 When did you realise that you were gay? I guess there was never a definite moment. I grew up knowing I was a little different from a very young age. It wasn’t untill I hit about 12, or 13 that I realized ­what “gay” was, or that it fit what I had been feeling all my life. My family was so supportive I never realized it was a thing. I thought it was “normal”.

fairly frequently. But I never really had any problems. I would get the occasional derogatory slang, passing certain people in the hallway, but I was very fortunate and very friendly, so I earned respect with my peers very quickly. The teachers and the staff, on the other hand, were a completely different story.

Have you ever experienced any discrimination because of your sexuality in your life?

When you were in school, and subsequently in work, did you feel that there were proper measures in place to deal with homophobic bullying and discrimination?

Very rarely, I grew up in a small town about 100 miles north of Las Vegas. There were 2 other openly gay students that got picked on, and messed with 42 EILE Magazine

No. Being in a small town, everyone talks, and I would

hear stories of others and the problems that they were having. The main problem i faced was the faculty and the staff, never really had problems with my peers. Although I could definitely feel the tension from my educators, and school staff. I was constantly being kicked out of class for harmless things like me saying, “Oh I love Shania Twain’s hair, I wish I had hair like that.” or “I love that dress”. Or playing with the girls in my class’s hair. I have always had a passion for hair , and styling. I am now a stylist, and I own my own salon in Largo Fl. The teachers would tell me that its not normal for boys to want to play with hair. I never really understood. What perception have you heard about gay people that made you laugh/most angry? The biggest one is when i meet straight guys, and they immediately have to say that they are OK with gay people, as long as they don’t touch them, or come on to them. My immediate response is usually “I’m gay, not desperate”. Were your family and friends always supportive?

Feature | LGBT Experience Most of them, yes. When I was 13, and I had a good grasp of what I was, and that I was what they called “gay” I decided that I needed to tell my mom so she knew. I was nervous, and I went up to her and said: “Mom, I’m gay”. I had no idea what her reaction was going to be, and it certainly was not what I was expecting. She just looked at me for a minute and didn’t say anything. Then she finally responded after what seemed like hours, (which in reality was probably only 15 or 20 seconds), “Of course you’re gay, you’re wearing a Shania Twain shirt.” and that was the end of it. It was never really mentioned again, I started bringing guys home a couple of years later. What would you say to someone who is struggling with their own sexuality or with coming out, or who is been bullied or discriminated against because of who they are? “Those who really matter don’t mind, and the ones that mind, don’t matter.” Try to find a different situation and a support system. Do everything you can to break away from the negativity.

bit crazy as far as homosexuality is concerned. Jesus never said anything about gay people. Someone just decided it should be in there so they wrote it.

Chance’s idol, Shania Twain

Who has been the most influential person to you in your life and why? The most influential person in my life has always been Shania Twain. She is a beacon of inspiration, and a front runner of being yourself no matter what anyone else thinks. She has been a pathfinder my entire life. Have you ever been in love? Yes. A couple of times. It’s exciting and heart-wrenching all at the same time. Are you married? If so, what was your wedding day like? If not, would you like to get married someday? Yes. I am married to a wonderful supportive man, who had to hunt me like a rabbit. It took him almost 6 months to convince me to go out on a date with him. When I met him I thought he was too normal and boring. But

he turned out to be the most exciting man I have ever met. We got married in May of 2012., and these have been the best years of my life. He has literally done everything in his power to make all of my dreams come true. That’s love. Are you a father? Or, would you like to be a father someday? I don’t have any kids yet. But I have 2 cats. They are like our children. I would like to adopt an Asian baby someday. I know my husband would make a wonderful father. I think in time I would too.

What I find today is some gay people are way too sensitive. Everyone has something about themselves that is laugh-worthy. Life will be so much easier if you embrace it. Laughter is the best therapy there is. Are you religious? What do you think of the Church’s attitude towards gay people? I am not a religous person, I am much more spiritual. The church’s attitude is a EILE Magazine 43

Interview | Matthias Freihof

Coming Out: East Germany’s First Gay Film Tobias Larsson chats with Matthias Freihof, the lead actor of East Germany’s first gay-themed film, Coming Out Perhaps it is hard to believe, for those of us who are old enough to remember it happen, but this year it has been twenty-five years since the Berlin wall came down. It was also twentyfive years since the first and only LGBTthemed movie made in East Germany premiered. 44 EILE Magazine

Famously, “Coming Out” was first screened to audiences on the very night that the borders were opened between East and West Berlin. The film was interrupted as the news came in, but legend has it the audience asked for the film to be shown in full, before they went out to celebrate the big event. Directed by Heiner Carow, one of the country’s most acclaimed and controversial filmmakers, “Coming Out” is the story of a young teacher who slowly comes to terms with being gay, only to find himself torn between his fiancée, and a student he has fallen in love with. A simple story, perhaps, but in the socialist

German Democratic Republic – not a particularly LGBT-friendly society – it was a remarkable subject, never shown on film before. Today, Matthias Freihof is an established actor, recognised from popular TV series as well as highly successful stage productions, but playing Philipp Klarmann – the main character in “Coming Out” – was his first big role. I met up with him in Berlin to talk about the film, its legacy, and what it was like to be gay behind the iron curtain. TL: How did the film come about?

Interview | Matthias Freihof Heiner Carow hadn’t made a film for several years, as all the scripts he proposed were turned down by the political state censorship. Now he wanted to make this story, where the main character wasn’t only gay but also a teacher, telling his class to think like individuals, instead of being part of the big collective. That was an explosive idea in the GDR, and this project was only possible because of the beginning of political changes, as well as Carow having friends in high places. TL: The main actor being gay also in real life, was that choice made on purpose? MF: It was a complete coincidence. They were looking for somebody who would look innocent, who didn’t have any gay attitude. A “normal” boy for the audience to connect with. A friend of mine knew the screenwriter, and told the team there was this young actor willing to be part of this project. I was the first one to audition for the role, and they decided at once that they wanted me. Then I had to do a second casting together with the female lead, to see if we were a believable couple, and finally with Dirk Kummer, who played the other guy. A couple of months later, I received a letter saying I had the part. I phoned my parents and told them I was going to go ahead with this project, and they had better prepare for neighbours and friends asking questions about it. But I had to do it – Carow was one of the best directors in East Germany, and I had just finished acting school. It was a huge challenge for me. TL: How typically East German is Philipp?

MF: The film is fiction, and he is perhaps a collection of several people, but I think he is representative. The household he comes from is very typical, with hardworking parents that are somewhat emotionally absent. Philipp is very disciplined, he has grown up in the system, and acts like a little soldier who does what is expected of him. Dating his female colleague was very much part of that plan. I know so many stories of this happening: a gay man falling in love with a woman, because the time is right, and because she is lovely. For me, it was a great idea to cast Dagmar Manzel for the female lead, as she is a close friend of mine and very easy to be in love with. It was very important for the plot that we were believable as a couple. TL: How much input did you have into your character? MF: A lot. Carow had a strange view on Philipp – that he was completely innocent and passive, a real victim of circumstance – and finally I told him this won’t do. Philipp has to act at some point. He has a girlfriend but still [...] he is not a little lamb. This goes through film history, that the sissy is always the victim, and in a disastrous situation. It started in the 1950’s, and got even worse when HIV came into the picture. The crucial classroom scene at the end of the film originally consisted of three pages of monologue: “I had a very difficult time lately and now I know who I am”, that kind of talk. I refused to do it. We were making such a brilliant film, so colourful, about life in East Berlin. Ending it with this feeble excuse in the end, I said I would never do it. I didn’t want to say anything, I just wanted to look at these

people and just be there. We talked about it for several days, and the final compromise was that I said just one word: “Yes!” I thought that was too much as well, but I did it. We needed ten takes to get it right, then we had to overdub it anyway, since the cameras had made so much noise during the shoot. TL: What was it like to be gay in the GDR in the late 80s? MF: Like everywhere, I think. Being gay wasn’t illegal, even though the authorities tried to keep you under control and kept archives of people, especially as HIV came into the picture. Otherwise, East Berlin was the gay El Dorado, where most of the gay East Germans tried to go. There were no discos or clubs, but the bars were very nice. Very cosy places. TL: Just how cosy the gay bars were becomes obvious when you watch “Coming Out”, as it was extensively shot on location at Zum Burgfrieden – one of the most popular gay bars during the late 80’s – using regular customers as extras, giving an exclusive insight into what the underground EILE Magazine 45 23

Interview | Matthias Freihof gay scene of East Berlin looked like. MF: Gay bars were a place for communication and talking, there was no leather scene, no dark rooms. Everything was mixed and everyone went to the same places. And the subjects you talked about were different. I noticed that when the wall came down, suddenly we found ourselves talking about money and insurance. We never talked about things like that. We didn’t have much money but we always had enough. The beer was inexpensive and good, and nobody had to think about how to make it through the day. We talked about life, jobs, philosophy. TL: In the film, the bartender at one point says nobody in the bar knows anyone’s name, and everyone is afraid. MF: That was fiction. There were so many things to be told to the audience, but we only had one film, everything had to be very condensed. Heiner Carow decided to make a few things harder than they really were, in order to wake up the audience. We had so many different subjects already, so we had to leave things out. For instance, we made the decision not even to mention HIV in the film. We wanted to encourage people, invite them to be gay and stand up for themselves. “Come out, but beware of HIV” wouldn’t have been a very convincing message in that context. In the East German society we didn’t have much pressure from the church, it didn’t have much influence at all, and the general 46 EILE Magazine

morality was different. Me being gay was never a problem in my family, everyone was really open about it, but there are lots of other stories too, of course. I know of people that came from restrictive families, and who had to break all contact with their parents after coming out, but that still happens today. Not much changed in that respect. TL: Less than a year after the premiere of “Coming Out”, GDR ceased to exist, and the two ‘Germanys’ were reunited. What do you think the legacy of the film would have been if the German Democratic Republic had lasted? MF: I think the effect would have been the same. What I really like about it is that it portrays a love story, not necessarily a gay love story. I got so many letters from straight people who had been touched by the story, saying it made no difference to them if it was about a man and a woman or a man and a man. Many people told me they lost many of their fears watching this film.

I got letters from teachers who were not open, some of whom decided to come out. We were invited to the Berlin International Film Festival in 1990 – and were awarded the Silver Bear – and since then we keep getting invited to all kinds of LGBT film festivals all over the world. I still visit a couple of them every year. I guess if the GDR had remained, our film would still be a success and just as important, but probably without its international audience. And that would have been a shame.

Coming Out is available on DVD with English subtitles from icestorm.de

Entertainment | Reality TV

Presented by Scott De BuitlĂŠir & Robbie Kane

EILE Magazine 37

Feature | Mr Gay Ireland

Mr Gay Ireland & Mr Gay Northern Ireland

2015 Here we look at a selection of contestants entering for the 2015 competition The tenth annual Mr Gay Ireland & Mr Gay Northern Ireland takes place on Sunday, October 26 at the Gibson Hotel in Dublin. Founded by Brian Merriman, the all-island event promotes visibility for young gay people, and safe sex awareness, in cities, towns and communities, especially in rural Ireland. Contestants are visible locally and take part in an intensive weekend of confidence building, gay rights advocacy, networking, civic society engagement and fun each October Bank Holiday weekend in Dublin. Since the AllIreland competition was launched, it has raised 48 EILE Magazine

over ₏145,000 for the New Fill HIV facial reconstruction service at St James Hospital, Dublin. 100% of the funds raised by the contestants is donated directly to the New Fill facial restoration service at The Guide Clinic. This month, EILE Magazine takes a look at only a selection of over 20 finalists taking part in this year’s Grand Final. For more information, visit mrgayireland.ie

Feature | Mr Gay Ireland

Gerard McLoughlin Age: 26 From: Ringsend, Dublin Title: Mr Gay George

What was your experience of coming out? Fortunately for me, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I started with telling my friends, who were not really surprised, and it encouraged me to tell my family. My mother says to this day that she knew what I was going to say when I came home that night. I went into the kitchen, sat beside the washing machine, and told all my family. It ended up with us all chatting about a guy I was seeing at the time. Who is the biggest support in your life? My mother has been my biggest support in my life. She moulded me into the person I am today. It hasn’t been easy on her, bringing up 5 kids, and she’s an inspiration to me. I don’t know what I’d do without her. You’re representing The George in the Mr Gay Ireland finals; what has the reaction from the locals been like? It’s been pretty positive. I was doubtful about

doing it, but the George, especially Veda, has been so supportive, and gave me so fantastic advice. What have you done/planned to raise money? I have held non-uniform days in work to raise some cash. I will be holding a fundraising night in Ringsend, I’ve organised a ‘Take That’ tribute act to perform, and lots of spot prizes to raffle off. I will be holding a 2nd fundraising night in the George, where myself and a few of my work colleagues will be putting on a hairshow, with an entry fee. I will be doing some performances also at the bingo, where i will do bucket runs straight after. What has the experience been like so far? It has been a little bit stressful to be honest, ha! I want to raise good money and awareness for the New Fill Project. I think when I have all the fundraising done, I will really enjoy the experience

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Feature | Mr Gay Ireland

Kevin O’ Brien Age: 22 From: Dublin Hill, Cork Title: Mr. Gay Cork

What was your experience has the reaction from the locals been like? of coming out? Coming out for me was a terrifying experience, or so I thought. I had built it up so much in my head, I made it a way bigger deal than it should have been. I came out to both friends and family at the age of 16, but as many people do, I started with my friends. […] Coming out to my family was very hard for me, [but] they ended up being my biggest support. Who is your biggest support in your life? It would have to be my best friend, Laura. She was the first person I ever told I was gay. It was difficult for her at first, as there had been previous involvement between us. Our bond has grown stronger because of everything we went through together, and without her I’d be lost. She is my biggest support. You are representing Cork in the Mr Gay finals, what 50 EILE Magazine

I can’t even describe how amazing the reaction has been. People I don’t know constantly coming up and congratulating me, and telling me they voted. It’s all so surreal. I would have never believed I’d receive such an enthusiastic response. I can really feel the support from the community here in Cork. I’ve gained some incredible friends, and their encouragement drives me to put everything I have into the Mr Gay competition, and to try my very best to bring the title home, not just for me but for the whole community. What have you done/ planned to raise money? Well, I recently joined forces with local theatre group, ‘Funk N’ Something’, to host a Boylesque-themed variety show, which took place on September 12th. The night was more than I could have ever hoped for, thanks to the talents of the members involved, and the help of all the community,

we raised a good bit for the cause and I’ve never been prouder. I’ve got a few more ideas up my sleeve yet, and there is something currently in the pipe line, but I don’t want to be giving too much away so I’ll have to leave it at that. ha! What has the experience been like so far? It’s been absolutely awesome! I never could have imagined this, I’ve been doing so much since the competition, and the opportunities are constantly coming. It’s truly been an honour and I’m excited to see what the future has in store for the next year and further. The whole experience has made me more confident, open and appreciative of everything we, as a whole community, Cork, and elsewhere, have in comparison to those before us. If I can be a small part of the bigger picture, it’ll be an achievement in itself. This is just the beginning.

Feature | Mr Gay Ireland

Glen James Age: 21 From: Donegal/Tyrone Title: Mr Gay Tyrone (Central Bar Strabane)

What was your experience happy for me! of coming out? You’re representing Probably one of the best Tyrone in the Mr Gay things I’ve ever done. I only Ireland finals; what has came out last year (2013) I the reaction from the fell in love, and everything locals been like? just seemed right! He gave me the courage to come out.. I Supportive, and see it as a initially distanced myself from great opportunity for myself. my family at the start, but I’m 100% comfortable with who What have you done/ I am (apart from the normal planned to raise money? insecurities). I’m planning different charity Who is the biggest support nights in the Central Bar.. E.g. in your life? Quiz nights, themed nights, entry fees etc. I can’t really narrow it done to one person.. My family and friends’ circle were all amazing.. Everybody was so

What was your experience back-bone of our family, and of coming out? the support she shows me is overwhelming since I came I had a really nice experience out, and she was right there coming out. All my friends beside me when I won Mr Gay have been a great support. I Carlow, with the the biggest have been out to most of them smile on her face! since we went to school. As I have an older brother who I have gotten a great reaction happened to come out 18 from the people of Carlow months before me, it made since I won. I’m still getting it that much easier for me people congratulating me on to tell my parents, and they winning Mr Gay Carlow, and have been a constant support how proud they are to have for me, as have my other 4 someone representing Carlow brothers. for the second time. Who is your biggest support in your life? I would have to say my biggest support would have to be my mother. As a mother, wife, sister, she has seen some really had times, but never once complained. She has been the

I have just finished my plans to hold a table quiz in Dowlings Pub in Bagenalstown, and have a raffle afterwards, and DJ. My experience so far has been amazing. It has been a pleasure to be part of such a great competition!

Jamie Doyle Age: 29 From: Bagenalstown, Co Carlow Title: Mr Gay Carlow

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Feature | Mr Gay Ireland of loner still in me I suppose, from my childhood spent playing in the woods alone and exploring! But I’d probably have to say my sister. We were never incredibly close growing up, but the last few years in particular, we’ve grown much closer. We work together, so see each other there more so than at home! She’s also taken on the task of being my personal trainer, so that’s interesting!

Ciarán Corcoran Age: 26 From: Tipperary originally, living in Cork city Title: Mr Gay Loafers

You’re representing Loafers Bar in the Mr Gay Ireland finals; what has the reaction from the locals been like?

The reaction from Loafers has been fantastic! There’s such a strong sense of community among the customers in What was your experience the bar. You walk in those doors, and you become part of coming out? of a family. So the support has been fantastic, from the To my friends, colleagues etc, moment of the announcement. I never “came out” to them, it was always just a given, or What have you done/ a throwaway comment in a planned to raise money? conversation. I never wanted to make a big deal out of it. Haven’t started the fundraising However with my parents, I yet, but have a couple of felt they deserved to hear it interesting ideas up my sleeve! from me directly rather than The words “Sponsored Head anyone else. It was incredibly nerve-wracking trying to pluck Shave” have been thrown about, but anyone who really up the courage to tell them. I knows me, knows that’s not can still remember it to this going to happen yet! But a day, trying so many times to couple of events in the pipeline, say it, and chickening out. In stay tuned! the end I wrote them a letter, found it much easier to express What has the experience myself that way. They were been like so far? incredibly accepting of it, and supportive of me, so all in all The experience has been a good experience!Who is the great so far! As I said the biggest support in your life? support from Loafers has been I’m very independent, a bit 52 EILE Magazine

unbelievable. The reaction from everyone I work with has been fantastic too. Me entering the competition would have been something they’d never have expected, so they’re very proud! I’m looking forward to getting even more stuck into my fundraising for the New Fill Project at James’. Really excited about the final in Dublin now!

Gary Ridge Age: 31 From: Galway City Title: Mr Gay Galway

Feature | Mr Gay Ireland What was your experience of coming out? I was fairly young. I was 14 when I came out to my family, and I received a lot of support, and I can’t take them enough for accepting me and all my fabulous ways lol Who is your biggest support in your life? I have a few of those so it’s hard to name one. If I had to, I would say it’s my best friend Kiersite O’Driscoll. She has been there for me so much, and I’m beyond grateful to her for that. What has the reaction from the locals been like? I honestly have received

My experience of coming out: Coming out for me was difficult, because for years I had been confused and in denial of my sexuality. It’s actually only been in the last year or so that I have come to fully appreciate myself, and to finally tell my friends and family. They’ve been really supportive, and I feel very fortunate to have them in my life and for accepting me for who I am. My biggest support: I can’t really name one single person for being my biggest support in life. I would have to say that my family and closest friends have been the biggest support for me. They’ve been really good to me my whole life, and they’ve helped me through some difficult times, as well as having many happy

amazing support from Chambers, and everyone who goes there, and they have made me so proud to represent them in Mr Gay Ireland. What have you done/ planned to raise money? I have a night booked for the 10th of October in Chambers Bar On Washington Street. It’s all hush-hush, but as it’s me, it will all be very camp, colourful, and full of fun and talent. What has the experience been like so far? It has been amazing. I feel more confident since winning, and I’ve made amazing friends, and I can’t wait to meet all the other contests in October.

Bryan Corcoran Age: 21 From Blackpool, Cork City Mr Chambers 2015

moments together. I will always love them, and shall forever cherish the great memories we share.

I will be hosting a table quiz as one of the events, and I have a few other ideas in the pipeline which I’m eager to make a reality.

Reaction to representing Galway City in Mr Gay Ireland: Reaction from locals has been terrific, it’s early days yet, but I’ve already been getting loads of compliments, and plenty of congratulatory hugs too. I’m loving it! I’m really looking forward to representing Galway, and hope to become a positive role model for the LGBT community.

My experience so far: Becoming Mr Gay Galway has been incredible for me, and already the experience has been fantastic. Just a couple of days after the announcement was made that I had been selected to represent Galway, my friend Brendan baked me a wonderful vanilla, buttercream, rainbow-coloured, layer cake to celebrate my win. Members of the community have been sending me lots of messages of congratulations, and I’ve already been stopped on the street a few times by well-wishers. It’s the beginning of an amazing journey for me, I can feel it!

Raising money: Fundraising is very important to me for this competition, and I have a number of exciting plans made for fundraising opportunities, and raising awareness for the charity.

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Feature | Mr Gay Ireland

Shane Guerin Age: 20 From: Kileely, Limerick Mr. Gay Limerick

My experience of coming out: Coming out was a bit hard, being bullied in school, having a boyfriend in secret, until I had enough of it all, and said to myself “just be true to who you are, don’t live a fake life”. When I came out my life changed for the better, and I’m so happy now with my life. My biggest support in my life: My biggest support is my mam, she has always been there for me through thick and thin, and always encouraged me to be me, and live my life, and she has me spoiled as well, haha, what more could you ask for! Representation: The [community] reaction has been simply outstanding, they’re all making so much time for me, helping me out

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if I’m stuck, which I’m really appreciative of. You don’t get that many people to do that around where I live, but the Limerick gay scene is just incredible. I’m so grateful to be representing such a fab community! What I have done to raise money: I have been going around to my local shops to spread the word about donations, and I’ve just recently held a bingo night in Strokers gay bar, such a fab night and made a good bit already. It’s for a good cause, and I will be holding more in the next few weeks, which I’m excited about! My experience so far: The minute I was unexpectedly crowned Mr. Gay Limerick changed me for the better!! I feel more confident, and I’m showing Limerick city what I

can do to lead them… because I’m only 20, a lot of people said I can’t do it, but at the end of the day, it’s the youth that need to step up and make our mark, and show we can be just as good! I’m being supported outside Limerick too, as I’m a dancer and I compete all over Ireland. The support has been amazing. My experience so far is just excellent, and I can’t wait to have so much fun in the next year!

Feature | Mr Gay Ireland Trip down memory lane, I have been out now to a few friends since I was 17, but came out to family when I was 19. When I knew that my family knew I was gay, then anyone after that wasn’t an issue. I have been extremely lucky throughout my life, as I have been very fortunate to be surrounded by people that respect me for who I am, understand me and are always there for me through thick and thin. I found it quite difficult to find the time to tell people that I was gay. I thought this was to be a life changing conversation to have with anyone, and it would have to be something to be dealt with in a respectful manner. I also feared becoming an outcast, being disowned and being judged by everyone I loved and cared for. The first member of my family that I had come out to was my mum. We have always been very close, and her brother had come out at that time as being gay. We had just left my Gran’s house and the two of us were on the way to collect my mum’s friend to go for a walk. I started the conversation with asking how she was, knowing her well enough that she would respond to ask me the same in return, my reply was that everything wasn’t okay, and then led to the usual questions – Is it girl trouble? Money problems? College issues? etc. I told her I was like my uncle, and my Mum had to pull the car over as she was upset. She wasn’t shedding tears that I was gay, she was crying and worried about how other people would perceive me or bully me.

In response to this she said ‘We always have and always will have something special, nothing will ever change that!’. The biggest worry was how my three brothers would react to me coming out, and I could possibly write a book on some of the reactions I had, but I won’t fill the pages of your magazine! They all acted as loving brothers would by joking and carrying on, but then reassuring me that they are always there for me no matter what and they love me. I have an amazing family and friends that have been extremely supportive, and I fortunately never had any issues from anyone about being gay. The biggest support in my life other than my Calvins, would definitely without the shadow of a doubt be my Mum, she stands by her words on the day I came out, she has been an ear to bend and my best friend. Family and friends in general are a huge support in all I do and all I believe, they are amazing! The Newry Rainbow community have asked me to represent Newry, and it’s an honour that they put me forward. Newry in general hasn’t had a great insight into who Mr Gay Newry is yet, but watch this space. Anyone I have spoken to about it and the raising of money have been saying I’m a great representative.

Neil McGrath Age: 30 From: Newry Mr Gay Newry

do have a busy life style, but I am organising a charity night in Newry, doing collections in local bars and a raffle in work. So far my experience has been quite tame, but I’m sure things will start to spice up a bit soon. I’m feeling the stress of raising money and talking to local businesses, but it will be all worth while. It has been great seeing the guys that are representing their different cities, clubs and organisations. It will be amazing getting to know them individually and in person.

At the moment all charity is in the making, as I am on my own on this and I generally EILE Magazine 55

News | LGBT Discrimination

Bill to End LGBT Job Discrimination Needs to Provide Certainty GLEN welcomes the announcement by Minister of State at the Department of Justice & Equality, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin that he will advance legislation to amend Section 37 of the Employment Equality Act. “No worker in any workplace publically funded or otherwise, should be faced with the threat of discrimination because of who they are”, said Sandra Irwin-Gowran, Director of Education Policy with GLEN. “LGBT people working in any religious run employment should enjoy the same protections as any worker; so a gardener who is gay working in a convent should be as protected as a gardener who is gay working for the OPW”, continued Irwin-Gowran. “The legislation must ensure 56 EILE Magazine

that all employees can clearly see from its wording that their livelihoods cannot be put at risk because of their sexual orientation or relationship status. The wording of the Bill must not create any new grounds for people in Ireland to fear discrimination at work”, continued Irwin-Gowran. GLEN has been working with Teacher Union organisations over many years to have the threat posed by Section 37 of the Employment Equality Act addressed. “Legislation is urgently needed to provide employment protection for countless workers in religious run workplaces, such as schools, across Ireland”, continued Irwin-Gowran. “Another school year has got underway with many LGBT teachers continuing to feel the ‘chilling effect’ of Section 37. We need to quickly get to the point where no threat, or perception of a threat, exists for their employment because of their LGBT identity or civil status”, said Irwin-Gowran.

“There is a link between homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools and a ‘fear factor’ for lesbian and gay teachers being open about their lives. Removal of uncertainty will be an important building block in ensuring that schools can urgently and comprehensively address bullying in our schools, as required by the Department of Education Anti-Bullying Procedures for schools”, concluded Irwin-Gowran. “We welcome the Minister’s commitment to bring forward the necessary legislation and look forward to working with him, and with all political parties, to remove this threat to workers and to ensure that there is certainty for all workers in all employments” said Irwin-Gowran. (eile.ie / September 10)

News | Martina Navratilova

Martina Navratilova Is Engaged! “Thanks everyone for your good wishes- I got a grand total of two (2) nasty tweets and thousand + great ones. Amazing, really:)” This was a tweet from Martina Navratilova after her engagement to her girlfriend, Julie Lemigova, at the US Open in New York City last Saturday, more than 25 years after winning the US Open title. This time, her actions were captured on the big screen, cheered by the crowd, and congratulated by supporters from all over the world after the Tennis Channel tweeted it. Piers Morgan was among those wellwishers. He tweeted: “..so happy for you both! Congratulations”. Navratilova has been with her girlfriend since 2008, yet was nervous prior to popping the question. Between the men’s semifinals at the Arthur Ashe Stadium, she got down on one knee and asked Lemigova to marry her. She said afterwards:

“I was very nervous… It was kind of an outof-body experience. You’ve seen people propose at sporting events before, in

movies, in real life. Here it was happening to me. It was like I was watching myself do it.” Lemigova, who has two daughters and lives with the tennis champ in Miami said: “We are very happy together and Martina has made our family complete” (eile.ie / September 9)

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Reviews | Frances Winston

Mr Turner

Directed: Mike Leigh Starring: Timothy Spall, Dorothy Atkinson, Paul Jesson, Marion Bailey, Ruth Sheen, Lesley Manville, Martin Savage This is a biopic of the British painter J.M.W. Turner (Spall). Classic art is not to everyone’s taste, and for a film like this to work there has to be something more than just the painting. True, Turner was somewhat of an eccentric, but that isn’t always enough to generate a great story. Focusing on the last quarter century of his life, we meet a Turner who is extremely close to his father, taking advantage of his housekeeper, and indifferent towards his children. Consumed by a passion for his art, he is almost manic in his creation of masterpieces. So dedicated is he to his work, that he even has himself tied to a ship’s mast, so that he can properly observe storm in order to paint it. Eventually forming a relationship with a widowed landlady, he remains an enigma, using pseudonyms in his day-today dealings, and rarely letting himself become close to others. At times equally revered and 58 EILE Magazine

reviled by the art world due to what is seen as his erratic style, he refuses to adapt to fashions, and instead doggedly continues with his work, which he plans to bequeath to his country in the hope that it will all be displayed together after his death.

Leigh is famous for his hardhitting kitchen-sink dramas, and he definitely projects a sense of that onto his depiction of Turner’s chaotic and unstructured life. This is not your average period piece, and although he is the protagonist, Turner is not portrayed as likeable – rather he is gruff, curmudgeonly and grotesque. Spall gives a wonderful performance as the acclaimed artist, and has some beautiful scenes where we get to see the artist’s inner turmoil. The cinematography is stunning – almost like a living painting – and you can sense Leigh’s underlying passion for the painter in the work. Unfortunately, he also assumes that all viewers are familiar with Turner’s life story. While I am aware of his work, I had to look him up after viewing this, as I wasn’t sure who certain

characters were, or how they fit into his world. While you don’t want every entrance announced, it would be nice if there was at least some indication of how people relate to the plot.

Like many Leigh films, there is a lot of focus on dialogue, and there are many lengthy scenes of characters simply chatting. This often works well in his gritty contemporary pieces, but the flowery language of the era does not lend itself well to drawn-out scenes of conversation. It makes the film feel much longer than it is. Leigh was clearly hoping to create a masterpiece, and at times this movie shows flashes of true greatness, but it is let down by too many dragged-out scenes, and not enough development or explanation of the supporting characters. Spall deserves many plaudits for his performance, but that alone is not enough to keep you engaged, and at times you really do feel like you are watching paint dry. Art fans will enjoy this, but for everyone else, it may prove a bit too high-brow and clever for it’s own good. In Cinemas October 31

Reviews | Frances Winston

Frances Winston on Movies Director: David Fincher Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Carrie Coon Any movie based on a global best selling novel that permeated the psyche of its readers is always eagerly anticipated, and this is no exception. Add to this that it’s directed by none other than David Fincher, who gave us thrillers such as Seven and Zodiac, and the excitement reaches fever pitch, meaning this movie has a lot of hype to live up to.

secrets and lies from their marriage come to light, and Nick finds himself persona non grata everywhere he goes. But all is not as it seems, and as the story of Amy’s disappearance goes national, Nick begins to realise that he didn’t really know his wife that well at all. Anyone who has read the book knows where this goes, and for those of you who haven’t, I don’t want to post spoilers, but I will say that there is a twist in this tale that will make you realise that we never really know what goes on behind closed doors.

In case you were wondering what it was about, the clue is in the title. On their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy Elliot-Dunne (Pike) disappears, and her husband Nick (Affleck) soon finds the finger of suspicion pointing in his direction. Seeking solace and sanity with his twin sister Margo (Coon) his world begins to unravel, as it looks more and more certain that Amy is actually dead.

Affleck and Pike are both brilliant in their roles. Pike in particular deserves a special mention, displaying a range that she has never previously been allowed to, while Affleck’s usually annoying smugness works really well in the role of the tortured Nick. Finch definitely brings out the best in his cast. Everyone here does a great job, and there is fabulous and convincing chemistry between all of the actors.

As the police delve deeper and more clues into the disappearance begin to surface,

This benefits hugely from having the screenplay written by Gillian Flynn, who also writes

the source material. She has completely retained the ethos of the book. The tension is built beautifully, and really draws you into the story from the off. You find yourself questioning every single character, and wondering what they have to hide. Within the pathos of a story like this, Fincher has managed to find a good deal of humour, and there are some intentional laugh-outloud moments, that elevate the mood the movie completely. If I had one complaint it is that at 149 minutes it is somewhat too long. The last 10 minutes simply aren’t as snappy or gripping as the rest of the movie, and this story could easily have been told in two hours or under. That aside, this is a gripping thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. A working knowledge of the book is not necessary in order to enjoy it, but if you loved the novel then you will really like this, even though it deviates slightly from the plot. In cinemas now

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Music | Nick’s Picks

Nick’s Picks Music Reviews by Nick Bassett Shipped directly from New Zealand, EILE’s music reviewer Nick Bassett (also of ChartShaker) has got the latest high-quality music from artists you should be listening to – right now. Click on any of the art work to take you straight to the sound!

Mary J. Blige – Right Now Mary J. Blige has reunited with UK electronic duo Disclosure for the searing lead cut from her upcoming thirteenth studio album The London Sessions. The pulsating, electronic dance track Right Now was produced by brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence, after the pair teamed up with the American R&B legend for a remix of their Settle album cut F For You, which reached #22 on the UK singles chart earlier this year. It further boasts co-writing credits from Jimmy Napes and British singer, Sam Smith, who paired up with Blige on a recently-released duet version of his international hit Stay With Me, and is also set to feature on a track from the upcoming LP called Therapy. “The UK is a better place to make music than the States,” a press release boldly announces about The London Sessions, which will also include collaborations with Naughty Boy and Emeli Sandé, and is scheduled for release in November via Capitol Records. 60 EILE Magazine

Kleerup feat. Susanne Sundfør – Let Me In Swedish producer and DJ Andreas Kleerup is best known for his Robyn-assisted dancefloorheartbreak anthem With Every Heartbeat which stormed to the top of the UK singles chart back in 2007. Since then Kleerup has continued to forge a strong affinity with Scandinavian songstresses, recording and releasing new material with Neneh Cherry, Marit Bergman, Lykke Li and, more recently, 2013 Eurovision champ Loreen. The latest lady from the Nordics to have found herself in the studio with him is Norway’s Susanne Sundfør who previously sang vocals on Röyksopp’s Running To The Sea and contributed towards the title track from M83’s score for the Tom Cruise sci-fi flick Oblivion. Let Me In is the result of those studio sessions and the lead cut from the first of Kleerup’s two upcoming EPs, the first of which is called As If We Never Won and will be released on 13 October via Warner Music.

Music | Nick’s Picks Wonderful Humans – Worth Your While Brian Cag and Amanda Carl are Wonderful Humans and this here, their latest release, is most definitely Worth Your While.The fixating blast of fizzing, futuristic dreampop crackles and builds into a big spacey crescendo, before exploding into a glorious chorus that sees lead singer Amanda’s absorbing and intoxicating vocals transcending all of the production theatrics. Worth Your While follows the release of the New York City duo’s previous Stateside single Edge of the Night and it is currently available as a free download from Wonderful Humans’ Soundcloud page.

WALK THE MOON – Shut Up and Dance It’s something of a tragedy that WALK THE MOON’s Anna Sun didn’t receive the commercial reception that it so rightly deserved upon its release back in 2012. Alas, the euphoric slice of joyous indie pop was one of the year’s most unsung musical heroes, gaining plenty of online blog traction that never quite materialised into mainstream success. But REJOICE. The Cincinatti band are now back with the lead cut from their upcoming third studio album – their second since signing with major label RCA – and Shut Up and Dance is as commanding and bust-a-move-making as its title suggests. Unapologetically uplifting, and packed with brainembedding pop hooks, the dancefloor-propelling battle cry is an enthralling ride from start to finish.

The Ting Tings – Do It Again The Ting Tings, most famous for their 2008 chart topper That’s Not My Name and follow up Shut Up And Let Me Go, returned earlier this year under a new head of funk-fuelled steam with the criminally under-acknowledged Wrong Club and their latest cut Do It Again continues to capitalise on the recently-reenergised disco chart takeover. The Manchester duo’s second taster for their October-due album Super Critical sees Katie White and Jules de Martino’s enticing vocals layered against an addictive, looping backdrop of dancefloor-beckoning beats and Nile Rodgersesque guitar riffs. EILE Magazine 61

Film | Oscars 2015

Brazil Selects LGBT Film for Foreign Language Submission at 2015 Oscars A Brazilian LGBT film will represent the country in the hope of being nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2015 Oscars. The film, “Hoje eu Quero Voltar Sozinho” (The Way He Looks) by Daniel Ribeiro, is the Brazilian choice to compete for a vacancy on the top five 2015 Oscar’s ‘Foreign Language Films’ category. The film tells the story of Léo (Ghilherme Lobo), a blind teenager who falls in love with a new classmate, Gabriel (Fabio Audi). At the same time, he has to deal with an overprotective mother and the quest for freedom. The film had its global début at the famous Berlin Festival in February. The movie was awarded the Teddy Award for Best Feature Film in GLBT category. The announcement was made last week in São Paulo by the Brazilian Minister of Culture, Marta Suplicy. “It is a universal language film”, the Minister explained, “with a story that could happen 62 EILE Magazine

anywhere in the world. It is an extremely positive film, [which] addresses the issue of homosexuality with a rare delicacy”. The film’s director, Daniel Ribeiro, celebrated the nomination and wrote on his Facebook: “Greatest happiness in the world”. The film was chosen by a committee of experts, such as the General Coordinator of Sustainable Development of the Audiovisual Secretariat at the Ministry of Culture, Sylvia

Regina Bahiense Naves, the president of Television Latin America (TAL), Orlando Senna Salles and George Torquato Firmeza. The nominees for Best Foreign Language Film will be announced on January 15, 2015. The 87th edition of the Oscars will be on February 22.

Music | One to Watch

One to Watch

Gabe Lopez

Gabe Lopez is an openly-gay singer, songwriter and music producer, who has worked with the likes of New Kids On the Block, Belinda Carlisle and James Brown.

Lopez’ latest single, Cuz U Like Boys, is a tongue-in-cheek play on sexuality, and is from his third album, It’s Obvious It’s Obvious. The Godfather of Soul, James Brown, once stated to the press, “Mr. Lopez gets the funk. He gives us hope for the future of music.” Lopez at the time had written two songs for what would be Brown’s final album. There are elements of soul and funk on Lopez’ new album, but the album is mostly steeped in poprock with influences that range from dance to indie to ballads.

radioplay, and he recently has been featured on American radio and in clubs with his new singles “Red Light”, “Butch Cassidy”,“Hush Your Mind” and “Cuz U Like Boys.” For more information, visit gabelopez. com, or check out his Facebook and Twitter profiles. To listen to Cuz U Like Boys and download the single for free, click here.

He recently opened for Belinda Carlisle on her 2014 UK tour at venues such as the IndigO2 in London, Manchester Cathedral, Birmingham Town Hall and more. Lopez’ songs have received strong EILE Magazine 63

HIV | Women’s Health

Women Living With HIV M. Butler takes a look at the often overlooked effects of HIV on women Much of the literature that is readily available on HIV is about gay men and MSM. Information on how HIV affects women, or how it has been transmitted to women, may not be so easy to come by.

is a woman. The majority of newly diagnosed HIV cases in women in the US in 2011 was of 25-44 year-olds. Of those diagnosed, 64% were African-American, 18% white, and 15% Hispanic/ Latino.

As HIV is spread through blood, vaginal fluids, semen or breastmilk, the most common ways that women are infected is Yet according to the US through unprotected sex Centers for Disease Control with a HIV-positive male, and Prevention (CDC) one in or through needle-sharing four people living with HIV during drug use with a 64 EILE Magazine

HIV positive person. They may also be infected due to high-risk behaviour after drug or alcohol use. During unprotected sex, HIV is transmitted more easily from a man to a woman, than from a woman to a man. Less common, and harder to trace, is transmission of HIV from one female partner to another female, even in an exclusive relationship of women who have sex with women (WSW). The CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report for March 14, this year, does outline such

HIV | Women’s Health

a case, in an article titled “Likely Female to Female Sexual Transmission of HIV - Texas 2012” by Shirley K. Chan et al. In the United States, HIV testing is recommended for everyone from 13 to 64 years of age, yet 15% of women do not know they are infected. Approximately 111,940 women with the disease had died by the end of 2010 since the beginning of the epidemic. Although antiretroviral medications are recommended for both male and female HIV-positive individuals, the side-effects may be more severe for women. For instance, the risk of liver-disease due to nevirapine is greater for women than for men, and birth control and pregnancy also affect the use of HIV medications by women. HIV medication may reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills, leading to changing or using additional forms of birth control. HIV medication is taken by the pregnant woman to protect her own health, and to reduce the risk of motherto-child transmission

of HIV. However, many factors can affect the use of HIV medication by the pregnant woman, including how the body processes the medication during changes which occur as a result of pregnancy. This may necessitate changes in the dosage or type of medication. The above mentioned side-effects from medication such as nevirapine are also an issue during pregnancy. While there is no clear link between birth defects and HIV medication, there is a potential risk. During the first weeks of pregnancy, there is some concern that efavirenz may increase the risk of birth defects. As a result of these risks, women in the US are encouraged to enrol on the Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry, which monitors prenatal exposure to HIV medication, and to monitor any potential risk of birth defects.

Approximately 111,940 women with the disease had died by the end of 2010 since the beginning of the epidemic.

” defects, and of the possible necessity to higher or change the antiretroviral medication to ensure that there is less risk of HIV transmission to the child during pregnancy.

Counselling is also recommended for women who are HIV-positive, and are intending to attempt to start a family. In this way they can be made aware of the potential risk of birth

EILE Magazine 65

News | Facebook

Drag Queens’ Victory As Facebook Apologises It was victory for the Drag Queens as Facebook apologised yesterday, and said that it will build new authentication tools to deal with accounts which are flagged as being fake. Facebook also stated:”We owe you a better service and a better experience using Facebook”. Chris Cox of Facebook said yesterday: “I want to apologize to the affected community of drag queens, drag kings, transgender, and extensive community of our friends, neighbors, and members of the LGBT community for the hardship that we’ve put you through in dealing with your Facebook accounts over the past few weeks. In the two weeks since the realname policy issues surfaced, we’ve had the chance to hear from many of you in these 66 EILE Magazine

communities and understand the policy more clearly as you experience it. We’ve also come to understand how painful this has been. We owe you a better service and a better experience using Facebook, and we’re going to fix the way this policy gets handled so everyone affected here can go back to using Facebook as you were. [...] All that said, we see through this event that there’s lots of room for improvement in the reporting and enforcement mechanisms, tools for understanding who’s real and who’s not, and the customer service for anyone who’s affected. These have not worked flawlessly and we need to fix that. With this input, we’re already underway building better tools for authenticating the Sister Romas of the world while not opening up Facebook to bad actors. And we’re taking measures to provide much more deliberate customer service to those accounts that get flagged so that we can manage these in a less abrupt and more thoughtful way.

Chris Cox of Facebook

To everyone affected by this, thank you for working through this with us and helping us to improve the safety and authenticity of the Facebook experience for everyone.” (eile.ie / October 2)

News | Trans Equality

First Employers’ Seminar on Trangender Equality and Diversity Leading Irish companies met today for the first time to discuss how they can support transgender employees in their workplaces. The seminar ‘Creating Transgender Inclusive Workplaces’ was jointly organised by GLEN Diversity Champions programme and Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI). Increasingly diverse workforces mean that employers need to upskill, to ensure that all their employees are treated with respect, explained Davin Roche, Director at Diversity Champions, the Irish network of employers committed to LGBT inclusion & diversity at work. “This is good for their employees and for their business and it sets a strong signal that their workplaces are inclusive of everyone. This seminar brings employers together for the first time to understand how to support their transgender employees”. TENI’s recent ‘Speaking from the Margins’ report showed that 43% of trans people had experienced problems at work as a result of their trans identity or trans history. Broden Giambrone, Chief Executive of TENI, explained that today’s seminar was “a wonderful opportunity to show the ways in which employers can bring about positive change”. “The workplace can be, and is, a hugely difficult place for trans

people. Inclusion often fails to fully acknowledge the reality of trans experiences or trans identities, so this is a great opportunity for employers to be truly inclusive. By taking positive steps, employers can create positive and inclusive work environments that benefit their entire workforce”. Speaking at today’s seminar, Sara Phillips, Area Sales Manager at Tremco illbruck, spoke of her workplace experience during her transition: “The fact that Tremco took a positive, respectful and authoritative view to my transition was, without doubt, intrinsically linked to the successful outcome. Diversity can bring benefits. Clients understand that if a company treats its employees properly, it will treat its clients properly also”. Debbie Mullerworth, Human Resources Manager at Tremco illbruck, reflected Phillips’ opinion, adding that by having an inclusive workplace, one where employees are recognised and valued regardless of their gender identity, brings great benefits to a company. “We want staff to feel respected and enabled to be themselves and by removing the barriers that prevent them from doing so will increase engagement, motivation and productivity – this is turn can only have a positive impact on the Company, helping it go from strength to strength”.

(eile.ie - September 23) EILE Magazine 67

GLEN | Legislation

GLEN: New Legislative Programme Has Major Commitments For LGBT People

The Irish Government Legislation Programme for the Autumn 2014 session, announced today by the Chief Whip, Paul Kehoe TD, contains major commitments to further progress for lesbian and gay, and transgender people. “The commitment of the Government and of Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald to bring forward the Children and Family Relationships Bill this term is very welcome” said Kieran Rose, GLEN Chair. “This parenting legislation, which will recognise the different family forms in Ireland, is of critical importance to a wide range of families, including lesbian and gay headed families, and is urgently needed” said Rose.

68 EILE Magazine

“The Legislative programme also contains a welcome commitment to bring forward the Gender Recognition Bill in this Dáil term” said Rose. According to the Government’s news service: “The Legislative Programme approved by Cabinet today contains proposals to publish a number of Bills to implement the Government’s reform agenda across a number of Departments. The ongoing reform will involve the publication of Bills in areas including a Judicial Council, Children & Family Relationships, Gender Recognition, Planning & Development, Climate Action and Admissions to Schools among others”. “The Government’s approval of this Legislative Programme

confirms a focus on job creation, economic recovery and fulfilling Programme for Government commitments as outlined by Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD and Tánaiste Joan Burton TD in their Statement of Government Priorities in July 2014.” The Gender Recognition Bill will provide for ” the legal recognition of the acquired gender of transgender people.” The full “Government Legislation Programme Autumn Session 2014″, published yesterday 17th, can be read HERE (eile.ie / September 18)

GLEN | Legislation

GLEN Welcomes Publication of Revised Details of Children and Family Relationships Bill The Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD today published the revised General Scheme for the Children and Family Relationships Bill which was approved by the Government this week. The General Scheme has been updated following the public hearings on it conducted by the Oireachtas Justice Committee earlier this year. Ireland now has many different types of families into which children are born and raised, including step-parent families, families headed by cohabiting couples, lesbian and gay headed families and families headed by members of the extended family. “The Bill sets out to ensure that children

across all family forms enjoy the same duties of care from those parenting them and can form a legal relationship with those parents” said GLEN’s Kieran Rose. “We particularly welcome that the key principle of the best interests of the child will underpin all the proposed reforms. Extending the range of people who can take on the duties and responsibilities of care to a child through guardianship can ensure that the best interests of a child are fulfilled” said Rose. The revised Heads of Bill proposes a range of changes in the areas of guardianship, custody and access, in maintenance provisions, in adoption, in the area of parenting for children born through assisted human

reproduction, and updates civil partnership legislation to take account of children being parented by civil partners. “We welcome the publication of the revised General Scheme of the Bill. The commitment of the Government and of Minister Fitzgerald to update parenting legislation to recognise the different family forms in Ireland is of critical importance to a wide range of families, including lesbian and gay headed families” said Kieran Rose, GLEN Chair. “GLEN will study these proposals carefully. We look forward to engaging with the Government and members of the Oireachtas on the Bill” concluded Rose. (eile.ie / September 28)

EILE Magazine 69

News | Serbia

Serbia Sees First Pride Festival In Four Years

The Serbian capital of Belgrade bore witness to the country’s first LGBT pride festival in four years last weekend, as hundreds took to the streets in a peaceful march through the city. Members of the LGBT community and several members of the Serbian authorities gathered over the weekend to march through Belgrade, which has not had a Pride event since 2010, when the last parade erupted into rioting due to strong opposition from right-wing groups. According to Serbian website inserbia.info: Officials from the Serbian government and foreign embassies joined the Parade. These included Minister without Portfolio Jadranka Joksimovic, State Administration Minister Kori 70 EILE Magazine

Udovicki, head of the Serbian team for the accession talks with the EU Tanja Miscevic, head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Michael Davenport, US Ambassador Michael Kirby, Commissioner for Protection of Equality Nevena Petrusic, Belgrade Mayor Sinisa Mali, Liberal Democratic Party leader Cedomir Jovanovic, officials of the Democratic Party and various public and cultural figures, like writer Biljana Srbljanovic and film director Srdjan Dragojevic. The event comes as a major success for the Serbian LGBT community, who have been trying to organise another Pride festival since the controversial march in 2010. The positive move this year, however, coincides with Serbia’s attempts to improve its human rights reputation, in order to achieve EU membership. In spite of the coincidence, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic

said that the decision to allow Belgrade Pride go ahead this year was not because of the EU: “I’m proud of my Belgraders and other citizens of Serbia. […] We didn’t do this because of the EU, but out of respect for the constitution, the law and respect for all, regardless of how hard it might be or how far it might conflict with our own personal views.” According to Reuters, the EU’s envoy to Serbia, Briton Michael Davenport, told local media: “This march is an important step in the protection of fundamental human rights in Serbia that all people must enjoy, including the LGBT population.”

(eile.ie / September 29)

News | Serbia

Belgrade Hosts International LGBT Conference

An international conference on LGBT rights launches later today in Belgrade, with many delegates from across the EU attending the event at the Metropol Hotel. ‘The future belongs to us: LGBT rights on the road to the European Union’ is the title of the European conference opening today, organised by Germany’s Hirschfeld-Eddy Foundation from Germany and Labris, a Serbian lesbian human rights organisation, in a partnership with Civil Right Defenders and YUCOM – Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights. According to InSerbia News, a Turkish documentary on LGBT children and their parents, titled ‘My Child’, will be screened at the Belgrade City Hall later today to launch the conference. The key note speeches will be delivered by President of the Human Rights and Gender Equality Committee of the Serbian parliament Meho Omerovic, Terry Reintke

MEP, and Christoph Strässer, Member of the German Bundestag and German Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid. Other speakers of note include Nils Ragnar Kamsvåg, the Norwegian Ambassador to Serbia, and Laurent Louis Stokvis, the Dutch Ambassador, in a discussion titled ‘LGBT people in Europe: Opportunities and Challenges for the Balkans’. The conference will also look at Serbia’s draft legislation on same-sex partnership and gender identity. The full programme of the conference is available here, from the Hirschfeld-Eddy Foundation website. (eile.ie / September 12)

EILE Magazine 71

News | Russia

Russia: St Petersburg – Gas Attack on LGBT “QueerFest” QueerFest, the annual LGBT festival held in St Petersburg, and scheduled from 18 – 28th September this year, has had to cancel many of its events, due to gas attacks, threats to participants, and venues cancelling just before an event was to take place. This was the situation on Thursday last when the opening event, already cancelled by the scheduled venue just 90 minutes before, and moved to another venue, was then attacked by protesters. These were led by Vitaly Milonov, he of the Russian anti-gay laws fame. Milonov tried to enter the QueerFest event, which was invitation only, but was stopped by security guards. He shouted obscenities, but left shortly after. It was at this point that the protesters attacked, throwing gas vials and squirting green liquid at 72 EILE Magazine

the LGBT community who had attended the event. There were also foreign diplomats present, who witnessed the attacks. Anna Anisimova, one of the organisers of QueerFest, said over twenty people had their clothes sprayed with the green dye. The St Petersburg ombudsman had two officials present, and they were also subjected to the green liquid. The police only intervened on the arrival of the ombudsman, Alexander Shishlov, who requested that they protect the LGBT participants. The QueerFest website reported the events as follows: “Today started with a call from the main venue, receiving threats. 1,5 hours before the festival was scheduled to open, the owner of the building (same building that hosts “Manifesta 10″ biennale headquarters) informed us through his representative that our contract was annulled.

Reason given “compromised integrity of the arch over the entrance into the building, which may result in its collapse”. Needless to say, this public threat did not impede all other events in the building to proceed as planned”. The organisers were very proud of their volunteers, who had moved the equipment to the new venue in less than an hour. Polina Andrianova, one of the organisers, stated: “The ceremony was a success. While QueerFest’s security barricaded the door from Vitaly Milonov and his friends, who proceeded to insult and push guests, representatives of human rights organizations and European and the US diplomatic missions in St. Petersburg spoke of the importance of respect for human rights and nonviolence”. MKB - September 25

News | Egypt

Grindr: Egyptian Police Arrest LGBT People Using Entrapment Grindr has warned people using their site that they should hide their identities, as the Egyptian police are arresting LGBT people, and may be posing as gay on social media to entrap users. In an alert on its site Grindr states: “Egypt is arresting LGBT people, and police may be posing as LGBT on social media to entrap you. Please be careful about arranging meetings with people you don’t know, and be careful about posting anything that might reveal your identity”. Grindr has answered critics about the level of security which has allowed Egyptian authorities to gain possible access to the site by stating that it is taking proactive steps to keep users safe in countries “with a history of violence against the gay community”. It will include Egypt in a list of countries which are protected by a ‘location change’: “Any user who connects to Grindr in these countries will have their distance hidden automatically by default, which include Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Liberia, Sudan and Zimbabwe. There are many more countries already being protected by this location change, and we will

continue to add more to the list”. However this will not affect countries without anti-gay laws or sentiment: “Users that are not located in countries with anti-gay legislation will be able to see distance in profiles, as we believe geolocation technology is the best way to help guys meet up simply and efficiently. However, should you wish to hide your location data, simply open the side menu, tap ‘Settings’, then ‘Privacy’ and turn ‘Show Distance’ off”. The situation for the LGBT community in Egypt, however, appears to be worsening, with social media now being used to identify and arrest LGBT people. According to Al-Ahram: “Same-sex consensual homosexual conduct is not explicitly criminalised by Egyptian law, but samesex marriage is not legal. Nonetheless, homosexuals have been arrested and punished in the past on morality charges under several laws, including debauchery, immorality or contempt of religion”. Ahram online also states that, on Thursday, an Egyptian court sentenced six men to two years in jail with hard labour for “committing debauchery”. The

men were also fined for being caught “red-handed” during a raid on an apartment. The apartment was allegedly promoted on Facebook as a gay meeting place. Earlier in the week, eight men were arrested for being on video at a gay wedding aboard a boat: “The defendants, arrested earlier in September also over “inciting debauchery,” tested negative in controversial medical examinations conducted to detect homosexuality”. The men were released after their ‘tests for homosexuality’ were said to be negative, and the men also claimed that it was not really a wedding video, it was a joke, despite rings being exchanged between the gay couple. In response to the possible infiltration of its site, Grindr says it is committed to the security of its users: “There is nothing that matters to us more than the safety and security of our user and the Grindr community. We will continue to find ways to keep our users private, especially in countries with anti-gay legislation”. MKB

EILE Magazine 73

News | UN

UN: Landmark Resolution On AntiGay Bias, Ireland Among Supporters The UN Human Rights Council resolution, passed on September 26, 2014, to combat violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, is a critically important achievement for upholding the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 25 human rights and other groups said today. The new resolution follows a June 2011 resolution by the Human Rights Council that was the first by a UN body on human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, and 42 additional co-sponsors introduced the resolution. In its presentation to the Council, Chile stated that “this resolution does not seek to create new rights…there are some whose rights are more violated and need more protection.” Colombia added “the report that we request is part of existing international law.” The resolution passed by a vote of 25 to 14, with 7 abstentions, with support from all regions and an increased base of support since 2011. The resolution survived a total of seven hostile amendments, 74 EILE Magazine

seeking to strip the resolution of all references to sexual orientation and gender identity. Brazil stated that the proposed amendments would “seek to radically change the purpose and focus of the resolution and change its substance.”

rights for everyone,” said Monica Tabengwa, LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch and an ILGA board member, Kenya. “We intend to press the Council to keep these concerns atop its agenda and to ensure sustained attention and action.”

Advocates welcomed supportive remarks by the newly appointed UN high commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, earlier in the council session.

Ireland was among the states that voted in favour of the resolution which were as follows:

“There is no justification ever, for the degrading, the debasing or the exploitation of other human beings – on whatever basis: nationality, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age or caste,” Al Hussein stated. These comments follow on groundbreaking work by his predecessor, Navi Pillay, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. “The Human Rights Council resolution is a significant moment for global LGBTI movements, and for people around the world who have worked tirelessly for human

Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Montenegro, Peru, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Romania, South Africa, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom, United States of America, Venezuela, Viet Nam. Those who voted against included: Algeria, Botswana, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon Indonesia, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, The Russian Federation There were also a number of abstentions. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and ILGA are among those groups who support this statement.

(eile.ie / September 27)

Events | Ed Murray

Openly Gay Mayor of Seattle Gives Talk on LGBT Diversity in Dublin have for young Irish or American people when coming out, Mayor Murray said that people should be sure that the person is safe: “Be sure that you’re in a community where you’re safe, or be sure that you can get [to] somewhere safe. That’s my first piece of advice. My second piece of advice is [for others] to really paint a picture for them, about the promise in the world that they live in, and the hopeful situation which exists today.” Murray also made a fascinating comparison between racism, homophobia and sectarianism, when describing his own coming out experience, as well as previous visits to Ireland: Ed Murray, the openly gay Mayor of Seattle, was guest of honour at a talk on LGBT diversity in the workplace in Dublin yesterday, where he was hailed as a champion of LGBT rights in his home city and throughout Washington State. Mayor Murray was invited to speak about his experiences regarding LGBT diversity and equality in the business world, both in Washington and Ireland, at the EY (Ernst & Young) Ireland offices in Dublin, by the firm’s LGBT group, UNITY. The talk was hosted by Catherine Vaughan, Global Compliance Leader at EY, and also included speakers from EY and GLEN’s Diversity Champions. At the event, Murray spoke of advantages experienced by numerous multinational companies in the US in actively supporting LGBT employees, including Microsoft and Starbucks, the latter of which was founded in Seattle. When asked what advice he would

“I first came to Ireland forty years ago, in 1974, when I graduated from high school. […] I was working in a volunteer programme in Belfast. […] I was experiencing something that I would only experience twice in my life: I was really skinny and I had a lot of thick, red hair, and I was arrested on a pretty regular basis by the British Army, just because I looked, I dunno, I looked ‘Irish’ or something. It was a new experience for someone who [grew] up white in America. The next time I would experience that was when I came out as a gay man. I would experience that in employment, I would experience it on the streets… it was quite a traumatic experience.” Murray was quick to stress, however, the positive developments and attitudes towards LGBT people in Ireland and the US. These have made sure that “the world has changed” for the better, while much work is still needed to achieve equality in the business and wider communities.

(eile.ie / September 30) EILE Magazine 75

News | Equal Marriage

Irish Farming Community Supports Equal Marriage, Poll Finds A new poll published in yesterday’s Irish Examiner found that farmers would vote in favour of marriage for lesbian and gay couples, if a referendum were held today. The poll, conducted by Behaviour and Attitudes, showed that if the referendum were held today 46% of farmers would vote in favour with 41% not in favour. Support was highest among farmers under 35 years of age, at 64%, and amongst women (60%). The majority of farmers aged from 35 to 44 and 45 to 54 also support equal marriage (48% and 53% respectively). Farmers over 65 years of age were least likely to vote for equal marriage if a referendum were held today, with 73% saying that they would vote against. 13% said that they didn’t know which way they would vote.

“These poll results are another welcome demonstration of the transformation in attitudes to lesbian and gay people in rural Ireland and the willingness to extend equal status and dignity in our Constitution to lesbian and gay couples” said Brian Sheehan, Director of GLEN. “It builds on the success of Civil Partnership where over 1,500 couples, across every county and community in Ireland have celebrated their love and commitment to each other, warmly supported by their families, friends and neighbours” continued Sheehan.

young farmers supported equal marriage. Macra and GLEN have jointly produced a guide on supporting LGBT people in rural Ireland. “Irish people take Constitutional change seriously”, said Sheehan, “and we expect that people will have questions about this change. The poll finding for older farmers shows that we have work to do to persuade people of our case”.

“Irish people’s thoughts on this issue are constantly evolving. We look forward to talking with many people over the coming months to understand, “That positive support has and hopefully answer, their been reflected in the very concerns and to explain why warm reception which GLEN marriage matters to lesbian have received at our stand at and gay couples” concluded this year’s National Ploughing Sheehan. Championships” said Sheehan. eile.ie / September 25 The Examiner poll results build on the findings of a Macra na Feirme poll last week, which found that 52% of EILE Magazine 79

Scotland: 54% of LGBT Voters in Favour of Independence

Over half of Scottish LGBT voters want to see Scotland break away from the rest of the United Kingdom, according to the recently-published results of a poll carried out by a British news site. The British LGBT news site, PinkNews, surveyed 2,163 Scottish voters, and found that 54% intend to vote Yes in the independence referendum, which will take place this Thursday. Of those voting for independence, 56% were supporters of the Labour Party in Scotland. Those surveyed who were not Scottish, however, were found to be strongly on the No side. 1,204 non-Scottish people were

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also surveyed, and of those, 87% said they opposed an independent Scotland. Overall, while 54% of LGBT people supported independence, 44% were against a split, and 2% were still undecided. Joseph Patrick McCormick, Editor of PinkNews, said that the topic of Scottish independence has spilled over “considerably” into the LGBT arena. “It has been interesting how keenly and passionatelyfought the battle around independence has been”, McCormick explained. “We’ve been continually receiving statements and columns from both sides which have passionately sought to convey that LGBT people will be

better off with the outcome they are seeking. The battle for the [LGBT] vote indicates possibly just how close the vote for independence will be.” Scotland’s devolved government in Holyrood has already approved of legalising same-sex marriage, which should come into effect early in 2015. England and Wales already have marriage equality, which means that Northern Ireland will soon be left as the last country within the United Kingdom with no plans for the introduction of same-sex marriage. - eile.ie, September 6 (NOTE: Despite the majority opinion for independence from the LGBT community, Scotland voted against leaving the UK).

Feature | Dublin Lesbian Line

EILE Magazine 51

Smoke Season

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