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Magazine Issue 12 – May 2014

Travel

Cape Town Dublin Gay Theatre Festival

Darren Shan

David Turpin

on Zombies

Inside:

Fashion & Film | Health | California Dispatch


EILE Magazine | Who’s Who

Contributors Jon Beaupré Based in Los Angeles, Jon is a professor of TV, Film & Media Studies at California State University’s LA campus. He is also a member of the This Way Out team. Simon Crawford Simon is a photographer and videographer based in Belfast, specialising in portraiture, fashion and nightlife photography. 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. Mark Graham Mark is from Port Laoise and is a graduate of English from University College Dublin, who has produced several fashion shows for charity. Dr. Shay Keating Shay has his clinic at the Harold’s Cross Surgery in south Dublin and is a specialist in Genitourinary Medicine at St. James’ Hospital, Dublin. Lisa Reynolds Originally from County Meath, Lisa is a fashion industry student living in Bray, County Wicklow. Ben Rylan Ben Rylan is a freelance journalist, radio and television producer from Melbourne, Australia. He is Executive Producer of Saturday Magazine, a weekly world news and queer culture program on LGBTI radio station JOY 94.9. Frances Winston Frances Winston is EILE’s resident film buff, and has contributed to many publications such as The Irish Independent and Irish Tatler.

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EILE Magazine | Welcome

Highlights May 2014 The Late David Turpin – P.6 We chat with the otherworldly Irish musician ahead of his performance in Dublin this month

Darren Shan – P.42 Interview with the ‘Zom-B’ writer with a conscience for social justice

Travel: Cape Town – P.22 We travel to the Rainbow Nation to find one of the best LGBT holiday destinations

Truth & Lies – P.56 Ben Rylan looks at LGBT history in Russia and the Ukraine

Dublin Gay Theatre Festival – P.35 A look ahead to the 11th International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival

Volume 1, Issue 12 Editor-in-Chief: Scott De Buitléir Features Editor: MKB Contributors: Jon Beaupré, MKB, Simon Crawford, Mark Graham, Shay Keating, Lisa Reynolds, Ben Rylan, Frances Winston 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 Contact: eilemagazine@outlook.com Twitter: @EileMagazine Facebook: http://fb.com/eilemagazine Note: All opinions expressed in this issue are the writers’ own.

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…and much more! EILE Magazine 3


EILE Magazine | Editor’s Letter

Contents 6-

David Turpin

Change is Coming

10 - LGBT News Round-Up 12 -

Dublin Dance Festival

18 -

Fashion & Film

22 -

Cape Town

26 - Book Review: Dads 28 - California Dispatch 32 -

Film Reviews

35 -

Dublin Gay Theatre

Festival

38 -

Menswear

42 -

Darren Shan

44 -

Photography

54 -

Pride Run

56 -

Russia/Ukraine

70 -

Sexual Health

As the weather finally began to take a turn for the better, I decided to go for a stroll along the Liffey in Dublin. Maybe it was the appearance of an unfamiliar yellow ball in the sky, but people were relaxed and enjoying themselves. I passed by one couple that were tourists, sitting on one of the benches on the boardwalk, and snuggled up to one another. They were clearly enjoying the Dublin sun, taking a romantic moment to appreciate being in each other’s company. What put a smile on my face was that these two were both guys; openly affectionate and relaxed, and what was even better, no-one was bothering them. Soon, I decided to venture towards the cricket grounds of Trinity College, an idyllic spot when the weather is good. As I passed the library building, I noticed another gay couple, casually sitting by the wall, lost in conversation with each other, and holding hands. Again, no-one was bothering them, or drawing attention to them. They were just another lovedup couple in Dublin, and they were treated as such. Change is certainly coming for LGBT people, both here in Ireland and elsewhere. This issue marks a full year of EILE Magazine. In the past 12 months, we’ve seen a great deal of change; from equal marriage laws being passed in Britain, to meeting the new generation of openly-gay politicians in Ireland, north and south. We began our journey at just the right time, as the best is yet to come. We are also delighted to announce that EILE Magazine is this year’s LGBT Media Partner in Ireland for the Dublin Pride festival! EILE will be home to all the latest information, updates, competitions, event listings and interviews for the second largest festival in Ireland, second only to the St. Patrick’s Day Festival. We are very proud to be working with Dublin Pride this year in spreading the word about this wonderful event.

Scott De Buitléir

Founder/Editor, EILE Magazine EILE Magazine 4


Galway News | LGBT | Uganda Centre

Galway Calls for Its Own LGBT Resource Centre

The LGBT community in Galway are calling on the local authorities to provide them with their own community resource centre, according to local media reports. Amach LGBT intend to present Mayor Pádraig Conneely and City Manager, Brendan McGrath, with a petition of over one thousand signatures next Monday, calling for Galway to be given its own LGBT community centre. Amach LGBT Galway has laid out a “comprehensive plan” for a new LGBT resource centre in Galway city. Galway City

Council has already allocated €3,000 of funding for the project, promising a further €2,000 once a suitable location for the centre is found. The plans for a new centre are already part of the Galway City Development Plan 2011-2017. According to the Galway Advertiser:

provide services and support for LGBT people. We have everything in place and are ready to go. All we are asking is for City Hall to progress the commitments in the City Development Plan.” Ms Ward also believes that attitudes towards LGBT people “have changed for the better, but there is still a lot of work to do in addressing support for people and issues like rural isolation”.

“We want to be self-sustaining and for that, the centre, which would cover both the city and county, would be located in the city centre,” Nuala Ward, the For more on Amach LGBT vice-chair of AMACH! told the Galway, visit amachlgbt.com. Galway Advertiser. “It would be open to everybody and (eile.ie / April 25) EILE Magazine 5


Interview | The Late David Turpin

David Turpin The Late

in conversation with Scott De BuitlĂŠir

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Interview | The Late David Turpin

If you have never heard of him before, but have only seen the name, you may be surprised that The Late David Turpin is still alive and kicking enough to be able to perform as part of this year’s Dublin Gay Theatre Festival. We caught up with the young Irish musician to find out about near-death experiences, how they influenced his music and the upcoming show. EILE: Explain the name to us – The Late David Turpin – are you talking to us from beyond the grave? DT: I kind of am. I had an accident in the sea a couple of years ago, and I went into hypothermia. My heart-rate was undetectable for 28 seconds. Last year, when I finished We Belong Dead, it felt very different to what I’d done before, and I wanted to give it a clean slate. I thought, “What can I change my name to and still be factual?” and I chose The Late David Turpin. Actually, you have to have no detectable heart-rate for 30 seconds in order to be declared clinically dead, so there’s a bit of artistic license going on, but that’s okay. With songs like the catchy Bone Dance, and the album, “We Belong Dead”, has death become

a running theme in your music? Or is it only temporary? DT: Ever since I was a small child I was fascinated with ghosts and skeletons, as I guess a lot of children are. The difference is that they grow out of it, and I didn’t. I love the imagery of the spooky and the supernatural in quite a tonguein-cheek way, but there’s a serious side to the theme as well. Western culture at large is in such denial of death, and yet an awareness and acceptance of death is so essential if we’re to really value our lives and the lives of others. I also think the theme of death is important in gay cultural history. There’s the legacy of the AIDS crisis, of course – but right from the start of gay history, we were thought of as not having children, as not having access to “genetic immortality”. That’s changing now, of course, but I think that an awareness of impermanence, of the transience of life, is really built into the history of gay art. Do you feel there is something for us after death? I have no idea. There’s so much damage we can do while we’re alive, I think we should concentrate on not doing that, and let the rest take care of itself. What I do think about, is what the afterlife of our

planet might be after humans as a species become extinct. That’s what the album title, We Belong Dead, is referring to – the idea that humans are destined for extinction, and that maybe after our extinction what we’ve left of the animal kingdom can reclaim what we’ve left of the planet. How do you feel being openly gay has affected your music, both creatively and professionally? Is being a gay musician in Ireland difficult? I made a decision a long time ago that there was too much at stake in making a record for me to waste my energies fudging my pronouns. When I was being shopped around for record deals in my late teens – back when that used to happen – I was always told that it was best to keep music “universal”, to make everything vague so nobody felt excluded. And yet, when I thought about the music I loved – from Serge Gainsbourg through to Laurie Anderson, and even into more straightforward pop – it was the specificity of the lyrics that really drew me in, that made me feel included in an artist’s world. Professionally, I don’t know how I’ve been affected by being openly gay. There’s always incidents – I’ve been called

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Interview | The Late David Turpin

“it” by a sound engineer, I’ve had people shout “faggot” out of the audience. Those kind of incidents aren’t specific to the music scene, but they do make me wonder why, as a gay person, I’ve become accustomed to that kind of abuse. On the positive side, although there’s definitely a straight boy’s club in certain Irish music circles, one of the best things about being outside those circles is that I’ve been able to cross over into the fine art world and into the theatre world, and to work with people from different disciplines. Another plus is that I’ve been at ease collaborating with brilliant female musicians – with Cathy Davey, Niamh Farrell, Cora Venus Lunny. It’s an amazing thing about gangs of straight boys – they think they rule the world, but they’re terrified of women. That’s never been a problem for me. Your show is part of the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival this year. Tell us a bit about it (and why you wanted it to be part of the festival). I’m doing a pair of concerts in the Cobalt Cafe, with a vocal trio and live electronics, which I think is going to sound 8 EILE Magazine

beautiful, because it’s quite an intimate space. I have some very special guest performers too, and I’ll be announcing them in the days before the shows, so I’m really excited about that. I love doing shows that are outside the usual music circuit – I’ve had great experiences working with Dublin Fringe Festival – so when I was invited to do this, I said yes straight away. Also, I’ve never been part of a specifically gay festival before. Some of my friends were joking and saying that most theatre festivals are a minimum 75% gay anyway, but you certainly couldn’t say that about music events, so I’m really happy to be representing for gay musicians in this year’s festival. Where next for The Late David Turpin? I put everything into We Belong Dead, so it’s taken me a while to figure out where to go next. I’ve been writing for film, and I’ve just signed up to work on a new musical that’s being developed in London. I hope you can expect to hear more about that in January. Closer to home, I’ve been working on a single for Veda Beaux Reves, which will be out this summer.

It’s quite a hard-edged dance song, which is really refreshing after the album. Veda is really great to collaborate with, and I don’t know that she gets the credit she deserves as a songwriter. She’s terrific with lyrics and delivery – very sharp, very clever. The Late David Turpin performs on May 16 & 17 at the Cobalt Café as part of the 11th International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival. Visit gaytheatre.ie for more information.


News | Round-Up

LGBT Monthly News Roun Belfast’s Gay Club Kremlin Goes on Market for £3Million

and Andre Graham, although for the last five years, it has been run under a ten-year lease by Anthea Wilson from Anthology NI Ltd. The lease for the property is due to expire in April 2019. Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Tim Reid of CBRE said:

The Kremlin, Belfast’s main gay venue, has gone on the property market for three million pounds. The site in question contains three self-contained units, which make up a large portion of Belfast’s gay nightlife; Union Street, the Shoe Factory (which hosts many of Union Street’s club nights) and Kremlin. The news of such a property going on the market is expected to attract major attention, as the premises are located close to Belfast’s new gay bar, Maverick, while also being situated near the University of Ulster’s city campus and the artistic Cathedral Quarter. The complex is currently owned by Seamus Sweeney 10 EILE Magazine

“The Kremlin complex is one of Belfast’s best-performing and well known licensed premises. The opportunity provides an investor with a secure, highyielding income stream for a further five years, with the opportunity to renew the lease at expiry or potentially operate the establishment themselves.” CBRE are seeking offers in the region of £3m for the property. “This would show an investor an attractive net initial yield of 11.2% after purchaser’s costs,” Mr Reid said. While the three clubs – Kremlin, Union Street and the Shoe Factory – are independent units, Mr Reid explained that they were designed to compliment, rather than compete, with one another. It is not certain what the future of the three clubs will

be if bought by a new owner, or whether or not they will continue to be part of Belfast’s gay scene. (eile.ie / 1 May)

TENI Publish New Media Style Guidelines

Transgender Equality Network Ireland have published new media style guidelines to help promote positive and respectful reporting on transgender people and on trans* related issues in Ireland. Stories involving trans* people have often been sensationalised by the media, which contributes to negative stereotypes about the trans*


News | Round-Up

nd-Up community. In TENI’s 2013 report, Speaking from the Margins: Trans Mental Health and Wellbeing in Ireland, 40% of participants reported that media representation of trans* people had negatively affected their emotional wellbeing or mental health.

Mayor of North Down Discusses Homophobia

“In 1996, there was very little equality legislation for lesbian and gay people and I can remember walking through the streets of Derry and having rocks thrown at me and homophobic abuse hurled at me. I remember homophobic graffiti being scrawled outside my house and reporting that to police.”

These new guidelines aim at helping journalists and media professionals bring about positive change by using language that is respectful and that protects the privacy and dignity of trans* people. The aim is to encourage respectful – not sensational – reporting on trans* people and communities, and to help people feel more comfortable around the language to use when reporting on trans* issues. The guidelines are available to download here. Inside the guidelines you’ll find a useful glossary of terms, as well as examples of good and bad practice. Examples are used to illustrate correct usage, and to help make the appropriate terminology clear. (eile.ie / May 2)

explains to the Belfast Telegraph, “and Northern Ireland is a dramatically changed society now from what it was at that time.”

The Mayor of North Down in Northern Ireland, Councillor Andrew Muir, has spoken in detail about homophobia and LGBT rights in the region in an article in a local newspaper. Andrew Muir is the current Mayor of North Down, and is a Councillor for the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland. In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, Muir spoke about his experience of homophobia, and how being gay affected his outlook on inclusiveness in Northern Irish politics.

Muir also spoke in the interview about the subject of marriage equality in Northern Ireland, as the region is now the only part of the United Kingdom not to have approved same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, the Republic of Ireland is preparing for a referendum on the issue next year. The full interview with the Belfast Telegraph can be read here. (eile.ie / 18 April)

“I came out in 1996,” Muir

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10th Dublin Dance Festival

Arts | Dublin Dance Festival

Frances Winston gives us a taste of the upcoming Dublin Dance Festival, running May 20-31 The 10th Dublin Dance Festival runs from the 20th-31st May, and in the midst of a hugely varied programme are two shows that are sure to be of interest to the community. Please Be Gentle and Stay With Me are two works from choreographer Alexis Vassiliou, which are also presented in association with the Bealtaine Festival. Both examine male relationships in a physical and creative way, and the idea is that they form the embodiment of pleasure. Stay With Me looks at the liberating effect of music and sound on the body, as two men attempt to establish touch while questioning our personal experience of brotherhood, friendship, fun

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and masculinity. Meanwhile in Please Be Gentle, two men attempt to stay physically connected by a shiver. Exploring five extremely close positions, they hope to challenge our understanding of intimacy, pleasure and bliss. The shows run one after the other in the Project Arts Centre Cube on 23rd, 24th and 25th May at 6.30pm and are sure to be highlights of the whole festival. Outside of this, other shows worth checking out include John Scott’s Irish Modern Dance Theatre’s Hyperactive, which is free in Wolfe Tone Square on May 31st and Bodies in Urban Spaces – another free show - on 24th and 25th May that sees 20 dancers create colourful living art at well-known Dublin landmarks. Meanwhile last year’s Fringe

Festival hit Swing gets another outing as part of the festival, and we are promised that it is bigger and better than the original version. This is one of the most accessible programmes ever compiled by the Festival, and definitely takes dance out of its “niche” category. As always there are family friendly shows (that adults secretly love) and many of this year’s offerings have their roots in straightforward theatre rather than an elitist dance company. Check out the full programme and book tickets at www. dublindancefestival.ie


Arts | Dublin Dance Festival

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Feature | SNAFU

SNAFU and the Purpose of Life

Scott De BuitlĂŠir chats to Chloe Sanders & Haley Rawson about their new webseries and the move to do it alone


Feature | SNAFU

“As soon as we tell them, they’re like; ‘oh, that’s perfect! That describes the show so well’. It’s kind of fun”. Chloe Sanders is pretty happy with her decision to name her new web series ‘SNAFU’, and she tells me that while some viewers may not know the military acronym right away, it’s apt for the quirky comedy once it’s explained: Situation Normal: All F**ked Up. It follows Florence, a twenty-something who lives in Brooklyn, and is on an almost-eternal voyage of self-discovery, much to the confusion and bemusement of Eli, her roommate.

Chloe’s words echo the sentiments felt by many in her generation, yet it’s a more challenging situation for those in the creative industries, and the rise of indie productions, such as SNAFU, is a cultural reaction to that.

“She’s constantly rediscovering her purpose in life and the reason she was put on Planet Earth!” Chloe jokes, but still aware that Florence is something of a charicature of many twenty-somethings who move to any city, not just New York. “I think that’s something we can all relate to, because we’re all trying to figure out what we’re supposed to be doing.”

“I wrote [the series] in New York, and had lived in New York about a year and a half when I wrote it. There are a lot of jokes that really, only New York people would totally get. I mean, […] it has a wide comedy base, but it’s definitely a Brooklyn show. It’s about young people living in New York, and it has a lot of jokes about what that’s like, and how troubling it can be.”

“We’ve been given such a less-than-perfect economic situation and a few other factors that have made it [that way] … I think that it’s funny, almost, at this point, because it’s just not the world we thought we were going to inherit.”

It undoubtedly helped that co-producer and actress. Haley Rawson, and Chloe had already been close friends for almost ten years, which meant that one was able to understand what the other was getting at pretty quickly. Alongside coproducer Jonathan Cabrera, the three started work in

April 2013, putting the show together from start to finish (the last webisode was only premiered in Los Angeles at the end of April) in just over a year, which is frantically hectic in terms of film production. “It was a huge undertaking,” Haley explains, “that was a lot of hard work, but because we had such a great team, it became a reality very quickly.” “The next four or five months that followed were assembling our team of directors, production people and our cast, and then primarily figuring out how we were gonna raise any money to do this thing!” The girls managed to find a way fairly promptly, and thanks to their successful Kickstarter campaign, managed to raise just over $16,000 for the series. “We were shooting the episodes and doing the fundraising simultaneously,” Haley explains, “so we could keep EILE Magazine 15


Feature | SNAFU

the momentum going. We were asking people for money while we were gonna be on-set that weekend; sharing pictures and videos and updates from the set.” The mammoth-sized task was undoubtedly a challenge for Chloe, Haley and the rest of the SNAFU team, but it has become a rite of passage for many groups who come together to develop something of such high-quality – both visually and in terms of writing – for the internet. It is this very ritual that has become part of a cultural zeitgeist that webseries represent; a desire to choose what to watch, what to create, and also what to support. At the same time, the global downturn has hit the creative industries hard worldwide, which has spurred on these indie projects even more; partially to develop their own portfolios, and also to keep themselves going financially, if at all possible. “There are so many talented people,” Chloe

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adds, “that are just not getting the opportunities to showcase their work, and it’s getting bleaker and bleaker.” “I think that we all got a little bit tired of all the “No’s”, me especially. … Thankfully, it was possible thanks to so many hardworking people who were underemployed and have a lot of creative energy and time to give to something they believe in, and not just some silly commercial, which is a soul-sucker!” Despite any challenges they have faced, the positivity and enthusiasm shown by Chloe and Haley during our chat is nothing short of inspiring, and reminds us that we’re all in a very similar situation. Thankfully, the fruits of their labour mean that we can all take some downtime, and laugh at our own lives as SNAFU. SNAFU is available to watch via YouTube, by visiting snafutheseries.com


Film | Ellen Page

Ellen Page: Coming Out Was “Remarkably Positive” The Canadian actress, Ellen Page, has spoken about how coming out on Valentine’s Day this year was “deeply, deeply emotional” for her, but how the reaction to it has been “remarkably positive”. Speaking in an interview with the Canadian fashion magazine, Flare, Page describes her public ‘coming out’ – as opposed to when she told her parents she was gay at 19 – at the Human Rights Campaign’s Time to Thrive conference in Las Vegas. “I expected so much more hate,” the Halifax native says. “It was just remarkably positive, which is beautiful, because it’s indicative of the change that’s happening.” As Stéphanie Verge of Flare wrote: When I remark that she seemed nervous that night

[when she came out], Page smiles her trademark halfsmile and acquiesces with a laugh, a sigh and some rata-tat repetition. “I was very nervous. I was very nervous, yes. Yes. Very, very nervous. Yes. I was emotional, deeply, deeply emotional.” Though she told her parents she likedliked girls when she was 19, she was still coming out to herself eight years on. “You think you’re in a place where you’re all I’m thrilled to be gay, I have no issues about being gay anymore, I don’t feel shame about being gay, but you actually do. You’re just not fully aware of it. I think I still felt scared about people knowing. I felt awkward around gay people; I felt guilty for not being myself.” The following day, however, on a flight out of Las Vegas, Page was approached by a pastor who gave her a handwritten

note. On the note, the pastor wrote: “While God thinks it’s lovely that you stood up for your beliefs, perhaps you’ve never had the loving arms of a father.” Her response, however, gained over 14,000 retweets: 2 da Pastor who wrote meBeing gay isn’t a belief.My soul isnt struggling& I don’t want arms of Heavenly Father around me.A girls arms? Yes. Since coming out, Page has allowed herself to become more open to LGBT rights activism, and will star alongside Julianne Moore in an upcoming indie drama about a lesbian couple in Freeheld. Ellen Page stars in X-Men: Days of Future Past, out in Ireland and the UK from May 22. (eile.ie / 1 May) EILE Magazine 35


Fashion | Blade Runner

Fashion & Film: Blade Runner

Lisa Reynolds looks at costume design in Blade Runner and how it influenced women’s fashion

Blade Runner is a 1982 science fiction, future retro/noir film, directed by English director Ridley Scott. The costumes in the film are by American costume designers Michael Kaplan and Charles Knode, who also worked on Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Make-up is by Hollywood make-up artist Marvin Westmore. In 1983, Knode and Kaplan won a BAFTA for Best Costume Design for their work on Blade Runner, while Westmore was nominated for his work on the film. This film is a very iconic film for style, incorporating fashion from the 1920s, 1940s and 1980s. The story follows Rick Deckard, played by Harrison Ford, as he goes on a journey 18 EILE Magazine

to track down and kill four replicants. These replicants are bioengineered, and have come to earth illegally, as their use is banned on earth. As they only have a life duration of four years, they might have come to earth seeking to prolong their lives. Ford’s character also falls in love with a replicant, Rachael, played by Sean Young, who is not on his original list, and who does not at first know she is a replicant, as she has been given human memories. In the course of their romance, she sports many iconic costumes, mainly with 1940s’ influences. In her first scene, she wears a silk and gold threaded two-piece couture suit, which is grey and beige.

Her hair is in victory rolls. Racheal’s make-up, while she answers questions in the Voight-Kampff test to determine if she is a replicant, is red lipstick and black eyeliner. Red lipstick was the lip colour of the 1940s, with stars like Ingrid Bergman giving it their seal of approval. She was also wearing a black silk and snake skin two-piece suit. Sharp tailoring, red lips and rolled hair were parts of Rachael’s look, and are reminiscent of Joan Crawford’s look when she starred in the 1941 movie, Mildred Pierce. Another example of Rachael’s clothing includes the coat she wears when she goes to Deckard’s apartment, following her realisation that she is a


Fashion | Blade Runner Daryl Hannah as ‘Pris’

replicant. It is a stunning coat, which is created from blue silk brocade, with a fur-trimmed stand-up collar and huge bat-wing style fur sleeves. The movie inspired the “Power Suit” of the 1980s, and also large shoulder pads. The character who was most inspirational for the style of the eighties was Pris (the ‘basic pleasure model’) played by Daryl Hannah. She is another replicant who wore legwarmers, which were like the style of Fame and Flashdance, but infused with a cyberpunk twist. She also wore a dog collar, a long fur coat and ripped tights. Her hair was bleached blonde, and she wore blue make-up that went completely across her eyes. This make-up image is one of the most iconic make-up looks in film. Continued…

Sean Young as ‘Rachael’

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Fashion | Blade Runner

Sean Young as ‘Rachael’

Daryl Hannah as ‘Pris’ and Rutger Hauer ‘Roy Batty’ 20 EILE Magazine


Fashion | Blade Runner

One of the neon-style images in Bladerunner for the Nissan GTR

She is also made up to have a very pale complexion. The 1920s is represented by orientalism in the movie. In the film, the theme of Asian culture is hugely present at all times. On the billboard, there is an Asian woman in traditional oriental dress, which bears a marked resemblance to a Japanese Geisha, while many of the Asian people working or shopping during the market scene are wearing traditional oriental clothes. This is the scene where Deckard is trying to find Zhora, another replicant on his list, played by Joanna Cassidy. The oriental costumes in this scene are not surprising, as Ridley Scott is said to have based his Los Angeles of the future on Hong Kong. It was announced in 2012 that there would be a sequel to Blade Runner, with Ridley Scott again at the helm. If this follow-up is in the works, it will be interesting to see how it will handle posteighties fashion, or whether it will involve another future-retro style, which is sure to have an influence on the clothes we’ll see on the catwalks, and in the high street. EILE Magazine 21


Travel | Cape Town

Captivating Cape Town

For the LGBT tourist, Cape Town has everything. From beautiful scenery, to a vibrant nightlife - you will be spoiled for choice - whether you decide to go dancing, cruise bars, or dine in one of the many fashionable restaurants. Spend some time shopping or just being seen in a coffee bar, go and see a cabaret show or just enjoy one of the City’s many beaches - the choice is yours - and it is not unusual to find the rainbow flag welcoming you. Cape Town is a historic city,

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however over recent years the “Mother City” is becoming more and more popular with tourists, and with an ever weakening Rand, now even more affordable. On the northern point of the Cape Peninsula beside Table Bay, lie the world-famous Table Mountain, Devil’s Peak, Lion’s

Head and Signal Hill. Table Mountain will be of interest to hikers, as you can hike from the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens all the way to the top, or if you don’t feel active, just take the more leisurely route using the cableway. The sweeping vista of Table Bay at sunset is a sight to behold, with


Travel | Cape Town

LGBT-friendly Cape Town

beautiful crimson skies and city lights reflected in the sea below. All of Cape Town’s bars and clubs are gay friendly. Visit the “Pink Strip” (also known as the “Rainbow Strip”) situated in the De Waterkant/Green Point area near the city centre, City Bowl and the Waterfront, which includes bars, clubs, restaurants and much more. Of special interest to the LGBT tourist is the Gay Village, in the De Waterkant area of Cape

Town, which lies below the slopes of Signal Hill, and offers fantastic views of the V&A Waterfront and Table Bay. The De Waterkant offers studio to three-bedroom, self-catering apartments to suit most budgets, and if you are looking for a place to stay, this should be your address. Here you will also find the Cape Quarter shopping centre, with its colonial lofts, gay bars, restaurants, clubs and all the shopping you can pack in to one holiday. The area around

The stunning Table Mountain EILE Magazine 23


Travel | Cape Town

Green Point offers exciting nightlife for those of you who are party-animals, while Somerset Road has many of Cape Town’s élite gay bars and clubs. Nearby, stunningly beautiful Bantry Bay is within walking distance of Clifton’s Third Beach, a gay beach, and is close to Cape Town’s Pink Strip, Green Point and De Waterkant areas. On the Cape Peninsula’s Atlantic coast, you will find the mountain range known as the Twelve Apostles, with the Camps Bay beach lying below. This mountain range extends south to the Cape Point, and the juxtaposition of the mountain range and the beach below gives you a breath-taking vista. So, as you can see, Cape Town has it all; breathtaking beauty, fantastic night life, stunning beaches, outdoor activities and much more, making this a great LGBT holiday destination.

The Twelve Apostles

Cape Town LGBT Events The Cape Town Pride Festival is a 10-day LGBT extravaganza usually held from the end of February each year, and the event includes parties, art exhibitions, sport & race days, film screenings,various city tours, and so much more. Put it in your calendar and book your accommodation – it is also worth noting that the Cape’s weather is usually at its best in February and March. Also in Cape Town you can enjoy MCQP– Mother City Queer Projects is a Queer Art Party Project. This is South Africa’s biggest dressto-theme costume party, and one of the most popular events on the LGBT calendar. With different themes every year, the glitterati of the LGBT world are in attendance, with performers, DJs and artists of all disciplines among the party-goers. Cape Town is also home to Out in Africa, South Africa’s Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, which takes place in October. The Mr Gay South Africa competition takes place each year, with the grand final in Cape Town usually around December.

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For LGBT-friendly holiday destinations, visit:


Books | Review

Review:

Dads: A Gay Couple’s Journey in India by Hans M. Hirschi (Published by Yāree AB, available on Amazon)

“Sure, we could abstain from children, but why should we not have what is the very essence of life? Procreation? Had one of your fathers been a woman, society would applaud us for what we do. They would pick up the tab and they would support us every step of the way. But we are not. We pay our own bills for this treatment on top of our taxes. We proceed although many view us as pariahs. We try to live the life of any other family on this planet. Longing for completion through the arrival of a child or grandchild.”

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This quote is only a sample of the harrowing, moving, wonderful and captivating account of a gay man’s journey to becoming a father with his husband. Dads, A Gay Couple’s Surrogacy Journey in India, by Swiss writer Hans M. Hirschi, is a compilation of blog posts written during Hirschi’s time waiting to become a father, along with his Swedish husband, Alex. The blog posts, as Hirschi admits himself, were never intended to come together to form a book, however it soon became a goal as the couple faced many difficult challenges, not least of all institutionalised homophobia, in order to fulfill their dreams of being parents. The story is made all the more endearing, as Hirschi writes letters to his then-unborn child, which shows the hoops that the couple had to jump through on

their path. Because of Hirschi’s informal style of writing – keeping in mind that this book was born from a blog – the reader is immediately put at ease, and becomes captivated by the story of what Hirschi and his husband had to go through, both emotionally and practically, to become parents. Although their story is based in Sweden (the family live on a small island off the coast of Gothenburg) Hirschi keeps an English-speaking, international audience in mind, making this harrowing story accessible to all. A must-read for anyone considering the adoption process. Dads, A Gay Couple’s Surrogacy Journey in India is published by Yāree AB and is available to download from Amazon.


LGBT | Film

LGBT Film Awards Announced at Transgender Film Festival, Kiel, Germany The annual Transgender Film Festival took place April 11-13 at the Traum Cinema in Kiel, Germany. During the festival, numerous films were given awards, in recognition of films with LGBT themes, or other cinematic displays of support for the LGBT community. The following films and productions were announced as this year’s award winners by the Transgender Film Festival, featuring both international and local projects. [For more information, visit transgender-film-festival.de.]

Winners at the Festival were: Best Film of the Year: DALLAS BUYERS CLUB Best Performance: Miles Szanto in BRUNO AND EARLENE GO TO VEGAS Best Trans Performance (MtF): Guillaume Gallienne in ME MYSELF AND MUM Best Documentary Film: ONE ZERO ONE Best Poster: BAMBI Best Website: WHAT’S THE ‘T’ ? Best Short Film of the Year: THE JOURNEY, directed by Kerri Cecil

Best Trans-Performances in a short Film (MtF): Peter Dillon in BRIGHT SPARKS & DARKNESS Emily Lucid in THE JOURNEY Ronique Veira in POSH Best Trans-Performance in a short Film (FtM): Tajir S. Hawkins in SHIRTS VS SKINS Best Short Documentary: MEXICO’S THIRD GENDER, directed by Bernardo Loyola Best Music Video: ANNABEL by Goldfrapp (eile.ie / April 16) EILE Magazine 27


California Dispatch

Californi

The LGBT ‘Co

Jon Beaupré ponders the sense of community among LGBT people Here in Southern California, we have an alphabet soup of LGBT organizations. As expected, we have parents groups, elected officials’ caucuses, singers, dancers, actors and the like. But we also have a Gay Peace Officers Association, The Pink Pistols Gun Club (60 chapters in 33 states), Log Cabin Republicans and Stonewall Democrats, Great Outdoors hiking and recreation club, LA Young Gay Christians (apart from the Metropolitan Community Church, which was founded here), even the Orange County Lesbian Cairn Terrier 28 EILE Magazine

Owners group. We have a full dozen or so Lesbian and Gay Centers, that provide services from medical and mental health clinics to meeting rooms, performance spaces, libraries, computer labs and educational programs. These centers cater to homeless youth, and to people of all ages who feel more comfortable receiving services in an LGBT setting, such as people wrestling with issues of sexuality which they don’t feel are appropriate to discuss with straight therapists and professionals. What we don’t have is a Gay Community.

It’s always bugged me when media refer to a certain group as a ‘Community,’ like ‘The Black Community,’ or ‘The Latino Community.’ They conjure an image of something from Disneyland: a quaint main street with charming shops and boutiques. As if a group of 40 million African Americans are going to agree on everything, let alone Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Trans people of African heritage. In ‘our’ communities, you can’t even get five gay men to agree on the same restaurant. The term ‘community’ is a short hand, a simple way to reduce a vast and swirling diversity into something popular media


California Dispatch

ia Dispatch:

ommunity’? I Don’t Think So…

can get their brains around. I contend it grossly simplifies the consideration that should be paid to all LGBT communities. (Yes, I’ve chosen that word carefully. We are more realistically referred to in the plural.)

but may be having homo-sex and not copping to it, or my cousin Ernie, who doesn’t even know that there is a closet to come out of. To suggest that, other than our orientation, we agree on very much at all objectifies and minimizes the contributions of individual LGBT groups. We don’t all agree on political matters, though there is a strong progressive trend. But we certainly don’t agree on matters of faith, family or even food.

When I first heard the term ‘Gay Community’ I thought maybe there was a headquarters somewhere on Connecticut Ave. in Washington DC, where you could sign up, pay your dues and get your official LGBT card, which instantly endowed gay men with the ability to decorate any house We don’t and lesbians to ride all agree horses and organize music festivals. I on political also expected the matters, newsletter to be beautifully designed though there and hip. Guess is a strong what: there is no progressive newsletter just for being L, G, B or T. trend Who knew?

According to a 2011 study by the Williams Institute at UCLA, drawing on information from four recent national and two statelevel population-based surveys, there are approximately 9 million Americans, more than the entire population of Ireland, who identify as LGBT.

This doesn’t include those under 18, those who don’t identify as gay

Don’t get me wrong. There is also a great deal of affection, support, and affinity among many sexual minority groups. We are homo, but not homogeneous.

complexity that the term ‘community’ just doesn’t capture. We don’t all like the same food. We don’t all wear outrageous clothes. (Some of my LGBT friends are the WORST dressers I’ve ever known, and I somehow find solace in that reality). And we certainly don’t all use the same hair care products. I’m just saying. It is impossible to predict what someone will do in their work place, house of worship or voting booth by what they do in bed. Surprise! It’s just like the rest of the world.

It is important to resist the tendency to group people as a ‘community’ where one does not exist. It’s inaccurate, misleading and patronizing. The fact that there isn’t a monolithic ‘community’ of LGBT people is not a failure of organization, but rather a recognition that like society at large, we come in all colors, sizes and shapes.

Jon Beaupré is a Professor of TV, Film & Media Studies at Cal State LA Twitter: @jnbeaupre

There is a richness and EILE Magazine 29


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.


Reviews | Frances Winston

Frank Directed by: Lenny Abrahamson Starring: Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Scoot McNairy Michael Fassbender is hot. We know this because he frequently makes “world’s sexiest” lists. Therefore, in an industry obsessed by looks, he has made a brave choice tackling this role which sees him wear a papiermâché mask for most of the film. Loosely based on the life of Chris Sivey, better known as his comic creation Frank Sidebottom, we only get a glimpse of Michael for a few minutes near the end. Other than that, we are reliant on his physicality to convey what the character is feeling, and he has admitted that he drew on the theatrical tradition of Commedia del Arte to play the role. Frank is the singer with alternative band Soronprfbs (don’t worry – they can’t pronounce it either). A chance encounter with aspiring musician 32 EILE Magazine

Jon (Gleeson) sees him join the band as their new keyboard player, and they travel to Ireland to record an album. Frank is a perfectionist and refuses to record a note until they have fully explored it, and Jon starts posting videos of his process on YouTube. When it garners the attention of the organisers of the South by Southwest festival, the band hit the road to play for their newly acquired fans. However Frank has far more issues than Jon had ever imagined, and the pressure of the booking leads to an implosion in the band just as they are on the cusp of breaking through. All of Abrahamson’s previous films have won IFTAs so there is definitely pressure on him to deliver, and this is probably his most ambitious offering to date. Gleeson justifies his rising star status as Jon, and Gyllenhall is fabulously edgy as band member Clara. This film is all about Frank though, and despite the mask, Fassbender carries it and you really engage with him. All of the characters are multi layered and well developed, and the script is witty and bonkers in

equal measure. There are some fantastic pop culture references (including one that must surely be a nod to Kevin Rowland of Dexy’s Midnight Runners meltdown a few years ago) and hilarious reflections on social media, and how it can pull something down as quickly as it builds it up. Underneath all the (often very black) humour there are some very serious mental health themes, but this never bogs down or burdens the film and only really hits you when you analyse it afterwards. Some people may be put off by the idea of a man running around in a mask for two hours, but this is touching, funny, complex and affecting. Probably Abrahamson’s best work to date, this definitely deserves a gong or two. In cinemas May 9


Reviews | Frances Winston

Frances Winston on Movies Directed by: Nicholas Stoller Starring: Seth Rogan, Zak Efron, Rose Byrne, Dave Franco, Lisa Kudrow This film is simply called Neighbours elsewhere in the world, with the “Bad” being added for the benefit of Irish, UK and Australian audiences - perhaps lest we confuse it with a certain long running daytime soap. However, just like said daytime soap it does feature buff boys getting their tops off – specifically Zak Efron (who looks great but is far too old to be playing a college student!) Meanwhile Seth Rogan also gets his shirt off – not quite as appealing as Efron but you have to admire his chutzpah! He and Byrne play Mac and Kelly Radner, young parents who are adjusting to life with a baby. Indeed the first 15 minutes of this film where they try and retain their sense of self, while ensuring that they also meet the needs of their daughter, are

some of the funniest scenes in the movie. In particular, there is one scene where they attempt to get organised to go to a party only to fall asleep at the front door, waking when the party is over! Their idyllic world is thrown into disarray when a fraternity from a local university sets up home next door. Led by party boy Teddy (Efron) and his sidekick Pete (Franco) they are determined to throw the greatest parties in the history of their frat house. However, this is at odds with Mac and Kelly’s desire for a quiet life, and what ensues is a battle of wills as both sides go out of their way to antagonise the other. Rogan has a tendency to be ridiculously over the top and juvenile in roles, but here he is actually quite sedate. Yes, there is a certain degree of silliness, but on the whole he contains himself. However, he and Byrne are lacking the chemistry you would expect from a couple who are supposed to have been together since college, which is

unfortunate as both give good individual performances. There is no shortage of chemistry between Efron and Franco though. They prove a surprisingly effective double act, and someone should really give them their own TV show (I’m totally copywriting that idea!) There is nothing here that you haven’t seen before and some of the gags miss the mark, but on the whole this is funny enough throughout to keep the viewer engaged. It works best when the actors are actually squaring off with each other as opposed to doing some shtick, and anyone who has had a new baby or noisy neighbour will be able to relate to the story. While this is unlikely to become a comedy classic, as a way to kill 97 minutes you could do worse, and it will definitely tickle your funny bone on some level. In cinemas now

Bad Neighbours EILE Magazine 33


Menswear | Mark Graham

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Menswear Menswear | Mark | Knitwear Graham

EILE Magazine 25 31


Style | Menswear

Embracing the Night Ahead Mark Graham on darker colours for your night out

Sometimes, being into men’s fashion can be a real pain. Whether it’s slowly becoming more and more obsessed with the way your clothes fit, a steady lean towards luxurious fabrics or a body shape, that just doesn’t match off-thepeg tailoring, things really start to take their sartorial toll.

community, you may find yourself realising that, in certain situations, being the best dressed man in the room can actually be more trouble than it’s worth. And by trouble, I mean a rather large dry cleaning bill.

After spending a few years immersed in the menswear

But first, let me clarify a few things. You don’t have to be a borderline alcoholic to

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The reason? When I go out in the evenings, I like to have a good time. I’m no stranger to alcohol spills and burger sauce stains. And let me tell you from first-hand experience, these situations and high quality clothing do not mix. Yet I just can’t bring myself to compromise on either of these activities. Which raises the following question: is it possible to drink and dress well at the same time, without spending even more of your hard-earned cash? I believe the answer is a firm yes, but only when you strike a comfortable balance.

benefit from this article. Even teetotal men run the risk of experiencing these sartorialbased horrors when they head out into the night. After all, drunk people are everywhere, and they are crazy, clumsy and chaotic! Accidents are bound to happen, and they will happen to you. So, what can you do to soften the blow? Well, I’m glad you asked… A motto for life: try not to take yourself too seriously. If you do end up wearing your fanciest clothes to a club, then accept that something may go awry. Take it on the chin and visit your dry cleaner the next morning guilt-free. After all, nobody likes the person who stands by the wall afraid to bust a move for fear of a few spillages. Let yourself go once in a while, and you won’t regret it. I used to go out each night with the aim of being the bestdressed guy in the room, and things soon got out of hand.


Style | Menswear

Wearing a suit to a bar with a shirt and tie, or layering a cashmere jumper under a blazer, just became too much. Items like these make it incredibly difficult to move like Beyoncé, so I would suggest that you focus on making sure that everything fits you perfectly – slim, but not restrictive or uncomfortable – and that each piece complements each other. The result? You will feel more comfortable, which will lead you to having more fun and being more confident in your surroundings. Never a bad thing.

Also, learn to love black, grey and blue, especially darker tones of navy. Not only are they great at concealing any accidents that may happen, but they’re also extremely classic and versatile colours. Black and grey are particularly good because they are quintessential evening wear shades that look even better under artificial lighting.

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Style | Menswear

Let’s turn our focus to simplicity for a couple of seconds. Simplicity is often the most elegant form of sophistication. There’s a reason why so many menswear geeks love old black and white photos of gents from the 1950s and 1960s – it’s because their style is as relevant today as it was back then. Pieces that never go out of fashion will always be your best option for a night out. If you stick to the classics, your clothes will simply add to what you already possess – i.e. your personality and confidence – rather than detract from them. If you were hoping to use your clothes to distract from your personal shortcomings, then we have another problem to deal with altogether.

Don’t forget to consider where you are going on any given night. Is it just down the local for a couple of pints or to an upmarket bar and then onto a fancy club? Your environment will help set the tone for what you wear. Think of all the needless banter, shots and drink spiking (no, just me?) that could be avoided if you just decided that chinos and a chambray/flannel shirt were a better idea than a full-blown Glen plaid doublebreasted suit. Hopefully you will consider these tips and come join us in celebrating one year of EILE Magazine. Just try not to create a huge dry cleaning bill in the process…!

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USA | Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster Marries Partner Alexandra Hedison The Oscar-winning actress, Jodie Foster, is reported to have married her partner, photographer and actress Alexandra Hedison, last weekend. According to E!, the couple started dating last year, and a source close to the couple also remarked that they are “totally in love”. E! Online‘s Marc Malkin wrote the following for the major entertainment website: “Congrats to Jodie Foster and her new wife Alexandra Hedison. I can exclusively reveal that the Oscar winner and her photographer girlfriend of almost a year got

married this past weekend. A rep for Foster confirms the happy news.” Recently, Jodie Foster has been more open about her sexuality with the public, although still maintains a certain distance from Hollywood’s celebrity circuits. During her acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award at last year’s Golden Globes, Foster thanked her ex-partner, Cydney Bernard. She also referred to her wish for privacy during the same speech, however, explaining that she did her “coming out a thousands years ago, in the Stone Age”. (eile.ie / April 24) EILE Magazine 41


Interview | Darren Shan

Learning From Chaos

Darren Shan talks about the latest in the Zom-B series Darren Shan is by no means a typical horror writer. While his primary aim is to entertain his readers – quite a few, if his book sales of over 20 million are anything to go by – his latest literary project has quite a powerful message behind it. Despite what you may expect, it’s not entirely to do with zombies. “I wanted to explore themes of racism, abuse of power [and] intolerance, and mix them in a way that felt natural together [with the story]” Shan explains about Zom-B, a twelve-book series which looks at life in London after a zombie 42 EILE Magazine

apocalypse. “The first book dealt with racism, or [it] explored the consequences of that.” That said, Darren, who splits his downtime between London and Limerick, wanted to make sure that the lessons found between the lines weren’t jarring to the young horror or fiction fan. Instead, such themes as racism and intolerance show their metaphoric heads while “society would go about reconstructing itself,” as Shan explains, following a zombie disaster. Any underlying moral lessons, he stresses, are “not the main thrust of the storyline, but rather


how the survivors try to put the world back together”. Darren himself admits that the message of Zom-B is that “if we don’t take a stand, this is where we are going to be led; to a world of chaos and disorder and murder”. The last word of that prophecy is certainly the most alarming, but Shan is aware of the more extreme results of what intolerance can do. The Zom-B series was partially, and possibly surprisingly, inspired by the 7/11 bombings in London, and when the likes of the English Defence League and the British National Party (BNP) were regularly in the media. In a previous interview for HuffPost UK Culture, Shan spoke about the change in atmosphere after the London bombings: “I remember being on a bus [in London] one day” Darren

recalls “and people were practically growling at each other”. Shan acknowledges, however, that racism wasn’t a big issue for him while growing up in Ireland in the 1980s, as few people from other countries moved to what was an economically fragile country at that time. It wasn’t until he returned to London for college that he observed racism between the British capital’s different groups. It isn’t just racism that Shan is aware of, however. He and his wife regularly join their gay friends by walking in Limerick’s Pride parade, and Darren was also a board member of Limerick’s bid to host the Gay Games in 2018. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get it in the end”, he concedes, as Paris won the bid. “But we did come really, really close. It was a shame … but

Interview | Darren Shan up against London and Paris, it was always gonna be a big struggle.” Despite the final result, Shan and the others behind the Limerick Gay Games bid were successful in putting the Irish city on a global platform, showing Ireland’s progress in terms of LGBT rights, as well as Limerick’s hospitality and welcome to gay athletes. Even though that campaign may now be over, Darren doesn’t intend to shy away from his home city’s Pride festival. “I was in Limerick Pride last year, and hopefully this year, I’ll be around to march again.” And hopefully we’ll see him there.

Competition! To be in with a chance to win all seven Zom-B books (to date!) simply answer this question: Q: In Zom-B, the world has been overrun by… A: Zombies B: Vampires C: Drag Queens Send your answer and contact details to eilemagazine@outlook.com by May 20! EILE Magazine 43


Art | Photography

“Leviticus” Model: Gary Lyle Harness & crucifix, model’s own

The Fantastic Photography of Simon Crawford 44 EILE Magazine


Art | Photography

Trudy Model: Trudy Scrumptious Makeup by Trudy Dress, model’s own Shot on location at Kremlin Nightclub, Belfast

Simon Crawford is a Belfast-based photographer and long-time friend of

EILE, keeping an artistic eye on the city’s vibrant and quirky gay community. While he specialises in portraiture, he also works in fashion photography, nightclub, documentary and, more recently, video work. His first solo exhibition, ‘F.Q.U: Framing Queer Ulster’, was held as part of Outburst Queer Arts Festival in Belfast. For more on Simon’s work, visit his Facebook & Tumblr pages.

EILE Magazine 45


Malta | LGBT Rights

Malta Votes in Favour of Civil Unions & Adoption Rights Malta saw the introduction of same-sex civil unions yesterday evening, as well as adoption rights to gay and lesbian couples in the European island state.

abstaining was that while the opposition were in favour of civil unions in Malta, they were not in agreement with the Government regarding adoption rights.

Many of the Maltese LGBT community and their supporters gathered in St. George’s Square in Valletta to celebrate the Parliament’s vote in favour of civil union legislation, as well as new adoption rights for samesex couples. The Maltese Parliament passed the legislation by 37 votes, with 30 members of the opposition abstaining from the vote. Simon Busittil, leader of the opposition, stated that the reasoning behind

The crowd in the Square were certainly passionate as they cheered when Prime Minister Joseph Muscat appeared from Parliament, while they booed at the emergence of several MPs who had been against the legislation. In celebration of the vote, the parliament buildings were lit up in the rainbow colours.

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Musician Glen Vella, who represented Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2011, took part in last night’s

celebrations. Speaking to the Malta Independent, Vella said: “This is not a political issue, but a human right. This is a historical milestone for the Maltese community; a maturity step rather. Anyone who believes in human rights should be celebrating with us tonight, whatever political party or sexual orientation. This is a national event.” (eile.ie / April 15)


UK | Health

UK: Gay ‘Conversion’ Therapy “Has No Place in NHS” Says Health Minister The British health minister has written that so-called ‘gay conversion therapy’ has “no place” in the UK’s National Health Service. Norman Lamb, a Member of Parliament for the Liberal Democrats, has also asked the NHS in England for assurances that doctors will not refer patients to such treatment. According to The Guardian, fifteen British MPs have written to the health minister to demand tougher measures against the recommendation of gay ‘conversion’ therapy by GPs, and also calling for a full ban on such methods. Mr Lamb, an MP for North Norfolk, also heard from the Royal College of Psychiatrists and British LGBT activist group, Stonewall, about this ‘counselling’, which attempts to change a person’s homosexuality to heterosexuality. Gay conversion therapy, Mr Lamb said, “is based on the completely false premise that there is something wrong with you if you happen to be gay. […] I certainly want to do what I can, as a Liberal

Democrat, to eradicate this.” Other British MPs have also been highly critical of this controversial treatment. Last November, Stephen Gilbert MP commented during a debate on the topic at Westminster: “In the 21st century, no [LGBT] individual should be accessing this kind of voodoo psychology. Instead, we should be providing services which help give them confidence and support them with their sexuality.” Sarah Boseley, health editor of The Guardian, wrote: Fifteen MPs of all parties have written to Lamb in the past few days, calling for the government to do more. They say it is not enough to warn health professionals against gay conversion therapy – they should be given training to help patients who come to see them with concerns about their sexuality. NHS links with therapists who attempt gay conversion should be investigated and a ban to act as “a red flag” should be seriously considered. (eile.ie / April 8) EILE Magazine 47


Sports | Australia

Australia: Iconic Agreement Signed By Major Sports to Fight Homophobia Australian Football League’s Andrew Demetriou (CEO), Australia Rugby Union’s Bill Pulver (CEO), National Rugby League’s Dave Smith (CEO), Football Federation Australia’s David Gallop (CEO) and Cricket Australia’s Ben Amarfio (Exec. General Manager) have signed a commitment to eliminate homophobia in their respective sports. The leaders have commited to ensuring gay, lesbian and bisexual players, coaches, administrators and fans feel welcome.

have collectively committed to implementing policies and changes to make their sports welcoming to GLB people. They were brought together by the organisers of Bingham Cup Sydney 2014, the world cup of gay rugby, as well as leaders of Australia’s first gay rugby union club, the Sydney Convicts (formed in 2004).

The five sports have all committed to a timeline. They have agreed to implement policies and changes consistent with a newly created AntiHomophobia and Inclusion Framework, by the end of August, 2014. This is when thousands of international gay rugby players, fans and media This is the first time in the arrive in Australia for The world that all the major Bingham Cup, hosted by the professional sports in a country Sydney Convicts. 48 EILE Magazine

“I’m proud to see Australian sports play such an important leadership role through making this commitment to diversity and inclusion,” said Australia’s Minister for Sport, Peter Dutton. “There is no place for discrimination on our sporting fields, in our clubs or sports organisations.” The Australian Government was represented at the event by Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull. The Federal Minister and the sport leaders were joined by a range of high-profile, past and present players including Nick Farr-Jones (ARU), Ed Jenkins (ARU), Greg Inglis (NRL), Jess Palmer (NRL), Phil Davis (AFL), Mike Pyke (AFL), Sasa Ognenovski (FFA), Sarah


Sports | Australia

“Many gay, lesbian and bisexual people still stay in the closet, or drop out of sport altogether, because of homophobic attitudes and discrimination in sport.

Walsh (FFA), Nathan Lyon (CA) and Alex Blackwell (CA). A 30-Second anti-homophobia ad was premiered at the event. It features the ‘who’s who’ of Australian sporting stars, including Mitchell Johnson (Cricket), Ryan Harris (Cricket), Harry Kewell (Football), Alessandro Del Piero (Football), Paul Gallen (Rugby League), Nate Myles (Rugby League), David Pocock (Rugby Union), Lauren Jackson (Basketball), Nathan Jones (Australian Rules), Sam Mitchell (Australian Rules), Kim Green (Netball) and Libby Trickett (Swimming). The Community Service Announcement was produced for Play by the Rules, an organisation that helps prevent discrimination and harassment in sport. It will be aired nationally this year on TV and at stadiums. Andrew Purchas, President of Bingham Cup Sydney 2014 and Founder of the Sydney Convicts Rugby Club, said: “Many gay, lesbian and bisexual people still stay in the closet, or drop out of sport altogether, because of homophobic attitudes and discrimination in sport. We have very few gay professional

sportspeople who have felt safe to be open about their sexuality while competing and ultimately be role models to others. With these initiatives, we hope to see significant changes to sporting culture. The major professional sporting codes are committed to do more than ban homophobic sledges. They have committed to create encouraging and welcoming sporting environments for gay, lesbian and bisexual people, whether they participate as players, officials or supporters.” He hopes this commitment by Australia’s major professional sports will set a global precedent, stating: “Discrimination in sport is something we see globally, in fact, sport is one of the last places in western societies where gay, lesbian and bisexual people still struggle to be accepted. We challenge sporting organisations around the world to adopt similar policies and make sport welcoming and safe for everyone.”

sexuality in sport, is confident the actions by Australian sporting organisations will motivate global change. Patrick Burke, President of Americanbased initiative, You Can Play, said: “Sport is something humanity embraces worldwide, so this is a significant and historic milestone to see every major, professional sport in Australia agree to enact policies to eliminate homophobia and make sport welcoming for their gay athletes. We’re confident that professional sporting organisations around the world will closely watch the work being done in Australia.” (eile.ie / 10 April)

One of world’s leading charities, tackling discrimination based on

EILE Magazine 49


Feature | Act Up Paris

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A Fundraiser for Marriage Equality

LOVE

System

As one of Ireland’s most renowned live acts, Le Galaxie have conquered stages nationwide from sold-out headline shows to euphoric festival sets. They continually offer a masterclass in live performance - a genuine force to be reckoned with. Now, Le Galaxie are using their powers of performance for extreme good by throwing a late night party in The Academy on Friday 9th May with all proceeds going to Marriage Equality. Joining Le Galaxie for Love System: A Night For Marriage Equality will be time-travelling synth-pop duo Ships; the tradfusing, house-making, hair-flicking Daithí; and the finest DJs from the spiritual home of quality clubbing in Dublin that is Mother. The lack of marriage equality in Ireland is a civil rights issue that affects not just the LGBT community themselves, but also their families, friends, colleagues, neighbours –everyone! The tide is undeniably turning and Ireland now faces the prospect of a referendum on the issue in 2015. It’s been a long road to get to this point, and it couldn’t have been done without the tireless work of the wonderful, non-profit, grassroots advocacy organisation that is Marriage Equality. Le Galaxie want to do everything they can to help combat the tide of misinformation and fear-mongering that will no doubt be whipped up as we approach the referendum - that’s why they’ve chosen to step up and raise vital funds for the cause! So don’t miss this chance to support Marriage Equality’s continuing campaign, in the presence of three of Ireland’s most exciting live acts and the best club DJs in town! Special thanks to The Academy, EQ Audio and Ticketmaster for their support. Tickets priced €16.50 are on sale NOW from Ticketmaster outlets and online at www.ticketmaster.ie.


Music | Anthony Starble

Celebrating Diversity, Inclusiveness, Increased Visibility and Mutual Respect June 14-28

For more information, visit dublinpride.ie or our Facebook page

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Answering Dublin Pride’s Call As summer approaches rapidly, preparations will shortly get underway for the Republic’s largest LGBT festival, but Dublin Pride also needs your help The Dublin Pride festival has grown vastly since it started out in the 1980’s. The 2014 Festival begins on June 14th and will be a two-week long celebration of LGBT culture in Ireland that the whole family can enjoy. The main event – the Pride Parade – takes place on Saturday June 28th, and will be followed by a post-parade event in Merrion Square – the Pride Village.

Representation is a big element of Dublin Pride, and having an organisation and board of directors consisting of people who represent the different facets of our community would allow the organisation to make more informed decisions, and create an even bigger festival in the years to come.

The company is governed by volunteers. The board comprises six directors, each with their own expertise. However, something was noticed recently – the majority of Dublin Pride’s volunteers and board of governance are gay men. This raised the question: “Where are the other people who are part of the LGBT community?”

One of the exciting things about joining a volunteerrun organisation is that, as volunteers, you can wear multiple hats, and hold multiple roles and responsibilities. There are no corporate ladders or narrowlyfocused job descriptions at Dublin Pride, so you can be assured that what you put in will be noticed, and it will be appreciated. You have the opportunity to make significant contributions to the festival, and be part of something that is particularly meaningful to you and your community.

It can be said that the majority of us know a person who identifies as lesbian, bisexual or transgender; and the organisers of Dublin Pride are inviting those of you from all corners of our community, who feel they have the right skills, to volunteer with Dublin Pride.

So, what can Dublin Pride offer you?

Dublin Pride began because the original organisers saw a problem that they wanted to

solve, and, as it has grown, it is clear that they were not the only ones who recognised that there was a problem. By volunteering for Dublin Pride you show your support for the advancement of LGBT rights in Ireland, and you are celebrating what we have achieved so far. Although we have a long way to go, in particular with trans* rights, the positive effort that we put in today will make the difference in years to come. Finally, by volunteering with Dublin Pride, you will meet interesting and diverse people who share the same idea as you, and who you will ultimately be working with to organise and maintain a huge festival. Not an easy task for just a handful of people. So if you think you have the skills necessary to join a team to make it as dynamic as possible, then please get in touch with Dublin Pride at: info@dublinpride.ie.


Raising funds for

/DublinPrideRun

In association with


Events | Pride Run

Get Involved! Dublin Pride 5K Run This year’s Dublin Pride Run is a great summer fun run for everyone, and takes place on Friday, June 20 at 7.30pm in the Phoenix Park. Organised by the Dublin Frontrunners, the Pride Run is an Athletics Association of Ireland (AAI) accredited 5k race, which intends to raise some wellneeded funds this year for BeLonG To, the national organisation for LGBT youth in Ireland.

You can jog, run or walk your away around the 5K course, and participants are being encouraged to raise funds for BeLonG To by registering with mycharity.ie. The Pride Run team will also have an after party in the Polo Club for participants, as

a fitting way to kick off your Pride celebrations. To register, or for more information, visit the Dublin Frontrunners’ event page on eventbrite.ie.

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Analysis | Russia/Ukraine

A lie told often enough becomes the truth Ben Rylan looks at Russia’s relationship throughout history with LGBT people and the Ukrainian crisis The monstrous expanse of modern Russia is a world class heavyweight, a formidable opponent to the imperialist US. At least according to its president, Vladimir Putin. But behind the gushing propaganda and obsession with World War II indulgence (known locally as “the Great Patriotic War”) the daily reality for many Russians is nothing to cheer about. Poverty, a struggling economy, international sanctions, and increasing costs of war wouldn’t do much to excite anyone in most countries. But this is Putin’s Russia – the economy isn’t your enemy. It’s the European Union and the homosexuals you should fear. When Ukraine’s former president Viktor Yanukovich fled his country’s capital Kiev for the safety of Russia, leaving a scene of riots and chaos, optimism was widespread. Campaigners for the country’s revolution, who had hoped for a new dawn of 56 EILE Magazine

liberalism with closer European ties, finally saw light at the end of a long and violent battle. But in Ukraine’s east, just 20 miles from the Russian border, a very different mood has overshadowed any glimpse of hope. In the city of Luhansk, razor wire now surrounds the occupied regional administration building. Early last month, rebel groups led by Soviet Afghan war veterans seized control of the city’s security service headquarters, unveiling a buffet of pistols, grenades, and rocket launchers. After an armed attack by about 50 pro-Russia separatists, Tatiana Pogukay was one of a few who stood their ground, throwing smoke and stun grenades from the building’s upper floors.

there’s little anyone can do. Officially, there’s little support for Kiev’s grip on the east among the region’s citizens. But if the role of propaganda had been underestimated before, there was no room for doubt after rebels stormed a Ukrainian television station in the eastern city of Donetsk, preparing for the reinstatement of Russian state broadcasting.

“We are still here. We didn’t surrender. But Kiev betrayed us,” she told The Guardian.

In Russia, where President Vladimir Putin has extinguished all independent media, commentary of the events in Ukraine are highlighted in a very different colour. Attempts by Ukraine to retain its borders are portrayed as an attack on Russian-speaking people by a fascist, centralised regime, while baseless fears of certain minorities are not only sanctioned by the government, they’re encouraged.

Though there are few who doubt Russia’s backstage involvement in the unrest, for now at least,

And though it might seem ludicrous to those accustomed to an independent media, Putin’s


Analysis | Russia/Ukraine

Russia Ukraine Crimea

campaign of mistruths fits well in Russia’s long tradition of oppressive propaganda. While Russian history documents the execution of male and female homosexuals during the long reign of the Tsars, the 1917 revolution actually saw the legalisation of homosexual activity, along with no-fault divorce and abortion. Under the fist of Vladimir Lenin, gay people were even allowed to serve in government, and did so openly. But Lenin’s death in 1924 allowed for a much more divisive and violent power to take hold in the form of Joseph Stalin. Though Lenin had sharply criticised his eventual successor prior to his death, Stalin ensured that those words remained suppressed, thus setting the scene for a consolidation of power, eradication of all challengers, and continuous rule until his death. In 1933, Stalin’s addition of Article 121 to the criminal code ensured that all male homosexual activity was punishable by five years of hard labour. According to propaganda of the time, homosexuality was the product of Tsarist aristocracy. Those who exhibited an alignment to the old wealthy ruling class were routinely robbed and humiliated,

or in some cases killed. Countess Kleinmichel felt the full force of Lenin’s propaganda when, during a social gathering at her house, she and her guests were interrupted by a group of armed assailants who suddenly stormed their way in. The Countess and her guests fled to another house across the street, watching in horror as her home was torn apart. Upon her return, she found the house had been transformed into a makeshift soldier’s hostel, with the grand staircase turned into a rifle range, and large portraits of the Romanovs serving as targets. With hatred of the wealthy ruling class entrenched, Stalin simply added homosexuals to the list. Many historians have theorised over Stalin’s reasons for his hatred of homosexuality, especially when the topic did not appear to pose any threat to his reign or Russia’s stability. Some even suggest that Stalin himself was tormented by homosexual tendencies, citing recently uncovered drawings of male nudes by the ruler. It’s possible, however, that Stalin’s attitude towards LGBT people was not too dissimilar to that of Putin today. While the commentary

surrounding the country’s second place on the ladder for most billionaires is often touted, considerably less attention is paid to the 18 million Russians who live below the poverty line. Historically, isolation and economic woes often lead to civil unrest, sometimes even revolutions. Russia knows this all too well. What better way to unite people during what is really a depressing situation than to give them a common enemy? In Ukraine, one member of the unofficial “Luhansk’s people’s militia” told The Guardian, “Victory Day is sacred for us. I’ve heard the Kiev government wants to replace it with a gay pride parade.” If it’s to be a war of mistruths and propaganda, there’s little doubt Russia has the upper hand. In the words of Vladimir Lenin, “a lie told often enough becomes the truth”. Ben Rylan is a freelance journalist, radio and television producer from Melbourne, Australia. He is Executive Producer of Saturday Magazine, a weekly world news and queer culture program on LGBTI radio station JOY 94.9.

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Australia | Ian Ross

Australia: Ian Ross – Channel Seven Gay Former Newsreader Dies Ian ‘Roscoe’ Ross, former Channel Seven newsreader in Sydney, died yesterday of pancreatic cancer, at the age of 73. The newsreader, who had joined the channel in 2003, only went public with his same-sex relationship in January of this year. Himself and partner Gray Bolte had been together for 22 years, and he was well liked and respected within the industry. The network said he was “one of the most popular newsreaders in Australian television history…” Both rivals and colleagues alike found Ross to be warm and hard-working, with Sunrise host, David Koch saying: “He 58 EILE Magazine

was known as the hard news man with a soft centre”. About the time of going public with the announcement of his long-time same-sex partner Bolte in January, he had also announced that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, which had spread to his liver, and said he had been given only five months to live by doctors. Born in 1940, Ross had begun his career at Sydney radio station 2GB in 1957, which led to a 38 year stint at National Nine News. He came out of retirement in Queensland and joined Channel Seven in 2003, bringing the struggling 6 pm bulletin to the No. 1 slot

by 2005. In November of 2009, Ross gave his last news bulletin as he retired from the station, saying he wanted to retire while at the top, and wanted to spend time with his grandchildren. He was obviously emotional to be leaving friends, colleagues and viewers. The newsteam at Channel Seven said that they were “deeply saddened by the death of our wonderful colleague, friend and mentor, Ian Ross [...] He was loved by everyone in the newsroom”. He is survived by his partner Gray Bolte, his ex-wife, his children and grandchildren. MKB (eile.ie / 1 May)


Northern Ireland | Equal Marriage

Stormont Votes Against Equal Marriage For Third Time The Northern Ireland Assembly yesterday voted against a motion on same-sex marriage, which would have brought the region into line with the rest of the United Kingdom on the matter.

motion on religious grounds, saying that he did not believe that the majority of people in Northern Ireland supported same-sex marriage, and that its introduction into the region would have “far-reaching consequences”.

The motion, put forward by Sinn Féin, was voted down by 51 votes to 43, the majority of No votes coming from the unionist DUP and UUP parties. For the third time in little over a year, the MLAs at Stormont have debated equal marriage for Northern Ireland.

Not all unionists were against the motion, however. Both Basil McCrea and John McCallister, MLAs for NI21, voted in favour of marriage equality, as well as UUP representatives Michael Copeland ad Danny Kinahan. Unlike the DUP, representatives from the UUP were allowed a free vote on the matter.

All nationalist representatives at Stormont voted in favour of the motion, like last time, which prompted the DUP’s Mervyn Storey MLA to claim that both Sinn Féin and the SDLP were ‘letting down’ their Catholic constituents, who shared the view of those Protestants and others who do not wish to ‘redefine’ marriage. Danny Kennedy of the UUP also spoke against the

Caitríona Ruane, an MLA for Sinn Féin and former Minister for Education, said that she was certain that gay and bisexual people would challenge discrimination by bringing the matter to both local and international courts. Ruane’s view is shared by

Patrick Corrigan, Director of Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Programme: “Politicians in Northern Ireland who continue to block marriage rights for same-sex couples are like latter-day King Canutes,” Mr Corrigan said, “trying in vain to hold back the tide of equality.” He also said that “…marriage should be available to same-sex couples in Northern Ireland, just as it is now in England and Wales and will shortly be in Scotland.” “With politicians continuing to block equality, it is now inevitable that same-sex couples in Northern Ireland will take a legal challenge on the basis of inferior treatment with regards to the right to marry and found a family.” To see how each MLA voted in the equal marriage motion yesterday, click here. (eile.ie / April 30) EILE Magazine 59


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Tasmania | Equal Marriage

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USA | Politics


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Spain | LGBT Retirement

Spain To Get Dedicated LGBT Elderly Nursing Home Second only to Sweden’s Rainbow House, established in Stockholm in 2013, Spain is set to have a nursing home completely devoted to elderly LGBT residents. The home will feature beauty salons, physiotherapy centres and saunas, and will cost approximately ₏1,380 per month to stay there. Federico Armenteros, who founded the 26 December Foundation for the LGBT community, is behind the project. He feels that a retirement home like this is

necessary because the LGBT community are not cherished by society as they get older, and in conventional nursing homes get pushed back into the closet, even though they may have been at the forefront of the fight for equality. He told newspaper The Local that there are over 160,000 LGBT people over the age of 65 in Madrid alone, and many have experienced discrimination.

been denied residence in other Spanish nursing/retirement homes. The news is welcomed by Spain’s LGBT Federation, who say there is still discrimination, bullying, and homophobia in Spain, in both schools and the workplace. (eile.ie / 20 April)

The retirement project will convert an old hotel in Madrid, and will house approximately 230 residents, to include apartments and assisted living, and accommodation for HIV positive people, who have

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USA | Harvey Milk

U.S. Postal Service Releases Stamp in Honour of Harvey Milk The U.S. Postal Service has released a commemorative stamp in honour of the iconic American LGBT rights activist, Harvey Milk. The stamp art centers on a photo of Milk, taken by photographer Daniel Nicoletta, in front of Milk’s camera store in the Castro neighbourhood of San Francisco. The colors of the rainbow flag appear in a vertical strip in the top left corner, to symbolise Milk’s work for the LGBT community in San Francisco and further afield.

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In 1977, Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, making him one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States. His career was tragically cut short nearly a year after he took office, when he and the then Mayor of San Francisco, George Moscone, were both assassinated. In the years since Milk’s untimely death, there have been hundreds of openly LGBT public officials in the United States. In 2009, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Harvey Milk the

Medal of Freedom. The Harvey Milk stamp, designed by art director Antonio Alcalá, has been issued as part of the ‘Forever’ series of American stamps, which is equal in value to the First-Class Mail stamps. To find out more about the Harvey Milk stamp or to order a set of twenty for $9.80, visit usps. com. (eile.ie / April 22)


USA | California

LGBT Donor Conference Pulled from Brunei-Owned Hotel Over Anti-Gay Laws

A major American LGBT conference, which was scheduled to take place in May, was moved from a Brunei-owned hotel in California, in protest at Brunei’s attitudes against homosexuality. OutGiving, a group of philanthropes who fund LGBT groups and organisations, had intended to hold their ‘Winning the Heartland’ conference in the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles, CA, during May 1-5. The hotel’s owner, however, is the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah. Recently, Bolkiah has stated that he will introduce ‘death by stoning’ as a punishment for gay people in the small, Islamic country. When made aware of the connection between the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Sultan, the Gill Action Fund, which organises the OutGiving

conferences, informed the Washington Blade that the event would no longer take place at that venue. “In light of the horrific antigay policy approved by the Government of Brunei, Gill Action made the decision earlier today to relocate its conference from the Beverly Hills Hotel to another property,” Kirk Fordham, executive director of Gill Action, said in a statement to the Washington Blade. “We are seeking a return of all deposits.” The management of the Beverly Hills Hotel also made a statement in light of the conference’s change of venue, although no mention was made of the hotel owner’s comments on Brunei’s anti-gay attitude. According to Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade:

Leslie Lefkowitz, a spokesperson for the Beverly Hills Hotel, said in response to the OutGiving cancellation that conferences sometimes decide to change venues. “In the hotel industry, it is not uncommon for organizations to change aspects of their corporate programs, including the scope, date and/ or venues of planned events,” Lefkowitz said. “Anytime a valued business partner decides to alter their plans, we respect their right to do so and look forward to the next opportunity to be of service to them.” The OutGiving conference is an annual event, where U.S.based entrepreneurs and organisations meet to discuss philanthropic projects which aim to support the LGBT community. (eile.ie / April 21) EILE Magazine 67


Health | HIV Research

Scientists Find New ‘Weakness’ in HIV A team led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute in California, working with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) has discovered a new vulnerable site on the HIV virus. The newly identified site can be attacked by human antibodies in a way that neutralizes the infectivity of a wide variety of HIV strains. “HIV has very few known sites of vulnerability, but in this work we’ve described a new one, and we expect it will be useful in developing a vaccine,” said Dennis R. Burton, professor in TSRI’s Department of Immunology and Microbial Science and scientific director of the IAVI Neutralizing Antibody Center (NAC) and of the National Institute of Health’s Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology and Immunogen Discovery (CHAVI-ID) on TSRI’s La Jolla campus. “It’s very exciting that we’re still finding new vulnerable sites on this virus,” said Ian A. Wilson, Hansen Professor of Structural Biology, chair of the Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology and member of the 68 EILE Magazine

Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at TSRI and member of the NAC and CHAVI-ID. The findings were reported in two papers — one led by Burton and the second led by TSRI Assistant Professor Andrew B. Ward, also a member of NAC and CHAVIID, and Wilson — appearing in the May issue of the journal, Immunity. The discovery is part of a large, IAVI- and NIH-sponsored effort to develop an effective vaccine against HIV. Such a vaccine would work by eliciting a strong and long-lasting immune response against vulnerable conserved sites on the virus—sites that don’t vary much from strain to strain, and that, when grabbed by an antibody, leave the virus unable to infect cells. Cloaked by Shields HIV generally conceals these vulnerable conserved sites under a dense layer of difficult-to-grasp sugars and fast-mutating parts of the virus surface. Much of the antibody response to infection is directed against the fastmutating parts and thus is only transiently effective. Prior to the new findings,

scientists had been able to identify only a few different sets of “broadly neutralizing” antibodies, capable of reaching four conserved vulnerable sites on the virus. All these sites are on HIV’s only exposed surface antigen, the flower-like envelope (Env) protein (gp140) that sprouts from the viral membrane and is designed to grab and penetrate host cells. The identification of the new vulnerable site on the virus began with tests of blood samples from IAVI Protocol G, in which IAVI and its NAC partnered with clinical research centers in Africa, India, Thailand, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Blood samples were collected from more than 1,800 healthy, HIVpositive volunteers to look for rare, broadly neutralizing antibodies. The serum from a small set of the samples indeed turned out to block the infectivity, in test cells, of a wide range of HIV isolates, suggesting the presence of broadly neutralizing antibodies.

Hat-tip: Scripps Research Institute (eile.ie / April 28)


Eurovision | Conchita Wurst

Russia, Ukraine and Belarus Petition Eurovision to Ban Austrian Entry Conchita Wurst

Russia, Ukraine and Belarus have all petitioned Eurovision to remove – or at least edit out – Austrian entrant Conchita Wurst from this year’s competition, as the presence of a drag queen in the contest has been branded by the Russians as “inapplicable” to their way of life. The drag artist, Conchita Wurst – real name Tom Neuwirth – is representing Austria at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest with the powerful ballad, Rise Like a Phoenix. The Eurovision, which boasts a strong gay following, takes place this year in Copenhagen. Despite the Eurovision’s notoriety for being so gay-friendly (if not totally gay; watch last year’s interval act in Malmö,

Sweden) Russia has announced its disapproval for this year’s Austrian entrant in the petition, which has reportedly been signed by thousands. According to Reuters, Russia made the following statement: “Austria will be represented in the Eurovision 2014 by the transvestite contestant Conchita Wurst who leads the lifesytle inapplicable for the Russians. The popular international competition that our children will be watching has become a hotbed of sodomy at the initiation of the European liberals. That is why we are against the Eurovision 2014 to be broadcast in Russia.” This is not the first time the Eurovision has become embroiled in controversy over LGBT-rights and equality. Last year, the dance performance for the Finnish entry featured a kiss between the singer

and her female dance partner, which sparked off controversy with Turkey’s broadcast of the contest, although Turkey disputed that Finland’s song was the reason why they decided not to broadcast the Eurovision last year. In 1998, the transgender superstar, Dana International, won the Eurovision for her native Israel. See what the fuss is all about for yourself, by watching the music video for Conchita Wurst’s Rise Like a Phoenix here. The Eurovision Song Contest 2014 semi-finals take place in Copenhagen on the 6th and 8th of May, with the final taking place on the 10th. Conchita will represent Austria in the second semi-finals on the 8th. (eile.ie / April 28)

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Health | Dr Shay

The Dangers of Recreational Drug Use in ‘Slamming’ This month, Dr Shay Keating talks about the dangers of a new trend sweeping across the UK & Ireland Since qualifying as a medical doctor almost 25 years ago, I have had two special clinical and research interests. They are HIV and sexual health, particularly in gay men, and hepatitis C in injection drug users. I have been used to some overlap - treating drug users infected with HIV - but now it would seem that I may shortly be treating another cohort, gay men who are injecting drugs, and who are acquiring hepatitis C as a consequence. ‘Chem-sex’ refers to the use of recreational drugs during sex. The term ‘slamming’ refers to the use of drugs, often by injection, during group sex parties, where gay men take drugs such as crystal meth or mephedrone to help enhance and prolong sexual activity. The drugs cause an intense high and increased libido, prolong sex, and are powerful disinhibitors, wherein users lose their inhibitions. When so disinhibited, users are more likely to engage in unprotected sex, often anal, with multiple partners. There has also been a rise in nonconsensual sex. Just as worrying, many share needles and syringes, 70 EILE Magazine

thereby facilitating the spread of blood borne viruses such as HIV or hepatitis C. Anecdotally, while actively slamming, those who are HIV positive and on HIV medications, who would have not been infectious, often stop taking their meds, and are theoretically infectious again. In the recent months, there have been reports of an increase in gay men accessing addiction services in the U.K., particularly in London, to address their chemsex drug use. The intense highs of crystal meth and mephedrone are followed by intense lows. Users describe staying awake for days at a time while coming down from the drugs, feeling paranoid and depressed. Suicides related to chem-sex drugs have been reported. Where there may not be a physical addiction to crystal meth or mephedrone, the psychological addiction is immense, and many report that ‘sober sex’- sex without chemicals - is no longer achievable. Just as worrying as the psychological morbidity are the medical consequences of intravenous crystal meth and mephedrone use. At slamming parties, many who are using these drugs do not have access to sterile needles and syringes,

even if they wanted it, and they resort to sharing with other men, often strangers. This sharing of needles and syringes has resulted in an unprecedented high in new HIV cases diagnosed in the gay community in London. It has also led to a rise in hepatitis C, an infection hitherto rarely acquired in a sexual context, apart from aggressive or invasive sex, such as fisting, which results in traumatic bleeding in the rectum and colon. Chem-sex drug use, like smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol for the majority, is a lifestyle choice, at least in the early pre-addiction stage. As a doctor, I would like those who are slamming do so with their eyes open, informed of the clinical and psychological consequences. I would like to believe that the decision to ‘slam’ is made without duress or peer pressure. Ask any heroin user, in Ireland, how to access needle exchange programmes, and my belief is that they will all know the locations. Ask a gay man the same question, and my guess is that they will have no idea how to get their injection equipment. Ireland’s gay community needs to be ready for the wave of slamming which is, potentially, heading this way, if its not here already. Be prepared to adopt a harm minimisation policy to help halt the further spread of infection.


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Dr Shay Keating Continued…

In the addiction services, we routinely provide our clients with a safe injection pack with sterile needles and syringes. Maybe we need to think of making the same available at slamming parties?

GUM, Dip Occ Med., has his clinic at the Harold’s Cross Surgery, Harolds Cross, Dublin 6W, and is a Specialist in Genitourinary Medicine, at St. James’s Hospital, Dublin. Contact stdclinic.ie Phone: 01497 0022 or +353 87 234 5551

Dr. James (Shay) N. Keating, BA Mod, MB, PhD. MRCP, Dip

For daily news and information for the LGBT community, visit

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Chloe Sanders & Michael Pantozzi – SNAFU

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EILE Magazine – Issue 12 (May 2014)