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EILE

Magazine V2 Issue 10 – March 2015

Raymond & Lane Pledging to Vote

Sound of Oz

Béar Féile Inside:

Justin Utley Gig in Dublin

Travel | Film | Music | Opinion | Interviews | Events


EILE Magazine | Who’s Who

Contributors

Nick Bassett Originally from Bournemouth, but now based in Auckland, Nick is EILE’s resident music reviewer and creator of the brilliant daily music blog, Chart Shaker. Jon Beaupré Lucia is a writer and Associate Producer with LA-based international LGBT radio show, This Way Out. She lives in Los Angeles. M. Butler M. Butler is a writer and editor, with a keen interest in human rights, and has studied philosophy and psychology. Andy Cast Andy is an executive coach, mediator and bereavement counsellor. He lives in Southampton with his partner Paul and their two cats, Daisy and Spike. 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. Stephen Donnan Stephen is from Belfast, where he is an active member of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland. He is also a writer, journalist and community worker. Lisa Reynolds Originally from County Meath, Lisa is a fashion industry student living in Bray, County Wicklow. Gareth Russell Gareth is an author, writer and journalist from Belfast. Having studied history at Oxford, Gareth’s most recent historical book looks at the history of the British royal family. 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 March 2015 Raymond and Lane – P.6

Volume 2, Issue 10

The wacky duo chat to EILE about their second comedy webseries

Editor-in-Chief: Scott De Buitléir Features Editor: MKB

Béar Féile – P.12 Ireland’s biggest bear festival returns to Dublin for an event-packed weekend

Sound of Oz – P.16 An exclusive look at the brand new musical project based on the Wizard of Oz.

Contributors: Nick Bassett, MKB, Andy Cast, Lucia Chappelle, Stephen Donnan, Lisa Reynolds, Gareth Russell, Frances Winston NB: All images in this publication are either under Creative Commons licence, or used with permission. Image credits, where necessary, are printed on the correspinding page(s). Any queries can be made to hello@eile.ie Special Thanks to MKB for all her hard work, dedication and support. Web: http://eile.ie

Film & Music Reviews – Pgs. 4852 Frances Winston looks at this month’s cinema releases, while Nick Bassett listens to some must-have new sounds

Copenhagen & Malmö – P.64

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

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We travel to the stylish Øresund region of Copenhagen and southern Sweden for a weekend break (BZ&VSPQFBO5PVSJTN"TTPDJBUJPO

…and much more! EILE Magazine 3

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EILE Magazine | Editor’s Letter

Contents 6-

Raymond & Lane

8-

Béar Féile

16 -

Sound of Oz

22 -

Straight Up for Equality

24 -

Tiernan Brady

26 -

Pam Ann

28 -

Fight for Equality

30 -

Pat Carey’s Coming Out

32 -

California Dispatch

36 -

Film Reviews

40 - Music Reviews 50 -

OlaGirls

52 -

21st Century Life

54 -

Q&A: Justin Utley

56 -

Story: When Cameron

Met Blake

60 - Gareth Russell 64 -

Travel

64 -

Column: Andy Cast

66 -

News & Misc.

Spring In Our Step! Welcome to the March issue of EILE Magazine! There’s no doubt that the confirmed date for the Marriage Equality Referendum – May 22 – has now galvanised the country. We chat with GLEN’s Tiernan Brady about the campaign, and find out about supportive campaigns like #VoteWithUs & Straight Up For Equality. We also get an exclusive insight into a wonderful music project based on the Wizard of Oz, headed by the great-grandson of the original film’s lyricist! Aside from Paddy’s Day, March also sees another great Irish festival – Béar Féile! We’ve got the lowdown on Dublin’s biggest bear festival and what to expect from it. We also have a quick catchup with singer/songwriter Justin Utley (EILE’s cover star from June ’14) ahead of his Dublin gig in aid of marriage equality on March 16. We’ve also got our fantastic regular features, including our columnists from Belfast, Los Angeles and Southampton, music reviews via Auckland, and movie reviews from Dublin. As always, there’s lots more to discover in this new issue of EILE – I hope you enjoy what we’ve been working on.

Scott De Buitléir Founder / Editor-in-Chief

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Raymond & Lane Matt Cullen and Troy LaPersonerie are two American actors who are living the dream in many ways. Their web series, Raymond & Lane, is a creative side-project to keep their spirits high while working day jobs and going to auditions. That said, it’s still getting them all the right attention, from international press exposure to being nominated for awards for their comedic skills. “Me and Troy actually met in [acting] college in New York City”, Matt explains over the phone from LA, “and we became best friends there. We moved to LA together to pursue acting, and we just wanted to create something on our off-time between auditioning and working outside jobs. We just wanted a creative outlet, so Raymond and Lane was born”. The web series follows two

characters on wild and wacky adventures through Los Angeles, and is already in the middle of its second season. With a creative team and offthe-wall storyline, it’s certainly gaining the right attention, but where did the idea come from? “I would say it’s a much heightened version of … phases we’ve gone through in life”, Troy answers, “or [of] friends we’ve had. Raymond might be like my alter ego, like how I joke with my friends in his voice.” Troy also notes the practical benefits of creating Raymond and Lane, as well as it being a great creative outlet for the two. As the duo are new to Los Angeles, Troy explains that creating the show has been a great way to meet and network with new people in LA’s acting and creative communities, as both of the young actors are new to the city.

Actor In a Comedy Series’, which proves that their hard work is paying off, and getting them noticed by the right people in the entertainment industry. “Our castmate Samantha Purnell has also been nominated for Best Supporting Actress”, Troy adds, “so we’re really happy for her and it’s been really exciting”. If cast members have been getting award nominations from the first series alone, where now for the second series? Matt explains that the first season was a learning curve, and so now the team have the confidence to make the new season a little wackier: “The first season was very experimental, where we got to see what worked and what didn’t. It was a huge learning experience, so with the second season we feel we have more of a formula for writing the

Recently, both Troy and Matt were surprised with the news that the two of them were nominated at the LA Web Fest Harriet Schock guest stars Awards for ‘Outstanding alongside Matt & Troy EILE Magazine 


episodes, and we know the characters a little better. So, it’s been cool.� TroyLaPersonerie is also known for RUN (2013) and When The Moon Was Twice As Big (Out 2016). Matt Cullen is also known for Skye of the Damned (2013) and Choosing Fate (2013). Raymond and Lane airs every Sunday on Youtube. For more, visit raymondandlane.com

(r-l) Troy LaPersonarie, Lauren Sivan and Matt Cullen filming Series 2 of Raymond and Lane  EILE Magazine


Information and support for women who need someone to talk to

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


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The Dublin Bears have launched their upcoming schedule for BĂŠar FĂŠile 2015, with a brilliant lineup of events for the Irish bear community and their friends DJ El Styra, Paul M, Wolf and many more fabulous acts are part of the festivities, with lots of other great events lined up, including Mr Bear Ireland with Panti! To find out more and to book tickets, visit dublinbears.ie.

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Béar Féile – Ireland’s Amazing Bear Festival Béar Féile, Ireland’s biggest bear festival organised by the Dublin Bears, takes place from Thursday, 26th March until Sunday, 29th. Registration takes place on the evening of the 26th at Nealon’s Bar on Capel Street (Dublin 1) from 5pm until 9pm, when the meet & greet takes place. At 10pm, the crowd will move onto Bridie’s Bar, part of The George on South Great George’s Street (Dublin 2). On Friday, Registration continues at Nealon’s Bar at 3pm, ahead of a tour of the Lepreachaun Museum at 4pm. A traditional music session (or ‘seisiún ceoil’) takes place back in Nealon’s alongside DJ Aggy, before the crowd moves to the Arlington Hotel Temple Bar for a Bear Dinner (Cost: €28.95). The evening’s entertainment continues at the Arlington with the talented Paul M (EILE’s Jannuary ‘15 cover star!) and DJ Steobear wooing the crowd. Saturday sees a guided bus tour around Dublin at 12.30pm for just €10, picking people up at Pantibar on Capel Street. At 3pm, On The 12 EILE Magazine

Game takes place at Nealon’s, ahead of the annual Mr Bear Ireland grand finals, with PANTI, WOLF and DJ Corky in Break For The Border from 9pm. The final day of Béar Féile is a wind-down of the festival, with a fun Viking Splash Tour at 12.30pm. After that, it’s nothing but good fun as the crowd joins a brilliant Dolly Parton tribute act in Pantibar, before heading across the river for some Bear Bingo with Shirley Temple Bar at the George. For more information, you can visit dublinbears.ie where you can also book your tickets for the Bear Dinner.


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Boteco Bears returns to Dublin for Saturday, March 7 for a brilliant night of fun, food and frolics! DJ Aggie takes to the decks for the evening’s entertainment, with a special offer of two tapas and a pint for just €10 (until 11pm). The event is run by the Dublin Bears, so members’ admission is free until 11pm, while non-members’ admission is €5. Boteco Bears takes place at Boteco (6 Ormond Quay, D1). Doors open from 10pm. For more information, visit www.dublinbears.ie. EILE Magazine 15


Sound of Oz Great-Grandson of “The Wizard of Oz” Lyricist Plans “The Sound of Oz,” a New Documentary Film Everyone knows the songs from The Wizard of Oz; in fact, Over the Rainbow is often cited as the greatest movie hit of all time. Few, however, know the names of the men who wrote Rainbow and the rest of the classic Oz score. Now the remedy for their anonymity is in the hands of Aaron Harburg - greatgrandson of The Wizard of Oz lyricist, E.Y. “Yip” Harburg, - who has begun production on The Sound of Oz. The featurelength documentary honors both his great-grandfather, and Oz composer, Harold Arlen. The twenty-eight year old Harburg has already assembled a teaser-trailer that heralds the two men, and their Oz work. It also discusses the history and impact of the Harburg lyrics and Arlen melodies: “So many lives have been changed by the songs from The Wizard of Oz,” he explains.

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“From If I Only Had a Brain to We’re Off to See the Wizard to Ding-Dong! The Witch is Dead, there are countless untold stories of people who have found inspiration and joy in my great-grandfather’s words. Yet few people know who he is. I hope to use the power of film to introduce the Oz songwriters - and their creative process - to the world.”

Publicity portrait of Judy Garland. Photo credit: The John Fricke Collection.

While the making of The Wizard of Oz has been documented in numerous books and on home video, the specific story behind the film’s songs has yet to be told. The Sound of Oz will detail the magical (and sometimescombative) relationship Harburg’s great-grandfather shared with composer Arlen.


Aaron Harburg has begun production on The Sound of Oz

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“Each brilliant musical moment in The Wizard of Oz has a behind-the-scenes story of Hollywood politics, teamwork and negotiation,” offers the film’s director, Ryan Jay. “We plan to finally share those stories.”

Judy Garland on the MGM recording stage. Photo: The John Fricke Collection.

“They were very different personalities, almost opposites,” notes Aaron. “My great-grandfather was sanguine and chipper, while Mr. Arlen was a classic melancholic.” “Yet the first time my great-grandfather heard the melody for Over the Rainbow, he hated it,” admits Harburg. “It wasn’t until Ira Gershwin intervened and suggested Mr. Arlen play it differently − less symphonically − that Yip began to see how it could work.” Over the Rainbow won the Academy Award for “Best Original Song” just seventy-five years ago. Since then, it’s been honored as the #1 Film Song of All Time by The American Film Institute and #1 Song of the Twentieth Century by The National Endowment for the Arts, and The Recording Industry Association of America. The irony of this – to be explained in The Sound of Oz – is that the number was nearly dropped from Oz, not once, but several times.

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The Sound of Oz also will explore the genius struck between composer and lyricist, as divulged in interviews with descendants of the original cast and crew, including Jane Lahr (daughter of “Cowardly Lion” Bert Lahr). The documentary will contain additional insights and comments from filmmakers of other Oz movies; Oz historians (including Emmy Award-winning producer/ writer and Grammy Awardnominated journalist John Fricke); and several contemporary artists, who sing, play, or are influenced by the Oz score to this day. “The Wizard of Oz wouldn’t have remained as iconic as it has without the songs,” says Stephen Schwartz, composer/lyricist of the multi-billion dollar Broadway sensation, Wicked, who sat down with Harburg and Jay last autumn for an oncamera interview. For the first time on record, Schwartz reveals - and plays - the strategicallyhidden melody fragments from the songs of The Wizard of Oz that he incorporated into his score for Wicked. Given his unique family background, it’s likely that only Aaron could gather such a cast of participants. The Sound of Oz grew out of his passion, and it was his initial hope that the project would carry on his family legacy, providing long over-due recognition for lyricist Harburg and composer Arlen. But it has grown into more: “I see now how important their story is to fans of The Wizard of Oz. From very humble beginnings, my great-grandfather partnered with Mr. Arlen, and together they crafted words


and melodies that launched the golden era of movie musicals. Their story will inspire everyone to pursue their dreams, to never give up…and to always keep chasing the rainbow.” To view The Sound of Oz trailer, please visit www. thesoundofozmovie.com.

February 29, 1940: After receiving his Academy Award for “Over the Rainbow” as the Best Song of 1939, OZ composer Harold Arlen poses with Gene Buck (thenpresident of ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers). Lyricist E. Y. “Yip” Harburg was in New York at the time, so Arlen accepted the Oscars for both of them.

More photos next page >

The Cast: Terry (Toto), Judy Garland (Dorothy), Ray Bolger (The Scarecrow), Jack Haley (The Tin Man), Frank Morgan (The Wizard), and Bert Lahr (The Cowardly Lion). Photo credit: The John Fricke Collection.

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Oz Lyricist E. Y. “Yip” Harburg (left) with OZ composer Harold Arlen

Right: The Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr), Dorothy (Judy Garland), The Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), and the Tin Man (Jack Haley) share a chorus of “The Merry Old Land of Oz” with the citizens of the Emerald City. (And Toto, too!) Photo credit: The John Fricke Collection

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‘Straight Up For Equality’ Encouraging a YES Vote Straight Up For Equality is a brand new campaign, encouraging everyone, gay or straight, to vote for equality in the upcoming marriage referendum. According to their own site: “Straight Up For Equality is a citizen platform for encouraging people to have conversations about equality ahead of the marriage referendum in May. We want you to get involved in as small or as large a way as possible. We are providing people with the information and tools to share their preference for greater equality, to inspire others, and to vote YES. As citizens, it shouldn’t matter whether you’re gay or straight or anything in between. We believe Ireland as a society would benefit hugely from everyone being equal. If you believe every Irish person should be treated equally in their own country, then join us. In 2015, Ireland will vote on marriage equality in a referendum, and we are asking straight people to get involved and vote YES”. Visit them on straightupforequality.org or by visiting their Facebook page via fb.com/straightupforequality 22 EILE Magazine


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Tiernan Brady Pledging Yes to Equality

Tiernan Brady of GLEN & Yes Equality on marriage equality and the importance of the Pledge to Vote campaign

Tiernan Brady appears to be contagiously enthusiastic, and right about now, he has the right to be. 24 EILE Magazine

For years, the Donegal native has been working towards LGBT equality through the Gay & Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), but he’s only getting started. Now, Tiernan is also working with Yes Equality - an umbrella group designed to help local and regional community groups around Ireland set themselves up to


promote the message of the Yes campaign throughout the country. The referendum campaign is finally, well and truly underway, and Brady is delighted to report to me that “there are so many fantastic, enthusiastic people out there who want to get involved”. Finally, he explains, there’s a goal that such people can now aim towards, a line to cross. “This isn’t something that’s been sprung on us”, Tiernan explains. “This is ten, fifteen years in the making. It’s a long, national discussion, debated the whole way through civil partnership, and recognition of relationships right up until now, as we get to the finish line”. Tiernan is quick to add that this is no longer a campaign involving the gay community, but that their involvement is undoubtedly going to be the catalyst in encouraging others to get involved. “I think what we’re gonna be looking at,” Tiernan says, “is an incredible wave of enthusiasm from so many lesbian & gay people, but not just them - their family and friends, their work colleagues, their neighbours, and all those people who also believe in equality in general as a principle”.

“I think we’ve a huge challenge over the next 10-13 weeks,

to take all that energy and turn it into a positive, engaging campaign, so that everybody can hear the case for equality”. It’s for that reason, amongst many others, that Yes Equality’s new ‘Pledge to Vote’ campaign is an valuable message to be sent across the nation. The idea is for those definite Yes voters to show their support publicly online by using the Pledge to Vote logo on social media, and also to encourage the LGBT community to tell their larger communities why this referendum will be so important to them. It may be a hard battle ahead in some ways, but Tiernan is hopeful that the recent opinion polls, in favour of marriage equality, show that the Yes campaign is off to a healthy start: “To be fair, the polls are brilliant, and it’s wonderful to be starting at a position where seventy percent consistently, poll after poll, are in favour of equality for gay & lesbian people. That sends a wonderful message… about Irish people’s attitude towards [the LGBT community’s] place in society, our place in their villages, their families and their communities. But

we can’t take anything for granted. I think the thing we found, during the early stages of the campaign, is that for many people, especially under the age of 45, the issue is over for them in terms of the debate. They’re 100% in favour, but the challenge for us is to make sure they realise that nothing is over until their ballot card is in the ballot box and counted”. Tiernan understands, like the rest of the teams in both GLEN and Yes Equality, that the Yes side of the marriage equality campaign is going to be heavily reliant on those people – gay and straight – who show how this referendum will affect them personally. It may be the mother of a gay son, the woman who has a lesbian niece, or the grandmother who’d like to see her grandson get married sooner rather than later. “One of the challenges we face”, Tiernan explains, “[…] is getting those solid supporters of equality and lesbian and gay people to understand that they have to get out there and vote, they have to own the campaign in their own space. So, we’ve launched the Pledge to Vote campaign specifically to address that, where we want as many people as possible to commit to voting... to understand that within their circle, you are the heart of the campaign”. To find out more about Yes Equality or to volunteer, visit yesequality.ie

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Don’t Miss: Pam Ann Returns to Ireland! Pam Ann, the world’s favourite International Air Hostess and Queen of the Sky, flies back to Ireland with a brand new show for 2015.

like international following and counts Elton John, Cher and Madonna (who describes Pam Ann as “cruelly funny”) among her fans but most importantly Richard Quest from CNN calls her a friend and fellow Wikipedia of the travel industry.

Jet setting-in direct from sell-out tours in Europe, USA, Australia, and following a six week run at London’s Leicester Square Theatre, Pam Ann will touchdown in Dublin and Belfast later this year.

Pam Ann is the comic creation of writer and comedian Caroline Reid. Together they sell out every stage they hit from New York’s Public Theatre and San Francisco’s Castro, to Sydney’s State Theatre, Melbourne’s Princess Theatre, Paris’s Alhambra Theatre, Berlin’s Admiralspalast, London’s Hammersmith Apollo to name a few. In the UK, Pam Ann was the 4th best-selling female comedian of 2014 wedged between Dawn French and her long time inspiration Joan Rivers. In Australia, Pam Ann starred on her own television talk show, The Pam Ann Show on Foxtel and has hosted the National Live broadcast of Mardi Gras. Among Pam Ann’s greatest hits are an advertising campaign and training videos for British Airways, the inclusion of her Live DVD Come Fly With Me on Qantas’ in-flight programming, being the face of London’s Heathrow SkyTeam Terminal 4 for the 5th year running and being awarded the Icon Award by New York’s Get Out Magazine.

The Queen of the Sky can’t promise that this plane won’t go missing over the Indian Ocean or shut down the internet in North Korea, but she can guarantee it will be a turbulent flight. Ever wondered what it would feel like to be hijacked and verbally abused by an international air hostess? Well this show is for you! Pam Ann is back and she means business (class). Hilarious, often shocking and totally politically incorrect, Pam Ann keeps things lively and nail bitingly unpredictable as she takes off her pristine white gloves and delivers an unrelenting barrage of “shoot-from-the-lip” observations. Pam Ann’s caustic wit knows no boundaries so fasten your seat belts and prepare for take-off. Fearless about engaging in controversy, she deftly navigates the flying taboos, stereotypes, and cultural differences that even the boldest of other comedians rarely broach. Easily offended flyers please be warned – Queen Of The Sky will take no hostages. Adored by some cabin crew and frequent flyers around the world, Pam Ann’s ability to both rile, offend and charm her audiences has helped her keep flying high. She is like Marmite you either love or hate her. She’s developed a cult26 EILE Magazine

Pam Ann and her super human work ethic are just getting started, in 2015 she is also working on a Hollywood Pam Ann Movie, TV Pam Ann sitcom and a Pam Ann book due out later this year. Queen Of the Sky will feature brand new videos created by long time collaborator film maker Sam Harvey, music by DJ Wayne G and costumes created by New York designer Garo Sparo.


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The Fight For Equality Andy Cast ponders marriage equality, and wonders where the next fight for equality will take us On 22 May, the people of Ireland face a decision which will make history. They will go to the polling stations to say yes or no to a very important question - should same-sex couples be allowed to marry. Over in the UK, we have been able to commit to each other with the same legal status as straight couples for about a year now. The change in the law here has caused much upset and debate about it being ‘the right thing to do’. I sit here - an openly gay man who feels no compulsion to rush to the local registry office and marry my partner. Not because I don’t love him, or want to commit to him, but because I don’t need a piece of paper to show the world how I feel 28 EILE Magazine

about him. It wouldn’t matter if I were straight, I would have no need to get married. For me it doesn’t mean anything. At best, a wedding is a great party with your family and friends, where you show them all exactly how much you love your partner. Well, I can throw a party any time I like and do that. I don’t need a piece of paper, a minister or registrar to give me permission to love Paul, and be with him for the rest of my life. Yes I know there are legal reasons why we should do it, and we will probably tie up those lose ends when we can, but I don’t need a wedding. But do you know what? If I want to get married - I should be able to. It’s the mere fact that I couldn’t which made it so wrong. Therefore, I am absolutely overjoyed that the law was changed. I would have been equally overjoyed if the whole concept of marriage had been totally abandoned. No weddings for straight people or gay people. Therefore, equality.  For me, even if the

law had changed, and no one had decided to marry, this would still be an amazing move towards equality for all. Because this was never really about marriage was it? Clearly, it’s about the right to be treated equally. In the same way that the suffragettes fought for women to be able to vote, and Martin Luther King fought for blacks and whites to be able to stand shoulder to shoulder as equal men and women, this change in the law has demonstrated that we gays are just the same as the straights, and are entitled to the same rights and privileges. My comparisons have made me consider something - whereas the differences between men and women, and blacks and whites are visual, the differences between gays and straights aren’t quite as obvious. I wonder if that adds more to a victory for our equality, or takes something away from it? Has it made it a harder fight or an easier one? Difficult question for me to answer, because I can only see it from the gay man’s


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perspective. How would a gay, black woman answer it? Which part of her ‘identity’ feels the most satisfaction about being legally recognised? There’s another equality debate raging at the moment: “Why aren’t there more women executives on major corporate boards?”. There has been a call to put targets in place for businesses to ensure they are promoting women, and suggestions have said that 25% of executive board members should be women. It seems sad that we should have to enforce any number, surely we should be aiming for top talent regardless of gender - or anything else for that matter. When all of us have equal marriage, does our fight start for equal representation in other areas? Will we need to make sure there is a gay person on every company board? Is there an order of importance given to our identities? Which characteristic is more important than the others?

It’s going to become a very complex world if we have to positively discriminate on all of them. Am I naïve to think that one day all of this fighting for equality will be behind us? It really shouldn’t matter what race, colour, creed, gender, sexuality, favourite colour or musical taste you have. In fact, we shouldn’t even need to think about it, let alone fight for it. Equality will just be there as an unspoken given. Sadly, I can’t see it in my lifetime, and probably not in my children’s lifetimes. As a human race, we still have far too many biases - be they conscious or unconscious. We are getting better, but we still have a very long way to go. Some campaigners against same-sex marriage have said that it’s against family values. They couldn’t be more wrong. If anything, surely the desire to get married demonstrates a want to instil family values, and be recognised as two people who love each other enough to make their vows.

We want to show the world that we homosexuals are just like the heterosexuals - normal, loving individuals, not the perpetual clubbing queens we are so often painted to be by the media, and by the religious zealots who look down their noses at us. Because that’s the equality I want. I don’t want to have to shout about my sexuality. I just want to be me - a man who happens to love another man, with all my heart. I hope the people of Ireland will do the right thing, and support their gay kinsmen and women in their quest to be treated equally. Because it is the right thing, isn’t it?. We are all human beings, just the same underneath our skin. Why on earth would anyone think we should be treated differently?

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A Former Government Minister Came Out – And No-One Batted An Eyelid EILE’s Scott De Buitléir takes a moment to reflect on a historic moment that, in some ways, shows how far we have come In February, a former Irish government minister criticised his own political party for lacking “energy and urgency” in their campaign to support Ireland’s upcoming referendum on marriage equality. For a former senior politican such as Pat Carey (who served as Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs from 2010 to 2011) to criticise his own political party, Fianna Fáil, on the issue is constructive, and supports the marriage equality cause in Ireland. There’s an added strength to Carey’s statement, however, as he has also come out publicly as a gay man – something he never did while he was a government minister. In fact, there is something quite bittersweet about it when he 30 EILE Magazine

tells the Irish Times’ Mary Minihan that his “only regret is that [he] didn’t have the courage or confidence” to come out during his career as Minister, just as Health Minister, Leo Varadkar, did on live radio earlier this year. There’s also a sadness about this piece of news. Actually, no – there’s nothing sad about the news itself, but rather the lost years that many older LGBT people have had to contend with. It may be that this wasn’t perceived as ‘big’ a news story as Leo Varadkar coming out. In some ways, that’s understandable; Pat Carey is no longer directly involved in the political sphere, while Leo Varadkar is a current government minister. That part is fine. Despite that, however, Pat Carey’s coming out might have been slightly more subtle than Varadkar’s, but it was by no means less important and valuable. While there are now quite a few politicians in the current Oireachtas who are openly

gay, Pat Carey waited until he was in his mid-60s before he decided to come out to his family and friends. That was four years before he decided to come out publicly last week. It could be argued that Carey’s coming out is more of a milestone than Varadkar’s in some ways, because Carey belongs to an older Irish generation. This may, or may not, have been something that the former minister considered himself, but nevertheless Carey did say to the media that he had been nervous about coming out. “I was coming out of Mass this morning”, he explained to the Irish Examiner’s Caroline O’Doherty, “when a woman […] in her older years touched me on the elbow and whispered to me that what you said made an awful difference to a lot of people.” Mr Carey also provided another anecdote of proof that his words, however arguably late in his years, made a


positive difference to society:

experienced it in the same way.

“I was in my local supermarket yesterday — kind of tentatively going around because you’re never quite sure what the reaction is going to be — and another came up to me and said, it’s really good what you said, I have a gay son and we had an uncle who would probably be categorised as being gay but nobody knew how to talk about it”.

Sure, homophobia and negative attitudes still exist today, but they are massively different in today’s Ireland than in the starkly conservative and über-Catholic Ireland of the forties or fifties. Even now as I, entering my late twenties, write this piece, I’m painfully aware that I’ve experienced nothing like the hardship and horror that LGBT people would have faced in a predecriminalisation Ireland.

In all our columns, reports, interviews and other formats across the Irish media on the topic of marriage equality – and wider equality for LGBT people – we often forget older people in the conversation. Interpret the ‘we’ however you like; it can apply to those working in the media, or in society in general, but the point still applies. Pat Carey, a man in his sixties, is of more relevance to his own generation – whether LGBT or not – than an openly-gay politician or public figure in his or her twenties or thirties. A younger public figure wouldn’t know first-hand of the internalised homophobia that many of the older generation live with every day, because the younger ones, thankfully, have never

Still, it is for

that

reason that neither Varadkar’s words on air, nor mine here, may be enough to make an impact and touch older LGBT people, who have suppressed their sexuality over the years, often for their own safety. Pat Carey’s coming out, in that case, should have received a much larger public fanfare and celebration, because his actions of late show that these conversations, these topics, are not just a young person’s game. Our society, whether straight or gay, young or old, has many different levels to it. If we are to be a tolerant society, we cannot think for a moment that one group, one minority, or one generation is less deserving of our time and attention than another.

Pat Carey

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California Dispatch

Californ

Complaini

Lucia Chappelle on how LGBT activism may soon turn green My East Coast family and friends certainly think I’ve become a wimp living in Southern California for lo these 40 years, and they do have a point. I can remember my friends and I not being able to get a bus, and walking a couple of miles in two feet of snow to a place where we could call someone’s mom after seeing (the snowiest of movies!) “Dr. Zhivago,” but I doubt that I could survive the recordbreaking winter they’re living through now. On the other hand, the folks I left back home shouldn’t trust the rose-colored image of the weather here that they 32 EILE Magazine

get on television. I’ve tried to tell them to no avail that, despite the bright sunshine, the pretty young women they see marching in the Rose Parade, in their bathing suits, are grinning bravely with goose bumps an inch high. Maybe it’s because everybody loves the idea of a land where it’s pleasantly summertime all the time. The devastating drought in Golden California – so named because of the dried-up grass on the hills, not any precious metals found in them – isn’t taken very seriously by those hit by overwhelming snow drifts, even though the very food they

eat could be compromised – and they don’t even get the joke if you tell them that Boston’s sheer selfishness is robbing the Sierra Nevadas of the snowpack that supplies California’s vast agricultural fields (not to mention the rest of us) with much of their water! Speaking of Boston, one of the country’s largest St. Patrick’s Day Parades, which this year has admitted an LGBTQ group for the first time in its 278-year history, is being re-routed due to the huge snow banks lining the streets. With all the newsmaking storms going on east of here, the fact that Sunny


California Dispatch

nia Dispatch:

ing About the Weather Southern California finally got a bit of rain this season hasn’t received much notice … and my Facebook friends thought I must be crazy when I posted that there was hail (yes, hail!) hitting my porch the other night. The extremes can be seen everywhere. Only a few (usually highly compensated) critics maintain that we’re not actually in very deep trouble when it comes to our global climate. Most people realize it; the majority of those who realize it don’t feel very empowered about turning things around. Even the good, activist LGBTQs I know who faithfully recycle, conserve water, drive fuel-efficient cars or take public transportation, etc., go through their ecological drills with a sense of meaningful meaninglessness – it’s doing something, but it will never be enough. Recently I attended a lecture by Dr. John Cobb, one of the world’s leading process theologians. Cobb is currently one of the organizers of *Pando Populus, described as “a new platform at the intersection of big ideas and the ecosphere.” Named for the oldest and largest organism on the planet (which appears to be a 100-acre grove of individual aspen trees, but actually is connected by a single root

system) and based on the “philosophy of organism” of Alfred North Whitehead, the group is convening a conference entitled “Seizing an Alternative: Towards an Ecological Civilization” in June at Pomona College in Claremont, California. The talk I went to was a forerunner of the conference directed specifically to the LGBTQ community,

Whitehead said, “[Everything] is to be understood in terms of the way it is interwoven with the rest of the universe.” Cobb’s presentation focused on the intellectual roots of modern industrial attitudes, the fundamental assumptions of Western thought that determine how we perceive the world, and our relationship to it. These assumptions lead us to see human beings as separate from the environment. They lead most people to view ecological concerns as a bourgeois eccentricity at best and a hapless joke at worst. Cobb believes the crucial question is how we change those fundamental assumptions. His question to the LGBTQ community is

how did we change society’s fundamental homophobia so profoundly that we have achieved so much in such a relatively short time. He wants to know whether we can teach the environmental movement to do what we’ve done. All oppressed minorities know too well how difficult it is to engineer a consciousness shift, when the issue is the butt of the joke. It took a long time for the image of Stepin Fetchit (the comedian Lincoln Perry, who played an apparently stupid, slow-moving African American servant) to be replaced by the postage stamp of Martin Luther King in the minds of white folks, but a significant segment of people in the United States still think of President Barack Obama as a raving King Kong, squeezing the life out of a screaming, blonde Faye Wray country in his angry paw. It took a long time for “those sweet girls” to be recognized for their abilities in every area of public and private life, but women today still have to fight to retain the most basic rights of selfdetermination and economic equality. When it comes to the LGBT community, our success EILE Magazine 33

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California Dispatch in impacting the public consciousness, while like other emerging groups there is much to be done, has been remarkable. How can we, who have moved large parts of the world from seeing us as ridiculed rejects to the incredible sweep of victories for marriage equality, teach the environmental movement to inspire the kind of fundamental shift in consciousness required to save the planet? Visibility has been the key first step, the relentless, sometimes even obnoxious insistence on not being ignored – and certainly not made light of. The LGBT movement may have brought the world the expression “coming out,” but the strategy has been around far longer. Scenes of Birmingham, Alabama, policedogs attacking youthful civil rights protestors forced the country to look into the horrific heart of segregation. The appearance of women in what were once “non-traditional roles” has made that the new normal. The LGBT movement raised the act of personal visibility to a dramatic art form. All the legislative advances, ballot initiatives, and court cases in the world couldn’t have added up to a hill of beans, without the ever-growing numbers of people coming out, and living out in their own everyday worlds. There have been endless arguments and intra-queer prejudices about what constitutes the “best” images to promote the cause, but the truth is that no matter 34 EILE Magazine

how shocking or domesticated the portrait, the numbers and the diversity of the folks willing to just be themselves – demonstrated, if you will, at ground level a whole new reality. Bit by bit, a new perception of LGBT people, a new consciousness about human sexuality, morality and family values emerged. Does the environmental movement have that kind of coming-out mettle? I’ve been involved in more than one eco-organization that has proudly reassured their donors that they are “not tree-huggers.” It’s as though their strongest pitch was that people could just change their behavior, without bothering with any of that embarrassing “new consciousness stuff.” It’s like advocating for the rights of gays and lesbians while “understanding’ that gender identity may be too far a stretch. Dr. Cobb hopes to see a healthy contingent of LGBTQ people at the “Seizing an Alternative” conference, and so do I. I hope that, unlike most such events, there will be a significant number of people of color too. Beyond this conference, I hope we can find a way to share what we’ve learned with the activists of the “next” big movement.

*Please note that the Pando Populus website is setting up an online network for environmental activists/ thinkers, and is not limited to the local conference. For more information on Pando Populus visit http://pandopopulus.com/

Lucia Chappelle is an Associate Producer with This Way Out. She lives in Los Angeles.


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. EILE Magazine 35


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STILL ALICE 36 EILE Magazine


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Frances Winston on Movies Selma Directed by: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland Starring: Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth, Hunter Parrish As the film which finally won the supremely talented Julianne Moore a Best Actress Oscar, this is pretty much guaranteed an audience, as people flock to see her star turn. The fact that it is based on a much-loved, best-selling 2007 novel of the same name won’t do it any harm either. However, it takes more than a beloved star and popular source material to make a good movie, which is something that Directors, Glatzer and Westmoreland, don’t seem to have taken note of. Moore plays the titular Alice, a professor of linguistics and mum of three, who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. As the disease takes hold, she desperately tries to retain her sense of self, setting up questions that she must answer daily, and trying to memorise random words. She records a video to her future self, instructing her to commit suicide when she becomes unable to answer her

daily questions. Forced to leave her job and deteriorating rapidly, relations with her family become increasingly strained, particularly her relationship with her husband, John (Baldwin). Over the months she gets progressively worse, until there is nothing of the old Alice left, and her daughter Lydia (Stewart) abandons her life in California to care for her. As you can gather, this isn’t a barrel of laughs. This movie screams heavy from the off. Moore does indeed give a great performance as Alice, who turns from a confident, successful, and driven woman, to a shell over the course of the film. However, this is not her best ever performance, and I wonder if perhaps the Academy was honouring her more for her body of work than this picture alone. In one scene where she gives a speech about her struggle with Alzheimer’s, she is supposed to be reading it, but Moore has very clearly memorised the words, and it shows, which causes the scene not to ring true, and there are a couple of other moments like this which made me question her win. The supporting cast are all competent. Baldwin is suitably tortured as a husband who is slowly losing his wife, and Bosworth and Stewart do

a decent job as the daughters who are unsure how to deal with their mother’s illness. The directors have gone for an understated feel here, but the result is that at times this is very slow-moving. There are also issues with the passage of time, as it is not always clear just how long Alice has been ill, and there are some scenes where she appears to have deteriorated overnight, where it is actually supposed to be a period of several months. They are clearly trying to handle the subject matter sensitively, but at times they are over-sensitive to the point of boring. There are some lovely moments in this, and it is almost impossible not to be moved by it on some level, but other than the star names, it screamed made for TV movie to me. The heavy subject matter won’t exactly leave you uplifted either, so I would advise waiting until you are in the right frame of mind to see this. Decent but inconsistent, Still Alice doesn’t live up to its hype, but is worth a look. In Cinemas March 6th

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Directed by: Michael Cuesta Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rosemarie DeWitt, Ray Liotta, Tim Blake Nelson, Barry Pepper, Oliver Platt, Michael Sheen, Andy García While this boasts an impressive cast list, many of the big names attached to it have little more than cameo roles here. That’s not to say that their roles aren’t significant, and it is always a joy to see the likes of Liotta and Garcia on the big screen. This, however, is very much the Jeremy Renner show, as he tackles the role of real life investigative journalist Gary Webb. While Webb’s story is widely known in the US, many people this side of the Atlantic probably haven’t heard of him, but he was an investigative reporter for the San José Mercury News. In 1996, he began a series of articles called Dark Alliance, which investigated the origins of Los Angeles’ booming crackcocaine trade. He claimed to have uncovered evidence that linked the drugs plague to the war in Nicaragua, and claimed that the cocaine profits were supporting the struggle, with the knowledge and protection of the CIA. When the story was published, other titles went to great lengths to discredit his claims, and even his own paper retracted much of what he had

written forcing him to resign his role. I came to this without any prior knowledge of Webb, so although this announces that it is based on a true story, it was brand new to me. Any thriller involving conspiracies is always going to be complex, and you really need to focus on this to keep track of what is going on. There are so many people popping in and out in important roles that it can be difficult to keep track of who’s who. Renner is great as Webb, and as his life becomes increasingly difficult in the wake of his reports, you do find yourself willing him to just let it lie for his own and his family’s sake. You really get a sense of his internal struggle, and you question whether or not he is doing the right thing. However, you never really get a sense of why he is doing it. Oliver Platt also gives a noteworthy performance as Webb’s editor, who effectively turns his back on him overnight.

His story is unlikely to have the same resonance in this country, but it is still a fascinating look at a man willing to put himself on the line for something he believes in, at great personal and professional cost to himself. Even if you don’t care about the drug war, on some level we can all relate to that. On the whole this is a solid thriller. It is inoffensive, and probably could have pushed its subject matter a bit further, but it will satisfy most viewers.

In Cinemas March 6th

This is very fast moving, and keeping track of the timeline can be somewhat tricky. There are also some rather complicated politics that are tricky to get your head around. I wouldn’t advise having a few drinks before this movie as it really does demand your full attention, and even after my first watch I was somewhat confused by some of the plot threads, having to research Webb’s work to understand it better. EILE Magazine 39


Nick’s Picks Music Reviews by Nick Bassett Shipped directly from New Zealand, EILE’s music reviewer Nick Bassett (also of ChartShaker) has got the latest high-quality music from artists you should be listening to – right now. Click on any of the art work to take you straight to the sound! The Knocks - Dancing With Myself Dancing With Myself is a slow-burning slice of late-night electro-funk, and follows the release of last year’s tropicapop belter Classic which saw Ben and J-Pat teaming up with fellow New Yorkers, Powers, and it’s Mike Del Rio from Powers who wrote and co-produced much of the material from The Knocks’ upcoming debut full lengther, including this latest offering. Dancing With Myself was posted online earlier today and is the “first piece of a lot of new music coming soon,” the pair say. “We’ve probably recorded 3 albums worth of songs and finally feel like we have our album ready.” Conchita – You Are Unstoppable Last year’s Eurovision winner, Conchita Wurst, has premiered her brand new single You Are Unstoppable, and, like its predecessors, Rise Like a Phoenix, and Heroes, it is another tremendous slice of life-affirming pop balladry from the Austrian singer. Sweeping strings and pounding drums provide the setting for the track’s powerful message of strength in the face of adversity, whilst Wurst’s utterly commanding vocal performance hammers home the emotional impact of its lyrics with strength and conviction. A compelling anthem with beautiful sentiment, You Are Unstoppable released to iTunes on 5 March, and is set to feature on Wurst’s upcoming debut studio album, which is expected to follow in May.

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Sam Hunt - Take Your Time Take Your Time is the second single from rising US singer Sam Hunt’s debut studio album Montevallo which was sent to iTunes last October. Despite only being released six weeks ago, the charming pick up song has already gone on to top the US Country chart, and now it’s success is spreading to America’s mainstream singles countdown, the Billboard Hot 100, where the track this week reached a new peak of #42. Hunt’s non-traditional approach of transitioning from spoken lyrics to full bodied vocal performance throughout certainly makes him stand out from his fellow peers in the country genre, and it’s a tactic that is expertly deployed so as to never detract from the song’s heart-warming sentiment or its contemporary country production.

Mark Feehily - Love Is A Drug Markus Feehily has premiered his first solo single online Love is a Drug was co-written by the former Westlife singer with long-time Kylie Minogue collaborator Steve Anderson, who also took on co-production credits with UK duo Mojam (Emeli Sandé, Sam Smith). Even with the calibre of talent on the roster, you still can’t help but be stunned by the remarkable departure from his previous material with the Irish chart-toppers. The man sounds like someone who has finally been released from years in shackles, giving an incredible vocal performance, packed with raw power, emotion and soul. “I’ve always had another side to me that no-one’s heard or seen before,” the singer told Wonderland Magazine who gave the track its online premiere. “I’m so thankful for my past and the incredible experiences it gave me but now, looking to the future, I’m excited by the prospect of creating and sharing music that comes from within. Songs that I’ve written about experiences that I’ve had – soulful, autobiographical pop music.” Love is a Drug received its premiere recently on the morning show of Irish radio station 2FM which is hosted by Feehily’s former bandmate, Nicky Byrne. It is scheduled to be released to iTunes on 19 April and is available to preorder now. EILE Magazine 41


Little Gem Records Presents Nimoy by GODHATESDISCO

Little Gem are delighted to announce that they are releasing the new GODHATESDISCO on February 20th on little gem records. Following the success of their first release ‘Sick At Heart’ (parts 1-3), Nimoy is the first release from the forthcoming debut album by GODHATESDISCO. Employing twin bass guitars and a table full of electronics, including samplers, drum machines and custom made noise makers, the duo make unknown wave music to defy and satisfy all musical palates. Sampling elements of Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto’s ‘A Time-Lapse of Every Nuclear Explosion since 1945′, alongside discussions from Leonard Nimoy’s popular science based television 42 EILE Magazine

program ‘In Search of..’, GODHATESDISCO create a buoyant and driving sonic exploration that demands to be played on repeat. You can listen here https://soundcloud.com/ godhatesdisco/nimoy/s-kvaDE The band will launch the EP with a late show at Whelans on February 27th nimoy-front1Nimoy will be available on CD, Cassette & special edition little gem player with the B side ‘Uniformitarian Naturalism’. Little Gem Players are a release specific high quality audio player which require no downloads or computer connections, only a set of headphones or a stereo. ”Incorporating Steve Reichesque use of found sound (a clip of Mario Savio’s affecting 1964 “Bodies upon the gears” speech) and a growling backdrop of claustrophobic, repressive textures, ‘Sick at Heart’ is an unforgiving piece of post-minimalism that challenges and ultimately

rewards the listener. Uncompromising and unique, God Hates Disco have carved out a definite tonal edge in ‘Sick At Heart’ that captures upheaval and frustration sonically, through a harsh collage of experimentalism and alternative-rock leanings.” * The Last Mixed Tape on ‘Sick at Heart’ Little Gem records is open 7 days at the top of O’Connell street on 5 Cavendish row Dublin 1 Specialising in independent artists and labels, the shop stocks records, little gem players, cassettes, CD’s, tangible and intangible goods. They support musicians and artists by helping to share, promote and sell their works. http://www.littlegem.ie https://www.facebook.com/ littlegemrecords


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Irish-American comedy The Yank to be released on DVD March 6th 2015 Bulldog Film Distribution are delighted to announce that hilarious Irish-American romantic comedy The Yank, the debut film from director Sean Lackey, will be released on DVD on March 6th 2015. The film stars Colm Meaney, Fred Willard (WALL. E, Anchorman), Kevin P Farley (The Waterboy) and Martin Maloney (The Hardy Bucks). The Yank tells the story of fourth generation IrishAmerican Tom Murphy, who lives in Cleveland, Ohio with 44 EILE Magazine

his family who are as Irish as they come – well they’re as Irish as Americans who’ve never been to Ireland can be! When he learns that he is to be best man at his friend’s wedding taking place in Ireland, Tom’s family are keen to encourage him to take advantage of the trip and find himself an Irish girl to settle down with. Unsurprisingly, the trip defies expectations and on a hilarious journey of discovery Tom learns that some roots should be left in the ground…

corned beef sandwiches, and viewing The Quiet Man, it was a holy day. I also think that when one comes from such a strong cultural or religious background, families tend to push their young adults into marrying their “own kind” and I’ve tried to address this in a humorous way with this film. The film took two years to write and has been a labour of love for me to make, I’m delighted that we are now able to release this film on DVD in Ireland.”

The film, shot on location in both the US and Ireland is a love-letter not only to Ireland but also to the strong cultural connections felt by many IrishAmericans who have never even visited the Emerald Isle. The Yank was filmed at many cultural and social landmarks across Ireland.

The Yank, Cert 12A, will be released on DVD on March 6th and will be available for purchase at all good retailers nationwide.

Speaking about the release, Sean Lackey, director of The Yank said: “I felt compelled to write this story by my own experiences. My parents emigrated from Ireland and when we were growing up in Cleveland, St. Patrick’s Day was a feast day celebrated with mass. It wasn’t green beer,

The film will also be available for purchase from March 6th on iTunes at: https://itunes. apple.com/gb/movie/theyank-2014/id949925618


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US Secretary of State: John Kerry

Randy Berry

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US: Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons Appointed

US Secretary of State John Kerry

Secretary of State for the US, John Kerry, has released a statement on the appointment of Randy Berry as the first Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT People. Secretary Kerry stated: “I could not be more proud to announce Randy Berry as the first-ever Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons. We looked far and wide to find the right American official for this important assignment. Randy’s a leader. […] He’s a voice of clarity and conviction on human rights. And I’m confident that Randy’s leadership as our new Special Envoy will significantly advance efforts underway to move towards a world free from violence and discrimination against LGBT persons. Defending and promoting the human rights of LGBT persons is at the core of our commitment to advancing human rights globally – the heart and conscience of our diplomacy. That’s why we’re working to overturn laws that criminalize consensual

same-sex conduct in countries around the world. It’s why we’re building our capacity to respond rapidly to violence against LGBT persons, and it’s why we’re working with governments, civil society, and the private sector through the Global Equality Fund to support programs advancing the human rights of LGBT persons worldwide. Too often, in too many countries, LGBT persons are threatened, jailed, and prosecuted because of who they are or who they love. Too many governments have proposed or enacted laws that aim to curb freedom of expression, association, religion, and peaceful protest. More than 75 countries still criminalize consensual samesex activity. US Special Envoy For The Human Rights Of LGBT People Randy Berry At the same time, and often with our help, governments and other institutions, including those representing all religions, are taking steps to reaffirm the universal human rights of all persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. So while this fight is not yet won, this is no time to get discouraged. It’s time to stay active. It’s time to assert the equality and dignity of all

persons, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity. And with Randy helping to lead our efforts, I am confident that’s exactly what we can and will do.” Human Rights Campaign President, Chad Griffin, has welcomed the appointment:

“At a moment when many LGBT people around the world are facing persecution and daily violence, this unprecedented appointment shows a historic commitment to the principle that LGBT rights are human rights. President Obama and Secretary Kerry have shown tremendous leadership in championing the rights of LGBT people abroad. Now, working closely with this new envoy, we’ve got to work harder than ever to create new allies, push back on human rights violators, and support the brave leaders and organizations that fight for LGBT rights around the world.” MKB (eile.ie 24/2/2015)

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Donegal football star scores an early goal with ‘Pledge to Vote’ in Marriage Equality Referendum May’s civil marriage equality referendum is a “once in a generation moment” for the people of Ireland, Donegal footballer Eamon McGee said today (Monday 23 February 2015) at the launch of the national Yes Equality ‘Pledge to Vote’ campaign. The Donegal ace has lent his support to this latest Yes Equality nationwide voter engagement initiative in advance of the May poll on marriage equality. The campaign’s voter registration drive last November added 40,000 names to the electoral register, the largest amount in recent history and the coming months will see a nationwide call to citizens to pledge to vote in May. 48 EILE Magazine

Speaking at the Yes Equality ‘Pledge to Vote’ launch in Letterkenny today, Eamon McGee said:

drive in November received a phenomenal response, with tens of thousands of people registering to vote for the first time. The polls show a clear majority in favour of marriage “The civil marriage equality in Ireland but the equality referendum only poll that really counts is will be a chance to make a critical decision the one that takes place on the 22nd of May. Yes Equality about the future of the asks all those who care about country, and especially the outcome of this once in for our gay and lesbian a generation referendum to friends, families and pledge to vote, and to make loved ones. But this once their voices heard.”

in a generation decision will only be made by people who show up on polling day. We call on all citizens across Ireland including first time voters to pledge to vote in May and to have their voices heard.” Tiernan Brady of Yes Equality said: “There is growing anticipation across Irish society about the marriage equality referendum in May. Our voter registration

You can pledge to vote here: http://goo.gl/oEBRj7 Further information can be found on www.yesequality.ie. The Yes Equality campaign is an initiative by The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN); the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL); and Marriage Equality which aims to encourage people to pledge to vote ahead of May’s referendum on civil marriage equality.


Donegal Footballer Eamon McGee at launch of Pledge To Vote Campaign

... this once in a generation decision will only be made by people who show up on polling day. We call on all citizens across Ireland including first time voters to pledge to vote in May and to have their voices heard.� EILE Magazine 49


Join the Orange Is The New Black actress and hundreds of lesbians this summer on OlaGirls’ Mediterranean getaway… OlaGirls are thrilled to announce that Aussie DJ, actress and style icon Ruby Rose will be queen of the decks this summer at our brandnew lesbian holiday escape. Ruby Rose arrives as our main DJ fresh from the set of Orange Is The New Black, where she’s just wrapped season three of the hit show, due to air this June. We’re beyond excited to welcome Ruby Rose to our packed OlaGirls’ schedule and we’re sure she’ll add a shot of glamour and undoubted talent to what is already shaping up to be the lesbian summer destination of choice. Ruby Rose shot to fame in her native Australia as an out MTV VJ and model, but her place in

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lesbian folklore is assured with her starring role in Orange Is The New Black as Stella Carlin, whose stunning looks and sarcasm turn Litchfield heads in season three. But you don’t have to wait for that - come and watch her DJ at OlaGirls and dance the night away with Ruby! We’ve already ordered sunshine, fabulous cuisine, drinks and relaxation for our Mediterranean getaway. But best of all, we can guarantee hundreds of lesbians for you to meet and mingle with - and you can do this while sunbathing and socialising, or through one of our many activities: hiking, water sports and beach volleyball, wine-tasting to tapas-making, speed dating to dancing and much more. With OlaGirls, our prime motivation is getting lesbians from all over Europe together, having fun and forming friendships & relationships that last. For three days in June, Spanish holiday hotspot Calpe will be packed with lesbians, ensuring sunshine really is the new black. We’ve got allinclusive packages to suit all budgets and we’re


Aussie DJ & Model Ruby Rose Joins OlaGirls, the Lesbian Mediterranean Festival!

inviting you to join us. Book today and join Ruby Rose for a summer break to remember! More info at: OlaGirls, the Lesbian Mediterranean Getaway.

Calpe, Spain

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21st Century Life: Jack Lisa Reynolds features Jack this month in her continuing series on modern LGBT life Name: Jack Location: Western Australia Age: 27 When did you realise that you were a transgender man? I first realized when I did some research on what it means to be transgender. My good friend announced she was going to transition, and I knew nothing about it. The more I looked into it the more I started to relate to what it means to be transgender. It sort of just clicked in my head. Identity was something I had been struggling with my whole life, and I finally realized what it was. Have you ever experienced any discrimination because of being transgender in your life? Thankfully, no I haven’t. The only negative experience I have had is when people ask 52 EILE Magazine

insensitive questions, but that just comes down to lack of education and awareness of transgender issues. When you were in school and subsequently in work did you feel that there were proper measures in place to deal with transphobic bullying and discrimination? I haven’t had to deal with school or work yet in my transition. I finished school 10 years ago, and I haven’t worked since I came out as trans*. I don’t recall any thing to do with trans* issues in the workplace. I guess it just falls under the anti-discrimination policies. What perceptions have other people had about transgender people that made you laugh/ most angry? Like I said earlier, the questions I get from people are somewhat amusing. […] Some people are just curious, but their wording is bad

sometimes. Most people mean well though. I have had some bad reactions, but usually it comes down to lack of education and empathy. Were your family and friends always supportive? My friends have been great. I have met a lot of people since transitioning, and have developed a great support network through the trans* community. Some people have said that it totally makes sense to them and that they saw it all along. I’ve had mixed opinions from my family. My Dad was great with it. He had no doubts about my decision at all which was great. My Mum and step Dad haven’t taken it very well. They haven’t come around to the idea at all yet, though they still support me in life, just not with this decision. That has been the hardest struggle for me. My sisters and extended family support me, though I don’t have a lot to do with


them these days as they are all overseas. What would you say to someone who is struggling with being transgender, or with coming out as transgender, or who is being bullied or discriminated against, because of who they are? The only advice I have is to just be true to yourself. Don’t ever stop being ‘yourself’ for the sake of someone else. It’s not something to be ashamed of. Your own happiness should always come first. The struggle is real, but if you try to hide it, you will just end up resenting your decisions in the long run. Are you religious? What do you think of the Church’s attitude towards transgender people? I am definitely not religious at all, in fact my views towards the church are very negative. I believe nothing has come good from religion but war, hatred and hurt. Transgender issues fall under the LGBTIQ status I think. We are still fighting for equality, and religion plays a big part as to why we are still second class citizens in society’s eyes. Are you political? I’m not very political at all to be honest. Because I was born in New Zealand, I’m not actually eligible to vote here, so I don’t keep up with things as much as I probably should.

Have you ever been in love? I have! 3 times. Not since transitioning. The love of my life now is my golden retriever. She gives me all I need. I am still learning to love myself. Are you married? If so, what was your wedding day like? If not, would you like to get married someday? I’m not married no, and I doubt I ever will be. I’ve never really liked the idea of marriage. To me it’s just a piece of paper, and the right to drive yourself and someone else insane. Jokes...

father someday? To be honest I’m not much of a kid person. I’ve never had any sort of maternal nature, and don’t think I ever will. It’s not a priority of mine to raise a family. But that might change in the future.

Lisa wishes to thank those who took part in this series, and appreciates the time taken and their honesty in answering her questions

Are you a father? If so, what does fatherhood mean to you? If not, would you like to be a EILE Magazine 53


Justin Utley Returns to Dublin for Special Marriage Equality Gig Utah-born singer/songwriter, Justin Utley, returns to Ireland this month to perform in concert at Oscar’s Bar Christchurch in support of marriage equality. Before his flight from New York to Europe, EILE caught up with the musician and LGBT rights activist:

Q: It’s been nine months since we were chatting to you last – what have you been up to? A: nine months is too long. I know I could’ve had a baby within that time, but instead I’ve been writing and arranging my next 4 projects (two albums and two stand-alone singles). I’ve also been involved with Equality Utah in helping support their initiatives. And performed a pretty heavy summer of PRIDE gigs. Q: We’ve since seen more American states legalise marriage equality, which you campaign for through your music. How does music help, in your opinion? It speaks to the heart and soul, and evokes thought and emotion the way nothing else does. I use it to express myself and help emphasize what I have to say. Q: You’re coming over to Dublin ahead of St Patrick’s Day, what are you looking forward to for your second time in

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Ireland? Well, I’m going to give Guinness one more chance. Hang with some of the wonderful people I met last time I performed. And see some of the countryside I didn’t catch last time I was in town. Q: Tell us about your next music project! Well, my next focus is going to be on youth homelessness, particularly in the LGBTQ community. My heart breaks every time I hear a story of a kid that runs away or is kicked out because of who they are. These kids represent all of us. The trans community also needs help, since they’re often an overlooked part of our family. So lots to do this year for me :) Q: Where next for Justin? Well, my next gig is Manchester this Sunday. My next song idea will likely be on the plane ride over the pond. And my next album will be out later this year :)


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Gareth Russell

When Cameron Met Blake Years later, if you had asked Cameron Matthews what had caused the horrendous, gutwrenching mess of his first year of knowing Blake Hartman, he would have sworn up and down on a stack of Bibles that the reason had been that Blake’s father was a pastor. As far as Cameron was concerned, it was quite clear that the whole root and branch of Blake’s problem had lain in the plastic evangelicalism of the Shepherd of Judea Baptist Church in Carryduff. Added to this was the fact that Meredith’s loyal Catholicism kept up a steady stream of emotional propaganda insisting that this was living proof that priests should never have children. Imogen had taken the whole thing far too far by launching into a rant that blamed the entirety of Protestantism, arguing that without the Virgin Mary no-one could be happy. Ever. Blake, however, was insistent that initially it had nothing to do with his father’s job. It was only once the whole issue of his sexuality moved from his unconscious into his conscious that Blake began to consider what kind of impact it would have on his family. Before that, from as far back as he could remember, there had been a lingering uncertain fear, deep in his gut; there had been a sense of personal unease, as if

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something did not quite fit. If you had asked Blake in the years before he met Cameron if he had a problem with homosexuality, he would honestly and instinctively have answered, no. No, he did not. But had anyone ever implied or assumed that he himself was gay, Blake would have felt a rising flush of panic as he rushed to correct them. Why he felt this way was anybody’s guess. On paper, there was absolutely no reason why he should feel this way. He had come from a loving family in one of the most liberal states in America and he could never, ever remember a time when his father had preached a sermon on homosexuality. Or even mentioned it, at all, come to think of it. With the benefit of hindsight and maturity, Blake would later realise that it was maybe something about his deep need to be respected by his peers; respect was fundamentally important to Blake and it was something he unconsciously assumed he could not have if he was gay. If gay was the punchline of every joke, it was clear to Blake that whilst it was something that could be tolerated, it wasn’t something that could be respected. ... Blake sat idly in the pretty, seaside grounds of Belmont Grammar School, three miles away, with the Mount Olivet football team. Soccer was not exactly Blake’s forte, and he had been stunned to the point of devastation to realise that lacrosse wasn’t really played in British schools. Worse, he would apparently have to wait until after Easter to get involved in track and tennis, which were, by far, his best sports. That left swimming and soccer for the winter


semester, since he hadn’t played American football back in New Canaan, and was therefore extremely reluctant to go anywhere near what looked like the bone-crunching, face-bruising psychosis of rugby. Soccer would have to suffice in the meantime, and today was a Saturday away game, with the Mount Olivet squad currently winning 2-1. Blake had yet to play. A groan went up from his teammates on the bench when a kid from Belmont scored an equalising goal. The kid was good and Mount Olivet’s goalkeeper, Andrew Henton-Worley, looked pissed. Looking over at Mount Olivet’s coach, Mr Cavan, Blake could see that the feeling was mutual. “Who’s that?” asked a Mount Olivet sub, whose name Blake was struggling to remember.

C: Really nice. Mummy and Kerry got caught up in an epic convo about how much they love kittens. What are your plans for the rest of the day? PS - I am not lame. I am awesome. I am anti-shanter.x B: Kitten convo? Sounds shanterous, Cameron ;) Getting a lift back on the school bus to Malone, then probably going to walk to the Europa and get the bus back to C’duff. PS- You are still lame. C: Do you want to come up to mine to hang? For anti-shanter purposes, obv. We should be done in like an hour? B: Where’d my x go? C: Same place mine went.

“Edward Hanna,” answered another. “He’s Rory Hanna’s cousin. He’s really good. Like, an amazing player.”

B: I didn’t send one in the first place.

The nameless sub nodded. “Yeah. HentonWorley looks pissed.”

B: :) Haha. Well played, C-Dog.x

A few of the guys laughed; others muttered angry things under their breath implying that Andrew should be pissed. Blake squinted into the Sun, the ultimate rarity in mid-November Belfast. It was unlikely that he’d be called to play now; unless someone got injured. Settling back, he began absent-mindedly tapping out a rhythm with his right foot. Snippets of conversation bounced around him. None of them very interesting; most of them about people he did not know or places he’d never been. There was a small beep from inside his sports bag. Reaching in to extract his phone, a little smile danced across his face when he saw that it was a text from Cameron. Cameron: How’s the match going? Shanter? Blake: Hey! Yeah, it’s going okay, I guess. We’re tied. Haven’t played yet. What’s shanter? C: “Shit banter.” :) B: Hahahahaha! Lame. How was lunch?

C: Exactly.x

C: Sorry to hear you haven’t played yet.x B:”Hi, my name is Cameron Matthews, and my friend Blake Hartman just accidentally forgot to respond to my very kind invitation to hangout at my house this evening. But rather than repeat the question like a big boy, I’m going to send a pointless text about something else and hope that reminds him.” See you at your house at 4? Can’t wait. B-Dog in da house (literally) x C: I hate you. See you at 4 x B: “Lame - the new fragrance from Cameron Matthews.” :) x Blake bit the bottom of his lip in a smile and tossed the phone back in his bag. The referee’s whistle blew and Blake refocused on the game. Edward Hanna had just scored a second goal, bringing the score to 2-3 in Belmont’s favour. Mr Cavan looked like he was about to punch a wall. “Is Edward Hanna Rory’s cousin?” asked Titus Pitt, a sixth year popular boy, famous for his EILE Magazine 57


epic house parties. “Gay Rory? Yeah,” answered another. A tiny, faint twinge gripped Blake’s oesophagus. He widened his feet slightly on the ground and gripped his hands a little harder. He looked more masculine this way. Titus nodded. “I like Rory. He’s good banter.” As far as North Down boys went, it was hard to think of a higher form of compliment. “Yeah,” said Titus’s friend. “I don’t agree with the whole gay thing, but I like Rory. He’s a good lad. He’s not annoying about the whole thing, either.” Titus agreed. “Yeah, absolutely. Blake?” Blake looked up and the weight on his chest was back. The weight he knew by instinct, but could not name. Why had they turned to talk to him at this point in the conversation? “Yeah?” “Mr Cavan says you’re amazing at tennis?” The weight lightened. “I played it back in the States.” “Cool. You should come to our tennis club sometime, if you want to keep it up? The facilities are sweet.” “Oh, thanks, Titus. Yeah, I’ll look into it. Thank you.” “You enjoyed tennis, then?” asked Titus’s friend. “Back in America?” “Eh, yeah, I loved it. That’s where I met my ex-girlfriend,” Blake said. Titus and his friend nodded and asked a few more questions. A

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soothing balm, like an antacid, spread through Blake’s body. They knew he wasn’t gay. And Blake pushed any attempt to analyse why he’d just said what he’d said right out of his head. His phone beeped from back inside his bag and he reached to get it, smiling when he saw who the text was from. This story, inspired by the characters and events of Popular, was first published online for the International Day against Homophobia (2012). © Gareth Russell


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The Immaculate Deception of the Marriage Debate By Gareth Russell I think my conservatism springs from a pathological aversion to change. A story that functioned as a Götterdämmerung or fin-de-siècle was guaranteed to stir my soul more than all the others. The siren song of the irretrievable, the vanished, or the vanishing, is still one that I cannot remain unaffected by. For most of my childhood, I conceived of happiness as being married and having children. I devoured history books, and after a documentary about the woman who claimed to be the Grand Duchess, Anastasia, drew me into the Romanov story, the domestic idyll captured by 60 EILE Magazine

those haunting, sepia-toned photographs of the last Tsar and his family only served to nurture the romantic fantasy in my young head – this, I believed, was the essence of contentment. Families were, to me, not just the building blocks of society, a part of life, but rather the ultimate goal, both the product and foundation of happiness. I wanted nine children. Somewhere between the von Trapps and Queen Victoria’s blue-blooded brood. I had their names picked out. A strain of obsessive planning was prevalent even in my childhood. As I grew older and puberty began to blow a chill wind of uncertainty into the warm environs of my expectations, paroxysms of doubt and fear convulsed me, as I realised that if my attraction to my own gender was followed to its logical conclusion, then I would be abdicating any possible participation in the life I wanted. One night, when I was seventeen, at a house party and

quite drunk, my best friend asked me if I was gay. I had no inkling that the question was coming, which was unusual in a friendship as close as ours. It was a very warm summer’s night and I can remember lying on the ground, cliché of clichés, staring up at the sky. There were flowers around us, the garden ran at an angle downhill, and there was a large bush shielding us from the noise back at the house. I was surprised and wrong-footed by the question, but after he would not let the point drop, I confessed that I thought I might be. The next morning dawned with a sense of slightly manic happiness and expectation; I was thrilled at the prospect of being able to openly discuss who I fancied. It’s such a large part of a teenager’s life, but it had never been something I felt comfortable doing. But the night’s ability to foster secrets, and nurture the carnival side of our personalities, meant the bright light of day had snatched away the easy-going acceptance shown in the midnight garden. I sensed awkwardness in one or two


of the friends who knew, and I panicked. Shattered, in fact, might be a better way to describe it. It is wry now to remember the effect that a strained friendship produces in a teenage mind, but there was nothing ironic, sardonic, or self-aware about the vortex I was experiencing. I was, I think, always slightly over-sensitive to my surroundings. A few hours into the afternoon, I noticed how pretty a friend of mine looked, and I convinced myself that this meant I had a crush on her. I went back ‘in’, it took very little time to do it, and there were so few people who knew that the damage limitation – for want of a better phrase – was achieved with depressing ease. As I went home that night, I remember thinking to myself, ‘Well, at least this means I can have children and be normal.’ By the time the coming out happened with no going back, I was twenty, and I had, so I thought, made my peace with never getting married and never having children. Even though I knew that it was possible in some way, the idea of a civil partnership – in my mind, a half-baked concession, a sop to those who were denied the real thing – repulsed and depressed me in equal measure. I had always wanted to call my first son Cameron. Believing that I would never have that opportunity, I gave it to a character in my first novel. I supposed I should put it to

use somehow, but writing his name down for the first time, to confine him as a product of my imagination rather than a potential reality, was much harder than I expected. Cameron Matthews, one of the central characters in Popular and its sequel The Immaculate Deception, is gay. A teenager in a Belfast grammar school, he meets an American transfer student called Blake Hartman; they are drawn to one another by an attraction that they both insist on referring to as a friendship, long after it has taken on a more potent nature. Trying to get back inside the head of someone who lives in the closet is a deeply unpleasant and frustrating process, because one is writing ordinarily intelligent characters, who are somehow wilfully ignoring the most glaringly obvious signs about their feelings. I poured into Cameron every ounce of frustration that a younger me had felt: he was naturally conservative, preppy, fearful of a current overturning the boat. The central conceit of Cameron and Blake’s relationship was that they were supposed to be perfect for one another; a couple that, in fairer and more honest circumstances, would have been carried away in a rush of dizzyingly inconvenient compatibility. As it was, I could no more give them that storyline, and still claim to be writing a book about the realities of modern Ireland, than I could craft a

storyline in which the novel’s most postcode-conscious teen decided to join the Communist Party. When it came to writing The Immaculate Deception, I was able to move their story along, because things had already changed so much that happiness for them, while still in school, was moving from the realm of the absurd into the tangible. And what happens on 22nd May is crucial to the continuation of that trajectory. The impending marriage referendum matters above and beyond the hugely important issue of a people’s civil rights. It matters even beyond the spirit of Selma, invoked at this year’s Academy Awards by John Legend, which preaches and teaches that the diminishing of one man’s rights is in fact a diminishment of everyone’s. If the legalisation of marriage equality does not pass, if we do not fight for it, we are condemning generations of the young, and the yet-to-beborn, to a lifetime of thwarted possibility. The refusal to grant the word ‘marriage’ over ‘civil partnership’ is to tell them every single day of their lives that they are less. It’s not so much the siren call of the irretrievable, as the cruelly unattainable. Marriage is not for everyone, of course, but to deny it in name is to deny it in fact. We live our lives by words, what they mean could not carry a greater nor more potent EILE Magazine 61


weight. To be told that the call for marriage is nothing more than a niche demand for a change in a legal category is a deception, and a dangerous one. I can still remember that heady rush the morning after my first abortive coming out – the joy as the weight was lifted, even if it was only for a few hours. The thrill of having the word ‘gay’ move from an insult to an adjective was a liberation that changed my life. Every major milestone of our romantic lives - to flirt, to have crushes, to date, text, all of it – is based, however spuriously, on the possibility of permanence. The intoxicating belief, wrong more often than not, that this person is ‘the one’. Maybe it’s all romantic nonsense, a pious platitude of self-delusion, but it is as glorious while it lasts, as it is necessary for our future development. Marriage matters because it gives us all the hope that love can become both permanent and publicly celebrated. To deny it is to deny that homosexual love has any chance of transcending the transient; it is to reduce both the reality and the dream of romantic love, and in doing so it diminishes a hundred thousand adolescences and adulthoods. I wish I could sit a 17 year-old me down and tell him that it will get better, but I can’t. That is my irretrievable; wasted years in the preciously short time we have here. All I can hope for now is that I can tell my children that it got better, and that they might shake their heads in disbelief at the world that existed on the other side of this referendum.

Author & playwright Gareth Russell

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Travel:

Copenhagen & Malmö in a Weekend EILE’s Scott De Buitléir takes off to Copenhagen and the Swedish city of Malmö for a romantic weekend getaway Copenhagen might not be a top holiday destination in the minds of many people, but it ought to be. The Danish capital is full of great bars & cafés, beautiful architecture, wonderful food and friendly faces to boot. Flying directly from Dublin, it takes about two hours to get to Copenhagen Airport in Kastrup, connected by train to the city’s Central Station, Hovedbanegården. Once in the city, it’s simple to get to where you want to go by taxi, bus or Metro (subway) to anywhere around the city. That being said, Copenhagen is the perfect city if you just want to walk about! Speaking of travelling by foot, we were able to walk easily from Hovedbanegården to the super stylish Marriott Copenhagen Hotel (Kalvebod Brygge 5) which sits right beside the canal and overlooks 64 EILE Magazine

the south side of the city. From there, it’s a 10-15 minute walk to the real heart of the city, Rådhuspladsen (City Hall Square) and the shopping street of Strøget, where you will find a plethora of shops, restaurants and boutiques. For our Irish readers; Strøget is the Danish equivalent of Dublin’s Grafton Street, which means that while it’s certainly a beautiful street to walk through, be warned that it’s quite expensive if you decide to shop there. The fact that Denmark has kept its own currency (Danske kroner, or DKK) means that you can be caught paying high prices without realising it. That said, one reasonably priced restaurant on Strøget is Le Diamant (Østergade 59) which has a stylish but unpretentious atmosphere and great range of food. After dinner, we decided to walk off the extra calories by continuing up Strøget, passing the beautiful Kongens

Nytorv and arriving at one of Copenhagen’s most iconic districts, Nyhavn (pictured above). With typical Danish architecture, the most popular street is Ved Kajen (literally meaning ‘By The Quay’) which is home to some amazing bars, restaurants and the odd ice-cream parlour. A popular place to stop off among both natives and tourists is McJoy’s (Nyhavn 47) which sees regular live gigs from Denmark, England and Ireland. If you have a day (or even a few hours) to spare, why not take the train or bus to the Swedish city of Malmö, situated less than an hour away from Copenhagen, thanks to the world-famous Øresund Bridge. Malmö is smaller than Copenhagen, and although some areas like Stortorget and Lilla Torg are worth seeing, there is not as much for tourists to do in Malmö. Malmö Castle (Malmöhus) is a little walk from the central business district of the city,


but worthwhile for those who are interested in art, history and architecture. Don’t forget to try out some of the local cafés for traditional Swedish smörgåsbörd before catching the train back to Denmark. The train to Malmö leaves regularly from Hovedbanegården, which makes it the easier travel option for tourists.

The beautiful quayside of Nyhavn is popular with tourists, which also makes it quite expensive. [Image: Scott De Buitléir]

Nightlife in Copenhagen is incredible, and the Vesterbro district is definitely the place to be. For those who’d like to try out the gay scene, one must-try is Café Intime (Allégade 25) in the stylish Frederiksberg district. Although not in the city centre, this is a beautiful, quirky and quintessentially Danish gay bar. Another great choice, which is more central, is Centralhjørnet (Kattesundet 18) which is one of the city’s most popular bars on the scene. Overall, Copenhagen is an incredible city that should be near the top of that list of ‘tosee’ cities. It may be slightly more expensive than your typical European city, but it’s very worthwhile. Go. Now.

Aer Lingus, Ryanair and Norwegian fly direct from Dublin to Copenhagen.

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What’s So Gay About A Musical? Andy Cast ponders over the cultural connections between the musical and the gay community There aren’t many straight men who will admit to loving musical theatre, probably because of the homosexual connotations that go hand in hand with knowing all the words to ‘On My Own’ from Les Miserables or 66 EILE Magazine

‘Seasons Of Love’ from During one of our usual Rent. Well okay, that last show has a storyline with strong gay themes, so I probably can’t use that as a good example. A love of musicals is certainly one of the biggest gay stereotypes out there, but a conversation with a friend of mine this morning sparked my curiosity as to why.

bantering exchanges, I made reference to Eliza Dolittle and ‘Enry ‘Iggins, and was swiftly told ‘This conversation is now far too gay for me’ (which is a little ironic in itself seeing as he is gay…) I quickly reminded him that ‘My Fair Lady’ was a musical rework of the George Bernard Shaw classic


“Pygmalion”, and just because some clever person thought to add amazing musical numbers to a great story, it doesn’t make it inherently gay. I then backed up my argument, by citing Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables” and Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist”. I lost some momentum when I mentioned Frank L. Baum’s “The Wizard of Oz” – any story with a girl wearing ruby slippers, and a cowardly lion, not to mention a little lap dog, was always going to be a bit camp. But still, there are many examples of great classics, which have been made far more popular (dare I say less stuffy?!) by adding some flamboyant and emotional musical numbers. There’s certainly a continuing market for musical productions. Just lately there seems to be even more appetite for turning popular stories and films into stage shows. For example, Ghost – the Musical, or Matilda – the Musical, or even Harry Potter – the Musical (yes really! The actual title, A Very Potter Musical). The success of the TV show, “Glee”, also comes down to the reproduction of many staged musical numbers, where often the cast just burst into song at any excuse. There is obviously money to be made out of the popularity of adding a musical score to a story. Music adds something special. After all, music has been used to help the audience know what emotions to feel, since before we knew how to add speech to

film. The old silent movies always had atmosphere provided by a soundtrack, or, before adding any sound at all was possible, an incredibly talented organist or pianist would improvise live while watching the film, adding relevant music – the scary music when the villain was on screen, or the romantic music when the lovers were sharing a kiss. We associate different music with different emotions, it helps our brains to know how to interpret what we are seeing, and allows us to be emotional. Perhaps it’s this emotion which makes musical films and theatre more attractive to the gay community, and a bit scary to the average straight male. Musicals have the power to make us laugh and cry, and emotions are something your typical straight man doesn’t often admit to. My dad will probably kill me for sharing this, but I still remember when I was growing up at home, watching a soppy film on TV. Mum and I would be emotional, and it was obvious that Dad was too, but he definitely wouldn’t admit it, rushing off to the toilet as soon as the film finished, so we wouldn’t see the redness of his eyes.

nature, our society-informed gender characteristics and requirements are not quite as important in the gay world, and perhaps that is why a lot of gay men like musicals. Because they don’t feel uncomfortable in expressing their emotions. More than that, they like the way it feels to share their feelings. Of course, in the 21st century, things have changed big time. Men are ‘allowed’ to express their emotions more freely. In fact, it’s encouraged. Women find a man who can show his sensitive side very sexy. We are far more in touch with ourselves and our feelings. And perhaps that is why the popularity of a good musical is on the increase. Because modern men can cry without fear of being branded a ‘nancy’, it allows them to go to a musical – not just because they are begrudgingly accompanying a wife or girlfriend, but because they like the feelings the musical inspires in them. Perhaps…

Andy Cast is EILE Magazine’s resident columnist. He lives in Southampton with his partner and two cats.

Crying wasn’t manly, it was seen as a weakness, and a ‘girly thing’ that women did, while their strong, stoic man would comfort them, whilst denying any emotion of his own. Whilst I’m not implying at all that being gay means you are feminine in EILE Magazine 67


Irish-American LGBT Groups & Public Reps Renew Boycott of NYC Paddy’s Day Parade

Irish and LGBTQ community groups and elected officials have announced the renewed boycott of the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 2015. They pledged to uphold the boycott until Irish LGBTQ groups can march under their own banners on the same terms as other groups. Protests will also continue at the parade. Last year, as the Mayor and the City Council joined the boycott, and corporate sponsors withdrew, pressure mounted on the parade’s remaining sponsors, including NBC. In 68 EILE Magazine

September, parade organizers revealed a backroom deal in which NBC’s gay employee group, but no Irish LGBTQ groups, would be admitted to the parade in 2015. Irish LGBTQ groups duly applied to march as well. In reply, parade organizers claimed there was “no room” for Irish LGBTQ groups in 2015, but they “could apply in future years.” But parade organizers now reiterate that Irish LGBTQ people can only march if they are not identifiable – in other words, as long as they remain invisible in the Irish community – and that no future end to the exclusion is planned. The ban on Irish LGBTQ groups remains in place, as it has since 1991. “After 25 years of trickery and bigotry by the parade

committee, no one is fooled when they say the parade is too short, or that Irish LGBTQ people just have to wait our turn behind NBC’s gay employees. They’ve always tried to sweep Irish LGBTQ people under the rug, rather than admit we’re part of the Irish community.” said J.F. Mulligan of Irish Queers. “The parade organizers haven’t suddenly stopped being antigay. They still seem terrified that Irish LGBTQ people exist and walk among them. They’ve tried to evade us by making this deal with a corporate gay group.” “The Fifth Avenue St. Patrick’s Day parade, unfortunately, remains non-inclusive,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm. “This has always been about including an Irish gay organization, not some corporate backed gay group.


Until the parade is truly representative of all Irish people, I don’t believe anyone should march in it. New York must do what is done in Ireland and allow Irish lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to participate. It’s just that simple.” “We’ve boycotted the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Manhattan for a simple reason: refusing to allow Irish LGBT New Yorkers to celebrate their heritage and their identity by marching in the parade is discriminatory,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Almost all New Yorkers know that continued exclusion of Irish LGBT New York organizations from the parade is wrong. This longstanding struggle isn’t solved by cloaking a littleknown LGBT group under a quasicorporate banner.” “People who support equality must not accept anything less then full, open participation for members of the Irish LGBT community,” said Allen Roskoff, President of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club. “Full equality means participating as identifiable and proud members of the Irish LGBT community. The days of denying our existence by exclusion in the St Patrick’s Day Parade are over. This is not the time for acceptance of a gesture which is hollow, discriminatory and insulting. One must never compromise to bigotry.” “We will never march in a parade that is not fully open and inclusive of all New Yorkers. Homophobia fuels the AIDS epidemic. It isn’t just a personal opinion when it’s on display for millions of New Yorkers to witness. NYC has to stop rolling out the welcome wagon for bigots. This public policy – which is what it is – is wrong. The parade should be inclusive or it shouldn’t exist,” said Jennifer Flynn of VOCAL-NY.

This has always been about including an Irish gay organization, not some corporate backed gay group. Until the parade is truly representative of all Irish people, I don’t believe anyone should march in it. New York must do what is done in Ireland and allow Irish lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to participate. It’s just that simple.”

(eile.ie 1/3/2015) More information about Irish Queers can be found here. EILE Magazine 69


US: St Pat’s For All Parade Is Supported By Mayor Bill De Blasio As the alternative St Pat’s For All parade took off in Queens, New York yesterday, 1st March, Mayor Bill De Blasio arrived, with lavender shirt and green tie, to support the LGBT participants and their allies. This parade, which starts in Queens, is one in which all LGBT groups can participate, unlike the official St Patrick’s Day Parade in Manhattan, which has excluded LGBT groups for years, and which has been boycotted by some officials, including Mr. De Blasio, who feels that an inclusive society should embrace and respect everyone. Although there was heavy snow, hundreds had turned out for the rally, and De Blasio told them “You are a hardy troupe. […] This is what pride is all about, pride in the fact that in New York City, you can be whoever you are”. MKB (eile.ie 2/3/2015)

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“This is what pride is all about, pride in the fact that in New York City, you can be whoever you are”

NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio

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Psychological Society of Ireland President warns of the detrimental consequences the Marriage Equality Debate may have, and distances PSI from ADFAM Today (2nd March) Dr Paul D’Alton, President of the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI), the professional body for psychology in Ireland, representing over 2,000 Irish psychologists, has issued a warning about the ‘potential detrimental psychological and emotional impact’ the debate surrounding the Marriage Equality Referendum may have on children, adults and families. Dr D’Alton expressed serious concern for people’s well-being, arising from what the PSI believes is the inappropriate use of psychological research that is contrary to the agreed positions of many professional bodies worldwide.

psychological research cited by ADFAM in their promotional literature. Dr D’Alton said: “Information in the ADFAM’s leaflet is outdated and contrary to the position of professional psychological bodies such as the world’s largest representative body of psychologists, The American Psychological Association (APA). In 2012, the APA said: “On the basis of a remarkably consistent body of research on lesbian and gay parents and their children, the APA and other health professional and scientific organizations have concluded that there is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation. That is, lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children.” He also draws attention to the guidelines of his own professional body which conclude:

In particular, the PSI has firmly distanced itself from the use of psychological research in the materials distributed by The Alliance for the Defence of the Family and Marriage (ADFAM).

“Empirical studies have failed to find reliable differences between the children of same-sex and heterosexual couples with regard to their gender identity, gender role behaviour, sexual orientation, mental health, or psychological and social adjustment.”

As the professional body for Psychology in Ireland, the Society expressed concern about

Dr D’Alton urged great caution when using psychological research particularly when related

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Dr Paul D’Alton President of the PSI

to minority or vulnerable groups in our society. He said; “research can have far reaching implications, especially for the many children of gay parents, and the lesbian and gay adolescents and families who are at the centre of the marriage referendum. These young people are so sensitive to what they hear from friends and media.” He continued, “Debate and conversation are absolutely essential, but psychological research must be accurately represented. The conclusions reached by representative bodies such as the APA and the PSI should be the primary reference point when discussing the psychological evidence during the Marriage Equality debate.” Dr D’Alton concluded, “Historically, psychological research has been used to justify the unjust treatment of minorities, and the PSI is committed to ensuring that psychological research is not used, inadvertently or otherwise, to repeat such injustices. The Psychological Society of Ireland is calling for those engaged in the ongoing public debate to do so with respect for the psychological and emotional impact on young people and families at the heart of the issue.”

“Empirical studies have failed to find reliable differences between the children of same-sex and heterosexual couples with regard to their gender identity, gender role behaviour, sexual orientation, mental health, or psychological and social adjustment”

(eile.ie 2/3/2015)

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Launch of Report Card Rating Government’s Work on Children’s Rights The Children’s Rights Alliance launched its 2015 Report Card at an event in the European Parliament Office, Molesworth Street, Dublin, at 10.45am on Monday, 23rd February, 2015. The Report Card grades the Government’s performance on issues affecting children against stated commitments in the Programme for Government 2011-2016. It will highlight a number of urgent areas for improvement, positive achievements, and a series of recommendations to Government.

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In addition to Paul Gilligan, Chair, Children’s Rights Alliance and Tanya Ward, Chief Executive, Children’s Rights Alliance, those speaking at the event included: · Professor Nóirín Hayes, Visiting Professor, School of Education, Trinity College Dublin; · Fergus Finlay, Chief Executive, Barnardos; · Professor Ursula Kilkelly, Lecturer and Dean of School of Law and Director of Child Law Clinic, University College Cork. Speaking ahead of the launch, Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, said:

“The Government must uphold its international obligations

and ensure children’s rights are implemented to the fullest extent, even when resources are limited. Children were, and continue to be, the real victims of the recession. In its last year in office, how will the Government respond to these children?” The full 2015 Report Card from the Children’s Rights Alliance will be available at: www.childrensrights.ie. (eile.ie 23/2/2015)


DHSSPS Reveals No Medical Evidence to Support ‘Gay’ Blood Donation Ban in NI Stephen Donnan writes from Northern Ireland on the latest blood ban revelations Under an FOI request submitted by the BBC, the NI Department of Health has admitted that there is no medical evidence to support the continued ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood. The decision to lift the ban in England, Scotland and Wales was not extended to Northern Ireland in 2011 however a High Court judgement in October 2013 ruled that the decision to maintain the ban was ‘irrational’.

Council report (see links to these below), that supported a lifetime ban on gay/bisexual men donating blood. Current Health Minister, DUP MLA Jim Wells, admitted that £40,000 had been spent by the Department in trying to appeal the High Court ruling.

changed its policy on lifetime bans to 12 month deferral periods. The DUP have declined to comment. (eile.ie 5/2/2015)

Despite the ruling the donation ban remains in place yet the Department of Health maintains that it has taken its stance from SaBTO (Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs) which itself has

Former Health Minister Edwin Poots MLA claimed that he had seen two pieces of evidence, later revealed to be a letter [from the Irish Republic’s Department of Health] and a European Edwin Poots (Right) EILE Magazine 75


Ireland’s Marriage Equality Referendum Date Set for May 22 The date of Ireland’s marriage equality referendum has finally been announced, and it is due to take place on Friday, May 22. An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, told national broadcaster RTÉ that the date had been set by the government as May 22 for the Marriage Equality Referendum, which Mr Kenny stated would be about tolerance, respect and sensitivity. All of the major Irish political parties are in support of this referendum, both in government and in opposition.

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Outside of Leinster House, opinion polls consistently show that the vast majority of Irish people are also in support of same-sex marriage. Earlier this year, the current Minister for Health, Fine Gael’s Leo Varadkar, came out as gay on live radio, while former Fianna Fáil minister Pat Carey came out as gay last week while also criticising his own party for lacking “energy and urgency” regarding the marriage referendum. Speaking recently on the subject of campaigning for a Yes vote for the upcoming referendum, Gráinne Healy, Chairwoman of the group MarriagEquality stated: “Marriage equality is a

grassroots movement, and we are confident the referendum will be won, as every person who supports lesbian and gay peoples’ right to marry gets behind the Yes campaign. We are encouraging supporters to have conversations with family, friends and colleagues. People who may have concerns, or unanswered questions, are being engaged with and are getting reassurances. This is how the soft support turns into yes votes.”

SDB (eile.ie 20/2/2015)


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Taoiseach Gives Powerful Endorsement of Yes Vote for Marriage Referendum GLEN has strongly welcomed the powerful endorsement of a Yes vote in the upcoming marriage equality referendum by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny. He made the comments in his leaders address to the Fine Gael party’s annual conference in Castlebar on Saturday night. 78 EILE Magazine

“The Taoiseach’s strong call for a yes vote in the marriage referendum is deeply significant. It is powerful to hear the Taoiseach of our country endorse the relationships of lesbian and gay people, and that it is right for them to have full and equal status as citizens of our republic” said Kieran Rose, Chair of GLEN. “When the leader of our country states the case for equality so clearly, it sends a clear and positive message to all lesbian and gay people, their parents and families, as well as to all of Ireland, of their full place at the heart of Irish society” Rose continued. Introduced by the Party’s first

openly gay TD, Jerry Buttimer, the Taoiseach in his leader’s address acknowledged how important for Ireland a Yes vote would be. It would

“send a powerful signal internationally that Ireland has evolved into a fair, compassionate nation.” “Ireland and the Irish people have been on a remarkable journey to equality for lesbian and gay people over the last 25 years. Approaching the centenary of the Rising, the referendum offers lesbian and


Taoiseach: Enda Kenny

gay people the chance to become equal citizens for the first time” said Rose. Speaking directly to all the lesbian and gay couples of Ireland, the Taoiseach gave a ringing endorsement to their aspirations, saying “this is about you; it’s about your right to say two small words, made up of three simple letters – I DO.” The Taoiseach gave both a personal commitment and the commitment of his party, Fine Gael, to campaign for a Yes vote. “We will do all that we can to ensure that this is a positive campaign which focuses on the value of marriage to everyone in Irish society, and how extending access to marriage to lesbian and gay people will strengthen that value. The referendum, if carried, will complete the remarkable 25-year journey to Constitutional equality for lesbian and gay people in Ireland” concluded Rose. (eile.ie 22/2/2015)

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ICCL, GLEN & MarriagEquality – Referendum date marks countdown to equality for all Irish citizens The Taoiseach’s announcement that his preferred date for the Marriage Equality Referendum is May 22nd is ‘monumental’ and marks a countdown to equality for all Irish citizens says the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network and Marriage Equality. The three organisations urge Irish people to save-the-date and 80 EILE Magazine

to start personally asking their family, friends and extended network to vote in the Marriage Equality Referendum. Mark Kelly, Director, Irish Council for Civil Liberties stated: “Irish people are being given a chance to create an Ireland where our citizens are valued equally. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for first time voters and the established electorate to end the discrimination which many lesbian and gay people living in Ireland continue to experience.” Grainne Healy, Chairperson, Marriage Equality, added: “Marriage is important to Irish society, it’s a secure foundation for committed and loving couples. Everyone should be free to marry on those terms. A yes in this referendum is a yes to lesbian and gay people being full participants in Irish

society, and fully equal in the eyes of their fellow citizens. Every single vote counts in this referendum, not one person can be complacent.” GLEN Chair, Kieran Rose concluded: “This referendum is about lesbian and gay people for the first time gaining full citizenship in the Irish constitution. The referendum, if carried, will complete the remarkable 25-year journey to Constitutional equality for lesbian and gay people in Ireland. The proposed wording would ensure that existing marriages and future marriages of men and women are not altered in any way; it would extend civil marriage to now include lesbian and gay couples”. More information can be found on http://www.glen.ie www.marriagequality.ie www.iccl.ie (eile.ie 21/2/2015)


St Peter’s Square, Vatican City

New Ways Ministry Members Finally Get VIP Seats To Hear Pope In what would have been unthinkable under the previous Pope Benedict, members of an LGBT religious support group in the US, called New Ways Ministry, were given VIP seats at Pope Francis’ weekly audience yesterday, Wednesday 18th. They had been given the VIP seats by Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, who is in charge of giving out reserved tickets.

However, the group were not announced as other groups were, and were not mentioned by Francis. This did not deter the LGBT support group of pilgrims, who realised this was a first for the LGBT community. Whereas the Pope did not speak about LGBT issues specifically, he did urge new cardinals to reach out to the marginalised. He said church leaders should “go beyond their comfort zones” and approach people they normally would not associate with. Monsignor Gaenswein, who had allocated the VIP tickets, had also held that position

under Pope Benedict, who had prohibited the founders of New Ways Ministry to minister to LGBT people.While one of the founders, Robert Nugent (now deceased), abided by the prohibition, the nun involved, Sr. Jeannine Gramick, continued to minister to the LGBT community, and was given a seat at Wednesday’s audience. Sister Jeannine told the media: “To me, this is an example of the kind of willingness he has to welcome those on the fringes of the church back to the center of the church”. MKB (eile.ie 19/2/2015) EILE Magazine 81


Gráinne Healy Chair of Marriage Equality

The need for conversations throughout Ireland, to secure a yes majority in the forthcoming referendum on marriage equality, was highlighted by research findings in the Sunday Independent/ Millward Brown poll, Marriage Equality said yesterday (15th Feb). The one fifth of undecided voters, and the soft support among one third of those intending to vote yes, will be brought on a journey of support with three months until polling day. Grainne Healy, Chairwoman, Marriage Equality stated:

“Marriage equality is a 82 EILE Magazine

Marriage Equality: Conversations will win Marriage Equality Referendum

grassroots movement, and we are confident the referendum will be won, as every person who supports lesbian and gay peoples’ right to marry gets behinds the Yes campaign. We are encouraging supporters to have conversations with family, friends and colleagues. People who may have concerns, or unanswered questions, are being engaged with and are getting reassurances. This is how the soft support turns into yes votes.” She continued: “Some people in political circles are nervous because of past referendums. We are confident that as voters, including parents and grandparents, discuss the importance of equality for all our family members, the soft votes will turn to Yes votes. As the right to marry is seen to affect daughters, sons, grandchildren, nieces,

nephews, uncles and aunts, Irish voters who understand the importance of family strength and support which marriage brings, will vote yes for the right to marry regardless of sexual orientation. This referendum will be won as first time voters join with the experienced electorate to come out in massive numbers to secure the passing of the Marriage Equality referendum.” For more information, you can visit http://www. marriagequality.ie


Kieran Rose: Chair of GLEN

New Poll Shows Strong Support For Marriage For Lesbian And Gay Couples A new poll conducted this week by Millward Brown for the Sunday Independent shows continuing and consistent support for civil marriage equality. “The Millward Brown poll for the Sunday Independent shows that a majority of the Irish people right across the country believe that all citizens should have the right to marry in Ireland regardless of sexual orientation. It is a wonderful and powerful valentine’s message about the value we all place on loving and committed relationships in our society” said Kieran Rose GLEN Chair. “It is clear from this poll and other recent polls that Irish people firmly accept that lesbian and gay couples should be afforded the same respect, legal status and protections in the Constitution that are available to the rest of society.” continued Rose.

The referendum on the right to marry is to be held in May following on from the recommendation of the Constitutional Convention.

“The very warm response from across the country to former minister Pat Carey, who courageously talked about being gay and coming out in his later years, clearly demonstrates the generous acceptance by Irish people of our country’s lesbian and gay citizens. We hope that Irish voters will continue that generosity by supporting a positive outcome in the marriage equality referendum”

said Rose. He continued: “The figures are very positive but a lot of work will be required to ensure the amendment passes. This is a vote about members of our families, our friends, neighbours and work colleagues and their equal citizenship and it is important that we do all we can to engage and persuade people about why marriage matters to all of Irish society including lesbian and gay people” continued Rose. “We will do all that we can to ensure that this is a positive campaign which focuses on the value of marriage to everyone in Irish society and how extending access to marriage to lesbian and gay people will strengthen that value. The referendum, if carried, will complete the remarkable 25year journey to Constitutional equality for lesbian and gay people in Ireland” concluded Rose. (eile.ie 16/2/2015)

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Cameroon: Defenders of the rights of LGBTI persons face homophobia and violence An international fact-finding mission report released last month (25 Feb) entitled CAMEROON: HOMOPHOBIA AND VIOLENCE AGAINST DEFENDERS OF THE RIGHTS OF LGBTI PERSONS, stated: “Cameroon is one of the 38 African countries that criminalise homosexuality. It is known for prosecuting, sentencing and incarcerating inordinately large numbers of persons for “consensual sexual relations between persons of the same sex” on the basis of Article 347 bis of the Cameroon Penal Code. FIDH [The International Federation For Human Rights] and OMCT [World Organisation Against Torture] member and partner organisations in Cameroon alerted the Observatory several times about cases of violations of the rights of

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LGBTI rights’ defenders. The worst of violations can be traced to the evening of 15 July 2013, when Eric Ohena Lembembe, journalist and Executive Director of the Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS (CAMFAIDS) working to defend LGBTI rights was found dead in his home in Yaoundé.”

all before the law, is actually supporting the repression of LGBTI persons and their defenders. This can and must change. The rule of law should not tolerate people being threatened or murdered with impunity simply because of whom they love or who they are”

In the report, The Observatory, Human Rights Defenders Network in Central Africa (REDHAC), Maison des droits de l’Homme au Cameroun (MDHC) and AMSHeR (African Men for Sexual Health and Rights) deplore that threats and physical assaults against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersexual (LGBTI) human rights defenders in Cameroon have reached alarming proportions over the last few years.

Since 1972, homosexual acts have been indictable offences in Cameroon. Article 347 bis of the Cameroonian Penal Code provides for prison terms of six-months to five-years for any person found guilty of having had “sexual relations with a person of the same sex”. This unfortunate legal context – with the administrative, law enforcement and judicial authorities showing indifference or even encouragement – has led to the increase in the number of attacks against the defenders of LGBTI persons’ rights over the last few years.

According to FIDH: “In Cameroon, LGBTI rights defenders are victims of the complacency of people who should be guaranteeing respect for the defenders’ rights and security. Justice, which is supposed to respect the principle of equality for

According to the FIDH, Associations and NGOs cannot register under a name that explicitly refers to the rights of LGBTI persons. In 2013, the offices of Alternatives-


Cameroun were set on fire, and the offices of AIDS ACODEV, REDHAC and CAMEF were burglarised and ransacked. Defenders of LGBTI persons’ rights and particularly the rare lawyers who defend them, along with members of their family, are frequently subjected to insults and death threats, either directly or anonymously, by telephone or by text message. The President of REDHAC and one of the lawyers representing LGBTI persons had to evacuate some members of their families because of the serious attacks and threats they were receiving. At the same time, nothing has been done to address the many complaints filed by the LGBTI rights defenders to denounce violations of their rights, and the investigation into the assassination of Eric Ohena Lembembe, Executive Director of the Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS (CAMFAIDS) and journalist committed to defending the rights of LGBTI persons, remains at a standstill. He was found murdered in his home on 15 July 2013. (eile.ie 1/3/2015)

“In Cameroon, LGBTI rights defenders are victims of the complacency of people who should be guaranteeing respect for the defenders’ rights and security. Justice, which is supposed to respect the principle of equality for all before the law, is actually supporting the repression of LGBTI persons and their defenders”

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Minister Frances Fitzgerald

Minister Fitzgerald – Government Publishes The Children & Family Relationships Bill Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Justice and Equality, announced Government approval of the Children and Family Relationships Bill on Tuesday, for publication yesterday (Thursday 19th February). Minister Fitzgerald describes it as “A legal bedrock upon which the diversity of families will be valued, nurtured and recognised in today’s Ireland.” Child-centred reform is at the heart of this landmark 86 EILE Magazine

bill to modernise family law. It protects and clarifies relationships for children living in diverse families The Bill provides crucial legal support and protection for children in their relationships with those parenting them. This may include married or unmarried parents, a parent’s partner, grandparents or relatives. The Bill enables grandparents and other relatives to have access more easily to children in the context of relationship breakdown, and to apply for custody if there is no parent willing or able to take responsibility for caring for the child.

“This reform of family law is a major step forward,” the Minister said. “It’s a substantial and detailed response to the reality of family life in Ireland today.” It provides for parentage, guardianship, custody and access across situations that are not addressed adequately in current law. The Bill addresses the need of children for security in their family situations whether living with: · their married parents; · their unmarried parents; · a parent and the parent’s partner; or


· with a grandparent or other relative who is parenting the child. It includes provisions for children being parented by same-sex couples and covers children who have been born through donor assisted human reproduction (AHR). “This is a major reform of family law which so clearly sets out to vindicate the equal right of every child to the recognition of their families.” the Minister said. “It provides a legal bedrock upon which the diversity of families will be valued, recognised and protected in today’s Ireland. It addresses the identity issue of children born through donor AHR, as recommended in the 2005 Report of the Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction and the Report of the Law Reform Commission in 2010.” The Minister continued: “In summary, the Bill acknowledges just how much family life has changed in recent decades and puts a firm and detailed protective framework around children. It articulates, for the first time, rights for grandparents and others whose relationship with a child is often sundered against their will – and the child’s will – because of a breakdown in relationships.” A parent’s husband or civil partner, or a parent’s cohabiting partner will be able to apply for guardianship where he or she has coparented the child for two

years. The Bill will extend eligibility to adopt a child to civil partners and to cohabiting couples who have lived together for three years. Adoptive leave will be extended to one member of the civil partnered or same-sex cohabiting couple. A wider range of unmarried fathers will become guardians of their child. “The rights of fathers are rightly recognised in this Bill by extending automatic guardianship to unmarried fathers who have lived with the mother of their child for 12 months and played an active role in parenting their child,” the Minister said. “The requirement that a non-marital father, in order to qualify for automatic guardianship, must cohabit with a child and the child’s mother for a specified period is a recognition of the importance of the responsibility of guardianship.” The court’s powers will be enhanced to support joint parenting after breakups and the child’s views may be ascertained in court proceedings on guardianship, custody and access, including through the appointment of an expert. The Bill defines, for the first time, factors that a court can take into account in defining a child’s best interests, such as meaningful relationships, psychological, emotional and spiritual wellbeing as well as issues such as family violence.

of the child as paramount, this Bill will for the first time, define the factors that can be considered by the court as relevant in determining the best interests of the child,” the Minister said. The establishment of a national donor-conceived child register means that hospitals and clinics which offer donor assisted human reproduction facilities will be obliged to seek specified personal information from the donor to allow for the tracing by their identity and to verify their consent to donate. “I strongly supported the principle that a donorconceived child should be able to trace his or her identity. This is a critically important element in the regulation of donor assisted human reproduction at the start of the process where the use of donors is involved. As a result, anonymous donation will be prohibited.” The Minister concluded: “The Government through this comprehensive family law Bill recognises that a caring Ireland cannot sustain the absence of adequate legislative provisions to cater for the rights of the growing number of diverse families in Ireland today.” The census data has indicated that there were 4,042 samesex couples living together in 2011.

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At Dublin Castle Child and Family Groups Join in Welcoming Historic Children and Family Relationships Bill “The publication of the Children and Family Relationships Bill is a monumental opportunity to enhance the rights of children and families in Ireland”. That’s according to the Children’s Rights Alliance, which held a seminar focused on the Bill in Dublin Castle yesterday (2nd March). Speaking at the event, Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance said : “The Children and Family Relationships Bill is long overdue, and now, more than ever, we need to have the political will and support to get it across the line. “All families must be recognised and children provided with certainty and legal recognition of their relationship with those 88 EILE Magazine

responsible for their everyday care. This Bill will impact positively on the lives of thousands of children and their families.” Making Children’s Rights a Reality Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD delivered an opening address at the seminar in Dublin Castle yesterday morning, and was joined by Dr Geoffrey Shannon, Special Rapporteur for Child Protection and Founding Patron of the Children’s Rights Alliance who discussed the Bill in detail. Dr Shannon said today: “Until recently family life in Ireland was synonymous with marriage. The increasing fluidity and diversity of family forms means that it is no longer tenable for Irish law to recognise only one type of family. The constitutional preference for families based on marriage remains intact, but it is essential to provide certainty for all families,

whatever their status. “While the Bill is a hugely positive development, it should be accompanied by structural reform. The establishment of a specific family court system is promised in the Programme for Government and is necessary for a fair and effective forum to vindicate the rights of children and families.” Giving Children a Voice Grainne Long, CEO, ISPCC, commented: “The ISPCC warmly welcomes the bill which will have a significant impact on the lives of many children and young people who are currently discriminated against in our legal system. It would also give rights to grandparents and other family members in the area of custody and access.” Fergus Finlay, CEO Barnardos, said: “This is a children’s bill – a piece of legislation that is aimed at making children more equal in the eyes of the law, that listens to children


and places their interests first. The Children and Family Relationships Bill means all children will be treated equally, no matter who is parenting them. This legislation is simply catching up with the reality of thousands of children living in non-traditional family settings, providing greater legal security for their relationships with those loving them and bringing them up. The Bill could be even better if the voice of the child is given stronger legal protection in family law cases.” Karen Kiernan, CEO of One Family, said: ‘One Family welcomes the fact that children living in step-parent families will now be able to have a legal relationship with the people raising them, however we still need a fast-tracked stepparent adoption system along with a resourced court-welfare system.’ Jennifer Gargan, Director, Empowering People in Care (EPIC), commented: “EPIC warmly welcomes the Children and Family Relationship Bill, which will make a real and practical difference to the lives of children in foster care. The Bill will enable foster carers to seek guardianships rights in relation to children in their care.

“While the Bill is a hugely positive development, it should be accompanied by structural reform. The establishment of a specific family court system is promised in the Programme for Government and is necessary for a fair and effective forum to vindicate the rights of children and families”

“This will allow them to make decisions about the everyday lives of foster children and ensure that children are not missing out on opportunities or made to feel different than their friends because they are in care.” Dr Ruth Barrington, Chair of Treoir, added: “We warmly welcome the Minister’s announcement that she will consider at Committee Stage how to grant guardianship to unmarried non-cohabiting fathers who are sharing parenting of their children.” For more information on the Children’s Rights Alliance visit: www.childrensrights.ie (eile.ie 3/3/2015)

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NI Conscience Clause – A Petition Of Concern Supported By Majority Of Other NI Parties Stephen Donnan reports from Northern Ireland on the growing opposition to the Conscience Clause proposed by the DUP, and how almost all other political parties will sign a Petition of Concern to defeat it Sinn Féin confirmed that their party, together with the Greens and NI21 will sign a Petition of Concern to effectivlely kill Paul Givan’s ‘Northern Ireland Freedom of Conscience Amendment Bill’ (also known as the Conscience Clause) after significant public outcry.

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In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph (http:// www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/ news/northern-ireland/sinnfein-petition-leaves-dupsconscience-clause-dead-in-thewater-31006994.html), Sinn Féin MLA, Catriona Ruane, claimed that after talks with both Steven Agnew of the Green Party and Basil McCrea of NI21, they now had the required 30 signatures to block the Bill from progressing past the first reading in the House.

against gay people. The move by the DUP was slammed by many as a flagrant attempt to legislate for ‘optouts’ for equality legislation, which would prevent LGBT people from accessing goods, facilities and services on religious grounds.

In a rally last month, which over 1,000 people attended, spokespeople from Sinn Féin, Alliance, The issue was debated on SDLP, Greens, PUP the Stephen Nolan show the and People Before previous night where the Profit criticised the proposer of the Bill, Paul Givan move and pledged to MLA, claimed that it was not


do everything in their power to bring it to a ‘shuddering stop’ as SDLP MLA Alex Attwood promised. It looks now as though a majority will not be needed to bring this to a full vote and the Bill will be defeated. Independent Unionist MLA Claire Sugden also expressed her opposition to the Bill previously: https:// twitter.com/ClaireSugden/ status/564522561661599744) A Petitition of Concern is a mechanism of the Northern Ireland Assembly that can be signed by 30 MLAs and call any proposed measure to a crosscommunity vote. If more than 40% of Nationalist or Unionist MLAs disagree with a measure it can be vetoed. The DUP have used this mechanism to effectivly block any attempts to legislate for equal marriage in Northern Ireland. (eile.ie 20/2/2015)

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Film Fatale Presents

Prohibition Party March 14th AT IMMA Ireland’s biggest Prohibition Party is back, this time even bigger and better. Join Film Fatale on 14 March for an alternative St Patrick’s Weekend party, as Film Fatale returns the Prohibition-era experience to Dublin’s IMMA for a party that will relive the decadent days of Gatsby, gangsters, flappers and 1920s glamour. Dublin’s IMMA will be transformed once more into an opulent 1920s fancy-dress party, the kind of elegant yet wild soirée that would do Jay Gatsby proud. It will be even bigger as we open up more secret rooms, more bars, more performers, a silent cinema and more sparkle, glitz and glamour. Inside the majestic doors of IMMA, there will gambling gangsters, fast-footed dancing flappers in sparkling ensembles, exotic fan dancers, and people Lindy Hopping to our 1920s ragtime band The Great Gatsbies. Meanwhile, you can do the Charleston to retro DJs The Andrews Sisters’ Brothers or dance your socks off to an Electro-swing set by DJ Mimi Rouge. There will be one room dedicated solely to 1920s and 1930s Prohibition era, the music it has inspired and dance-your-socks off electro swing. IMMA’s gothic chapel will become the Punch Parlour, a perfect place to drink prohibition-era “bathtub gin” and dance to your favourite vintage hits from the 1920s to the 70s. Show your moxy through the rags you wear, and set the scene by dressing up in your vintage finest, or pay homage to 1920s silent movie stars, dames and fellas, flappers and philosophers, or gangsters and their molls. Tell your friends, people you like, but trust but no one else — this event is on the QT so shhh! Keep your trap shut, don’t wear iron and no funny business, or we’ll all end up under glass. It’s gonna be swell kid!

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Tickets to The Prohibition are (€30) and are available at www.eventbrite. ie Venue: IMMA, Kilmainham, Dublin 8 – Doors 8.00pm till late. EILE Magazine 93


‘The Baltimore Waltz’ Returns to the Stage in Dublin & Sligo Blue Heart Theatre’s widelyacclaimed stage production of Paula Vogel’s The Baltimore Waltz returns to theatre stages in Dublin and Sligo this month In this bitter-sweet farce, Anna (played by Niamh Denyer) and her beloved gay brother Carl (Mike Kunze) finally take a long-planned trip to Europe in search of a cure for her recently diagnosed terminal illness. But when they get there, nothing is as it seems. Why is Carl always in his pyjamas? Who is the mysterious Third Man (Brian

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Higgins)? And why do none of their holiday snaps look anything like the places they visit? The Baltimore Waltz is both a heart-wrenching study of grief and loss, and a comically surreal farce, reflecting on the ambivalent response of the US government to the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. This tragi-comedy was lesbian playwright Vogel’s response to the death of her brother Carl, who died in 1988 from complications due to AIDS before the pair could embark on their long-anticipated road trip through Europe. The Baltimore Waltz has established itself as a modern American stage classic. It won the Obie award for Best American Play in 1993, and Vogel went on to win the

Pulitzer Prize for her later work How I Learned to Drive.

Scheduled Performances The Factory Performance Space, Lower Quay Street, Sligo Thursday, March 19th 2015 Friday, March 20th 2015 The New Theatre, 43 Essex Street East, Dublin 2 March 23rd – April 4th 2015


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Faith In Marriage Equality: Interfaith Group Formed To Support Marriage Equality Faith In Marriage Equality (FIME) is a new interfaith voluntary group of religious people who have formed to support marriage equality for LGBT people in Ireland. Their Charter lists their beliefs as: We Believe

We are all equal under God, whether we are heterosexual or gay. Faith 96 EILE Magazine

leaders should not marginalise or exclude people who are gay rather they should promote equality and inclusion.

While it is proper that faith leaders govern their members’ access to religious marriage, they should not seek to prevent access to civil marriage.

People of faith understand that marriage is based on the values of love and commitment. This is the case for heterosexual and same sex couples, whether the marriage involves children or not.

People of faith can exercise their freedom of conscience to vote yes to civil marriage in this referendum, as was done to permit civil divorce twenty years ago.

Faith institutions already distinguish between civil and religious marriage.

The FIME Charter is supported by We Are Church Ireland, Changing Attitude Ireland, and Gay Catholic Voices Ireland. EILE has


previously featured Changing Attitude Ireland and Gay Catholic Voice Ireland in our magazine, and

linked to We Are Church Ireland. For more information visit www.fime.ie

Also See Video: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=7QfpzlohF1o EILE Magazine 97


IHREC publishes policy statement on access to civil marriage Last Thursday (12th Feb) The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (the Commission) published its policy statement on access to civil marriage.

mandate to promote equality and human rights under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014.

Welcoming the proposed referendum, the Commission believes that the opening out of civil marriage to two persons, without distinction as to their sex, is a matter of equality and human rights. The Commission stated that to promote access to civil marriage and to enhance full protection of family life for all couples, without distinction as to their sex, the referendum is an important step.

“The opening up of civil marriage to two persons, without distinction as to their sex, is a matter of equality and human rights. After reviewing human rights and equality standards and case-law from other countries, the Commission considers that the current Constitutional position relating to marriage does not provide full recognition and equality of status for samesex couples in a way that would underpin wider equality for people in Irish society.”

This policy statement aims to inform Government and the Oireachtas of the relevant and emerging human rights and equality standards in this field, including legal developments in other jurisdictions, as they consider the question of access to civil marriage. The Commission provides this information in accordance with its 98 EILE Magazine

Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission said:

Ms Logan continued “Marriage is celebrated in Ireland as a key part of an individual’s and a family’s participation in the social and cultural life of the State. By excluding couples from participation in a social and cultural


institution on the basis of their sex, the Commission considers that Irish law does not provide full recognition and equality of status for same-sex couples. In other countries, in extending access to civil marriage, the Courts have recognised that equality encompasses not only the practical benefits and responsibilities of marriage, but the equal status and recognition of their relationship within their communities”. Ms Logan concluded “The Constitution protects ‘the family which is founded on the institution of marriage..’; although marriage is not explicitly defined as being between a man and a woman in the text of the Constitution, the Irish Superior Courts have interpreted the protections under the Constitution as extending to different-sex couples only.” The Commission reiterates its view that the opening out of civil marriage to two persons, without distinction as to their sex, is a matter of equality and human rights and that the Government’s proposal to hold a Constitutional referendum is an important step. (eile.ie 16/2/2015) You can access the IHREC policy statement at: http://www.ihrec.ie/download/ pdf/ihrec_policy_statement_ access_civil_marriage_11_feb_ 2015.pdf

“The opening up of civil marriage to two persons, without distinction as to their sex, is a matter of equality and human rights. After reviewing human rights and equality standards and case-law from other countries, the Commission considers that the current Constitutional position relating to marriage does not provide full recognition and equality of status for samesex couples in a way that would underpin wider equality for people in Irish society.” EILE Magazine 99


Chair of LGBT UKIP ‘Disillusioned” And Steps Down Tom Booker, who has led the LGBT section of the UK political party UKIP, has become disillusioned with the party, after what he sees as a string of anti-gay comments by party members. He tweeted that 100 EILE Magazine

he had stepped down from his position as leader of LGBT and has quit the party. He also felt that he could no longer defend the party, or campaign for it “convincingly”.

policy direction and dissatisfaction at the failure of the leadership to set a gay-friendly tone. “I also now wish to focus more time on my career development and personal life.

He told Pink News: “I stepped down from my position as FounderChairman of LGBT* in UKIP, and resigned my membership of UKIP, due to disillusionment of

“I am proud of my contribution to UKIP. The new LGBT* in UKIP committee is excellent, and I hope that the enthusiasm and dedication of the committee will


Tom Booker

take the group to new heights.

Booker wishes his successor well though as he tweeted:

“I would like to wish them all the best.” “I want to wish my ukip friends, inc. the guys at Flo Lewis will succeed Mr. @ukiplgbt – Booker as Chair of the @Nathangarbutt (whom LGBT section for UKIP, I’ll still campaign for) and while Nathan Garbutt @FloLewis1 the best :-)” remains as Vice Chair. mkb (eile.ie 26/2/2015) EILE Magazine 101


European Parliament: Include LGBT nondiscrimination clause in future agreement with African, Caribbean & Pacific States On Wednesday (11th Feb) the European Parliament adopted a report in which it calls for inclusion of nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in future agreements with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states. 102 EILE Magazine

According to the EP, sanctions should follow for those states failing to respect human rights clauses. The Parliament also expresses its deep concern over anti-LGBTI laws, as found in the Gambia and Nigeria and as nullified by the Constitutional Court in Uganda. Currently, diplomatic, trade and aid relationships between the EU and ACP states are governed by the Cotonou Agreement. The Agreement includes a dialogue on “political issues of mutual concern or of general significance” in joint talks, including “discrimination of any kind” (Art. 8.4), yet fails to mention sexual orientation and gender identity specifically. The report was adopted with a large majority of 575 in favour, while 64 voted against. Ian Duncan MEP, Vice-President of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights and Member of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA), reacted: “In this report the European Parliament has made its position very clear: We do not accept the state-sponsored homophobia as we find


it in an increasing number of ACP countries.” “Over half of the ACP states criminalise homosexuality. It is time to effectively use our relationship with the ACP states to stop this wave of homophobia.” Isabella Adinolfi MEP, VicePresident of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights and part of the ACP-EU JPA, continued: “When we are faced with the horrific violence people suffer for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or intersex, it is time to reinforce the principle that human rights clauses are universal and non-negotiable.” “The right to nondiscrimination, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, can not be compromised in the ACP-EU partnership. It is time to fully acknowledge that.”

“The right to nondiscrimination, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, can not be compromised in the ACP-EU partnership. It is time to fully acknowledge that”

(eile.ie 15/2/2015) EILE Magazine 103


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Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan launches first primary teachers’ resource on homophobic bullying On 4th February Jan O’Sullivan TD, Minister for Education and Skills launched the first guide for primary teachers on homophobic and transphobic bullying. The guide, Respect: Creating a Welcoming and Positive School Climate to Prevent Homophobic and Transphobic Bullying in Primary School was developed by GLEN, the INTO and the INTO LGBT Group. The launch took place at 5.30pm in the Clock Tower, Department of Education and Skills, Marlborough Street, Dublin 1. The Minister.said, “Every primary school classroom has children from a diverse range of backgrounds and family types. Every child needs to feel that they belong and that they are welcomed, respected and valued”. She continued, “The Respect resource we are launching today will support the whole primary school community in creating an inclusive and positive school climate, so that all children can flourish

to the best of their abilities”. “Bullying is an issue for many children in our schools and for some this can take the form of homophobic or transphobic bullying. Encouraging respectful relationships across the school community is key to preventing bullying, particularly identity-based bullying. This guide is the first to support primary teachers in including homophobic and transphobic bullying in their bullying prevention work” stated Sandra IrwinGowran, Director of Education Policy at GLEN. Sheila Nunan, General Secretary of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisations (INTO) said, “Primary school teachers play a central role in creating a classroom and school environment where all children are safe, affirmed and respected. They also play a central role in tackling and preventing bullying. The Respect resource being launched today will be a support for

teachers in addressing LGBT issues as they arise and in preventing homophobic and transphobic bullying in their classrooms and schools”. Cecelia Gavigan of the INTO LGBT Teachers’ Group stated, “Up to now many teachers were unsure of how they could appropriately and sensitively deal with homophobic and transphobic bullying and inclusion. Primary school teachers really welcome this resource; now they have clear, innovative and practical resources to support them in implementing the Department’s Anti-Bullying Procedures and ensuring that all the children in their classroom are respected and valued”. The resource supports the implementation of the Department of Education Anti-Bullying Procedures.

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TENI & Amnesty: Gender Recognition Legislation Must Reflect & Protect the Lives of Those People Who Need It Yesterday (Feb 3rd) the Committee Stage debate on Gender Recognition Bill 2014 began in Seanad Éireann. During the debate, Senators from across the house joined in proposing amendments which broadly focused on the areas of review processes, child protection, and the pathologisation of trans identities. Sara Phillips, Chair of Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI), said: “We’re delighted at the range of amendments put forward by Senators to address the deficiencies in the current Bill. These amendments show a will to ensure that this legislation protects the rights and dignity of trans people.”

Katherine Zappone began the debate by calling for an amendment to be accepted to establish a review process for the Bill. This would give effect to a process whereby the legislation could be monitored over time, and reconsidered if necessary. Senator Zappone argued that this could “ensure that it is in keeping with international human rights standards, and best practice.” This received wide support from across the house. Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane stated that “the reason this amendment is being put forward is that a number of us see serious flaws in this legislation, and it will be a chance to get it right.” Fine Gael’s Hildegard Naughton stated her support, claiming that “this legislation truly merits a review.”

Review Process

Minister Humphreys indicated his intention to accept the principle of this amendment, and assured Members that “there will be an amendment at Report Stage in relation to this.”

Independent Senator

Child Protection

Gender Recognition Bill 2014: Committee Stage debate

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The second set of amendments to be considered all related to young people. In particular, the amendments sought to address the absence of a process for young people under 16 to have their gender recognised, and also the onerous processes put in place for young people aged 16 and 17 wishing to be recognised in their preferred gender. Independent Senator Jillian Van Turnhout was the first to speak and gave an incredibly powerful speech on children’s rights, and the need to have the best interests of the child in mind when considering legislation. She pointed to Ireland’s shocking record in its treatment of vulnerable young people, and stated in no uncertain terms that “this bill fails to vindicate children’s rights” by its outright exclusion of young people under the age of 16. Again there was cross party support for Senator Van Turnhout’s amendments. Independent Senator Gerard Craughwell offered: “If we pass the flawed version of this Bill, what will those children


say about us, and our empathy for their situation.” Fianna Fáil Senator Averil Power said “as it stands we are letting young people down.”

most likely be more familiar with applicants circumstances, and that the range of specialist practitioners in Ireland is incredibly small.

In his response, Minister Humphreys stated that he was not in a position to accept the amendments. Though he said that he was “moved by [Senator Van Turnhout’s] contribution”, he also said that “the bill can’t do everything.”

In response, Minister Humphreys said he was not in a position to accept the amendments. He then said that the Government would be putting forward an amendment at a later stage which would remove the term ‘medical evaluation’ from the Bill.

Pathologisation of Trans Identities The final set of amendments proposed all related to the medical requirements contained in the Bill. Once again there was cross party consensus that requiring a medical practitioner to affirm a person’s identity was “pathologisation by any other name”. Labour’s Marie Moloney stated that “I don’t see any logical reason for including this. We are inferring that trans people are ill.” Independent Senator David Norris pointed out that the situation bore resemblances to the way that homosexuals were once treated, and finished by asserting, “You don’t diagnose health, Minister, you diagnose illness.” Senator Katherine Zappone also pointed out that the definition of primary treating medical practitioner, if it had to be included, should be expanded to include a person’s general practitioner (GP). She pointed out that GPs would

Responding to the Debate Amnesty International Ireland and Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) today applauded the efforts made by Senators from across Seanad Éireann to propose amendments to address the deficiencies of the current Bill.

order for a 16 or 17 year-old to have her or his gender legally recognised are burdensome and prohibitive. And rather than enforcing a blanket age restriction, a case-by-case approach should be applied towards children, based on their views and best interests. And, requiring a medical ‘certificate’ as evidence that a person is in transition or has transitioned can result not only in the stigmatisation of transgender people, but in the need for diagnostic assessments the person may not wish to undergo and are not medically necessary.” Sara Phillips, Chair of Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI), said today: “This is a critical moment and we need the Government to listen to us. This legislation effects our lives and it’s an opportunity to get it right. Trans people must be listened to. Our voices must be heard. There are serious problems with this Bill, and they simply must be addressed if this legislation is to serve the needs of the very people it is supposed to protect.”

“The Government’s reaction to the proposed amendments to the Gender Recognition Bill today is disappointing. As it stands the Bill does not fulfill the requirements of The Committee Stage debate international human will resume in Seanad Éireann rights law, nor does in the coming weeks. it properly protect the human rights of transgender people,” said Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland. He continued: “The proposed provisions that must be met in

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Rally For Recognition: Trans* peopl dignity and equality Crowds of people gathered at the gates of Leinster House this afternoon (Feb 14th) at 2 pm to protest the proposed Gender Recognition Bill 2014. The rally, organised by the human rights group LGBT Noise, heard from trans people demanding amendments to legislation which is currently being debated in the Houses of the Oireachtas. Holding up a torn-in-two sign which said “Equal”, Max Kryzanowski, of LGBT Noise, who organised the Rally, 108 EILE Magazine

stated: “This is what the Government wants to do to trans people“. Members of the trans* community, who are directly affected by the legislation, spoke passionately for amendments to the proposed Bill, and the need for the Government to listen to their voices.

“The transgender community has had to wait for far too long for Gender Recognition legislation. The least the Government can do, to make up for the years of neglect and worse, is to make this Bill as inclusive as possible, and ensure that no other trans persons have to go down

the same lonely road that Lydia Foy had to travel for the last 18 years” said Michael Farrell – Senior Solicitor, with FLAC. The crowd held symbolic broken hearts reflecting their feelings on “significant flaws” in the Bill. According to attendees, the current measures make the scheme inaccessible to married trans* people, who would be forced to divorce in order to have their chosen gender recognised. The need for a statement from a treating physician was described as pathologising gender identity, and a step away from international best practice. Lack of recognition of intersex and non-binary identities, and a deterrent pathway for minors, were also identified as


ple demand contentious issues in speeches at the rally. The speakers at the Rally included: Claire Farrell – Transgender Equality Network of Ireland (TENI), Victoria Mullen – TENI, Michael Farrell – Senior Solicitor FLAC, Cearbhaill Turraoin – LGBT Noise, and Max Kryzanowski – LGBT Noise. After the Rally, there was music to entertain the crowd of protesters. EILE has written on the Irish Government’s need to rethink the Gender Recognition Bill in MKB’s article: http://eile.ie/2014/12/31/theneed-for-a-rethink-of-the-genderrecognition-bill/

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US: LGBT Teens Who Come Out At School Have Better SelfEsteem, Study Finds Despite the risk of being bullied, coming out in high school is better for students’ wellbeing in the long run, according to a new study by UA researcher Stephen Russell. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender adolescents who come out at school have higher self-esteem and lower levels of depression as young adults, compared to LGBT youth who don’t disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity at school, according to a new study led by University of Arizona researcher Stephen Russell. Published in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, it is the first-known study to document the benefits of 110 EILE Magazine

Stephen T. Russell, University of Arizona

being out during adolescence, despite the fact that teens may experience bullying when they openly identify as LGBT. Researchers examined data from the Family Acceptance Project, a research, intervention, education and policy initiative at San Francisco State University designed to prevent risk and promote well-being of LGBT children and adolescents. They found in the project’s survey of 245 non-Latino white and Latino LGBT young adults, ages 21 to 25, that respondents experienced victimization and bullying in high school because of their LGBT identity, whether they came out or not. However, those who were open about their sexual orientation or gender identity in high school reported higher selfesteem and life satisfaction as young adults than those who did not disclose, or who

tried to conceal, their sexual orientation or gender identity from others at school. Those who came out at school also reported lower levels of depression as young adults. The results were the same across genders and ethnicities. The findings are significant as youth are coming out at younger ages, Russell said. LGBT adolescents often are counseled by adults not to disclose their sexual orientation and gender identity in an attempt to protect them from harm, he said. But the new research suggests that may not be the best advice. “Until now, a key question about balancing the need to protect LGBT youth from harm while promoting their wellbeing has not been addressed: Do the benefits of coming out at school outweigh the increased risk of victimization? Our study points to the positive role of coming out for youth


and young adult well-being,” said Russell, director of the Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth and Families in the UA’s John and Doris Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences. Caitlin Ryan, director of the Family Acceptance Project and study co-author, said the finding has important implications for how adults and caregivers support LGBT youth.

“We know from our other studies that requiring LGBT adolescents to keep their LGBT identities secret or not to talk about them is associated with depression, suicidal behavior, illegal drug use and risk for HIV. And helping them learn about and disclose their LGBT identity to others helps protect against risk and helps promote self-esteem and overall health,” Ryan said. “This study underscores the critical role of school environment in influencing LGBT students’ risk and well-being into young adulthood.” Russell, a UA Distinguished Professor of Family Studies and Human Development, was inspired to conduct the study after being asked to provide an expert opinion for a suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU sued Okeechobee High School in Florida after the school denied students the right to start a gay-straight alliance on campus. School officials had argued that allowing the club would be disruptive and potentially harmful to students. The case was settled before going to trial, with the ACLU prevailing. But when ACLU attorneys asked Russell if he could say with absolute certainty that it is better for gay adolescents to come out at school than not, he realized the problematic lack of research on the subject. Russell said the new findings, showing that being out at school contributes to well-being later on, will be important for educating parents, school officials and others about how to provide the best support and guidance for LGBT students.

“The thing that’s encouraging is that we’ve found being out is good for you...”

“The thing that’s encouraging is that we’ve found being out is good for you,” said Russell, who also is the Fitch Nesbitt Endowed Chair in the Norton School, part of the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “This is clearly aligned with everything we know about identity. Being able to be who we are is crucial to mental health.” From University of Arizona – Alexis Blue and Cathy Renna

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Malaysia: Anwar Verdict Will Have Chilling Effect On Freedom Of Expression – Amnesty A Malaysian court’s decision to uphold a conviction against opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and to hand him a five-year prison sentence is an oppressive ruling that will have a chilling effect on freedom of expression in the country, Amnesty International said. Malaysia’s Federal Court, the highest court in the country, upheld the decision of an appeal court to overturn Anwar Ibrahim’s acquittal on long-standing ‘sodomy’ charges, which date back to 2008, and sentenced him to five years in prison. Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty 112 EILE Magazine

International Ireland said,:

“This is a deplorable judgment, and just the latest chapter in the Malaysian authorities’ relentless attempts to silence government critics. The ‘sodomy’ charges against Anwar Ibrahim have always been politically motivated, and he should be released immediately.” “The Malaysian judiciary missed an opportunity to demonstrate its independence from political interference. We consider Anwar Ibrahim to be a prisoner of conscience – jailed solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.”

“The attempts to silence the opposition leader come amidst a wider crackdown on dissenting voices in Malaysia. The authorities have over the past year made increasing use of the draconian Sedition Act to target journalists, politicians and academics they find inconvenient. This practice must end.” “In the context of our upcoming marriage equality referendum and our discussion around blasphemy laws, it’s important that the people of Ireland recognise that equality for the LGBTI community is not a given, that press and other freedoms are hardwon, not just in Ireland but around the globe. The fight for equality is ongoing.”


Executive Director Amnesty International Ireland: Colm O’Gorman

“The Malaysian judiciary missed an opportunity to demonstrate its independence from political interference”

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International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival TABLE QUIZ March 11th The IDGTF are holding their 2015 fundraising Table Quiz on Wednesday March 11th in Pantibar, Capel Street @ 8pm. Tables of 4 cost ₏40, with prizes galore! MC’s on the night will be Robbie Kane and Claire Craig from Classic Hits 4FM. There will also be a raffle on the night. All proceeds go towards the festival helping to celebrate LGBT identity and culture in Dublin and beyond. To reserve a table email quiz@ gaytheatre.ie with your details. To find out more visit www.gaytheatre. ie 114 EILE Magazine


Volunteer With The Theatre Festival - The IDGTF Needs You! Want to be part of the world’s biggest festival of gay theatre? Want to make new friends, catch some shows, learn some new things and have some fun? Then why not become an International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival volunteer! IDGTF volunteers work in areas such as front of house at venues, box office, tech (lighting, sound etc.), PR & marketing and more.Without our amazing volunteers the Festival would not happen!We’ll be holding a volunteer information meeting soon so now is the time to sign up: Find out more about volunteering here Sign up online here (and we’ll get back to you) Questions? Email us at volunteers@ gaytheatre.ie

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Israel: LGBT Soldiers & Activists React Against Habayit Hayehudi Party On Facebook The Israeli party, Habayit Hayehudi, has come under fire recently from the Israeli LGBT community and pro-gay supporters, because of its anti-gay opinions. There have been incidences showing an anti-gay stance by the party in the run up to the 2015 election, the most recent being sparked by seemingly homophobic opinions 116 EILE Magazine

expressed by members of the party, when asked where they stood on same-sex marriage. Many said they were opposed to the idea, with some denying its existence, according to media reports. In another incident, Naftali Bennett, the leader of the party, held a campaign rally in Haifa last week, where an LGBT activist took out a rainbow flag, and he and other LGBT activists were promptly attacked by party supporters. Bennett’s facebook page was inundated with stills of the Israeli film, Yossi and Jagger, when he praised soldiers who were serving in harsh weather conditions. The film is a love story between two soldiers, and the LGBT community asked the question whether Bennett

meant all soldiers, even the gay soldiers. Israel has made some progress in regard to LGBT rights recently, with the Defence Minister stating publicly that he backs marriage equality, and the attorney-general stating that a court order should suffice to recognise for instance the lesbian partner of a biological mother as also the parent of that child. The Former Labour leader (Yacimovich) has also stated that it is homophobia, not homosexuality, that is an illness. MKB (eile.ie 22/2/2015)


Still from the film, Yossi & Jagger, starring Ohad Knoller and Yehuda Levi

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New GLAAD report maps long road to full LGBT acceptance, despite historic legal advances GLAAD surveys conducted by Harris Poll show some Americans still ‘very uncomfortable’ with LGBT families and co-workers On Monday last (9th) GLAAD, America’s LGBT media advocacy organisation, released “Accelerating Acceptance,” based on two surveys – conducted on GLAAD’s behalf by Harris Poll – which reveal some nonLGBT Americans still report substantial levels of discomfort with LGBT co-workers, family, and neighbours, despite historic legal progress for marriage equality. The surveys were conducted in August and November, 2014, among over 2,000 U.S. adults (aged 18+) each – of whom over 1,700 per survey indicated being straight, cisgender (referred to here as “non-LGBT 118 EILE Magazine

Americans”). According to Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD CEO and President: “Closing the gap to full acceptance of LGBT people will not come from legislation or judicial decisions alone, but from a deeper understanding and empathy from Americans themselves. Accelerating acceptance will require the help of not just LGBT people, but also their allies – everyday Americans who feel strongly and take an active role to make sure that their LGBT friends and family are fully accepted members of society.” WEDDINGS, LGBT HANDHOLDING, AND PLAYDATES IN A HOME WITH LGBT PARENTS While a majority of the public supports equal marriage protections, there remain large numbers of straight, non-transgender adults that still have a significant degree of discomfort surrounding

actual weddings for same-sex couples. One-third (34%) say they would be uncomfortable attending the wedding of a same-sex couple, with 22% saying they would feel very uncomfortable. A substantially larger group (43%) responds they would be uncomfortable bringing a child to the wedding of a same-sex couple. Beyond weddings for same-sex couples, the survey reveals that many are still uncomfortable simply seeing and interacting with same-sex couples. A third of non-LGBT Americans (36%) say that just seeing a same-sex couple holding hands makes them uncomfortable. The survey also evidenced resistance to LGBT parents by other parents in their community. Many straight, non-transgender parents say they would be uncomfortable with their child playing at a home with an LGBT parent – 40% for a transgender parent, 29% for a gay dad and 28% for a lesbian mom.


DISCOMFORT IN EVERYDAY SITUATIONS A fifth to nearly a third of non-LGBT Americans are uncomfortable with common situations involving LGBT people. These range from simple things like having an LGBT person move in next door to more personal situations such as learning that a family member is LGBT.

Base: Straight, Cisgender Respondents % Uncomfortable % VERY Uncomfortable n=1821 n=1821 Learning a family member is LGBT 32% 11% Learning my doctor is LGBT 31% 13% Electing an LGBT politician 29% 13% Learning a close friend is LGBT 27% 10% Seeing an LGBT coworker’s wedding picture 27% 13% Having LGBT members at your place of worship 26% 10% Learning a co-worker is LGBT 23% 7% Having an LGBT person move in next door 23% 6% EVEN GREATER CHALLENGE FOR TRANSGENDER COMMUNITY

Acceptance of the transgender community faces more resistance than does acceptance of the rest of the LGBT community. Most notably, a majority of nonLGBT Americans (59%) say they would be uncomfortable if they learned their child was dating a transgender person. More than a quarter (31%) say this would make them “very uncomfortable.” Being on a sports team with a transgender person still makes large numbers of non-LGBT Americans uncomfortable. Roughly equal numbers report discomfort with being on the same team as a transgender woman (32%)

and a transgender man (31%). These numbers are higher than the reports of discomfort with being on a sports team with a gay man (26%) or lesbian (20%). ALLIES ARE CRITICAL TO ACCELERATING ACCEPTANCE Further demonstrating the importance of cultivating more allies, those who know LGBT people display substantially lower levels of discomfort – 30% are uncomfortable seeing a same-sex couple hold hands among those who have LGBT family members, while that number drops to 25% among those with an LGBT coworker EILE Magazine 119


and 17% among those with a close LGBT friend. On the flip side, almost half (47%) of those who don’t know any LGBT people say seeing a same-sex couple holding hands makes them uncomfortable. Clearly, a connection exists between familiarity and acceptance. CONCLUSION Despite historic progress on the issue of marriage equality, much work remains to be done to ensure the safety and acceptance of LGBT Americans in their communities, workplaces, and families. These longer-term social and cultural attitudes will require persistent dialogue and education to change and convince those who still hold negative attitudes towards the LGBT community. This change will not solely come through legislative or judicial action, but also through the actions of LGBT people and allies who take an active role to build a more accepting society in their daily lives – in their schools, with their own children, with friends, and neighbours in the community. Visit GLAAD at: http://www.glaad.org (eile.ie 11/2/2015)

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“Turing’s Law” - Posthumous Pardons For Convicted Gay Men The Labour Party in the UK have said that they will introduce a law, when in government, to allow the families of those convicted of homosexuality, under the gross indecency laws of the past, to apply for a pardon.

and only

Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour Party, and currently leader of the opposition, says they propose to call it “Turing’s Law”, after Alan Turing, who was convicted in 1952, died in 1954,

The new law would allow the families or friends of those deceased gay men who were convicted to apply for the quashing of the conviction on their behalf. Alan Turing’s great-niece, Rachel Barnes, her son Thomas, and Turing’s great-nephew, Nevil Hunt, handed in a petition to Downing Street asking for pardons for all those convicted under the outdated laws. Turing was chemically castrated by the British government of the time rather than face prison. He died in 1954 of cyanide poisoning, allegedly suicide, but many dispute this opinion.

Alan Turing 1951 Elliott & Fry Studio

recently received a posthumous pardon in 2013. Miliband sees it as “grossly unfair to the relatives of those convicted who have passed away”.

Since 2012, those of the 49,000 convicted who are still alive, may apply to have their conviction quashed under the Protection of Freedom Act. ( mkb eile.ie 4/3/2015)

Ed Miliband (left) EILE Magazine 121


GLEN: Huge Interest in Launch of Ireland’s First Workplace Equality Index GLEN, Gay and Lesbian Equality Network have launched the Workplace Equality Index to find Ireland’s best places to work for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people. Companies employing over ½ million employees across the private, public, educational, community and voluntary sectors attended the launch.

“The Workplace Equality Index will push top performing employers in Ireland to new heights. The Index will also provide a framework for employers tackling issues like harassment and homophobic bullying in the workplace” said Davin Roche, Director of Workplace Diversity, GLEN.

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*Research commissioned by GLEN found 30% of lesbian, gay and bisexual employees were harassed at work and over 10% quit a job because of discrimination. This research found that employees who were “out” at work were more committed to their employer than employees who were not “out”, and reported a better working relationship with colleagues. “The Workplace Equality Index launching today, is a critical way for employers to annually measure their efforts to tackle discrimination and create an inclusive workplace for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees.” said Sinéad Gibney, Director, Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. Speaking at the launch of the Index, Peter O’Neill, Managing Director, IBM Ireland, said: “IBM wholeheartedly endorses the value of the Workplace

Equality Index. It allows participating organisations to get an independent assessment of their LGBT diversity policies and practices. It provides us with an incentive to improve and demonstrates that diversity is vital to our success”. Entry to the Index is free and open to all employers. The winners will be announced September 22nd. Full details of the Index are available at: http://www. workplaceequalityindex.ie” * Working It Out: Driving Business Excellence by Understanding the Experiences of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Workplace Experiences - McIntyre and Nixon, Trinity College Dublin 2014 (eile.ie 10/2/2015)


“The Workplace Equality Index launching today, is a critical way for employers to annually measure their efforts to tackle discrimination and create an inclusive workplace for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees.�

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Slovakia: Anti-LGBT Referendum Failed Due to Low Voter Turnout Low voter numbers in Slovakia yesterday, less than fifty percent, led to the failure to pass a referendum to amend the Slovakian Constitution. The amendments were to reinforce the existing same-sex marriage ban, prohibit samesex couples from adopting, and allow students not to attend classes discussing sex or euthanasia. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) welcomed the news, saying the amendments in themselves were harmful to the LGBT community. The HRC stated: “There is always a risk, as we have seen in other cases, that fundamental civil and human 124 EILE Magazine

rights of a minority can be removed or abridged by the will of the majority because of hatred towards that group. American anti-LGBT groups and individuals, including the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), supported the referendum. When Slovakia’s constitutional court was deciding the legality of holding the referendum, ADF provided legal support and filed an amicus brief to advocate in favor of it. With an annual budget of more than $45 million, ADF is one of the largest American organizations exporting anti-LGBT hate and bigotry abroad”. The amendments would have strengthened the 2014 ban on same-sex marriage, and also ban same-sex adoptions, although Slovakia has a high rate of orphaned children living in institutions, and so it would make sense to allow more of those children to be adopted by gay couples. According to the HRC: “Though an amendment to Slovakia’s constitution

banned same-sex marriage in 2014, this referendum was orchestrated in order to reinforce the constitutional change, as well as bar same-sex couples from adopting. The referendum asked voters to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, ban same-sex couples from adopting children, and make sex education and classes that discuss euthanasia non-compulsory. Initially the referendum included a question about the permissibility of samesex civil unions. Slovakia’s constitutional court rejected this question. Though the government does not officially recognize same-sex couples, the court ruled that civil unions are not a matter that can be adjudicated upon by a national referendum”. (eile.ie 8/2/2015)


Though the government does not officially recognize samesex couples, the court ruled that civil unions are not a matter that can be adjudicated upon by a national referendum�. EILE Magazine 125


UK: York LGBT History Month 2015 York LGBT History Month 2015 held thirty events from twenty different organisers. These included films, a play, variety nights, an exhibition, displays, a reading group, collaborative heritage events, a conference, discussion panels, talks and walks. Events were detailed in their programme, professionally designed by York resident Vlad Kuzmin. LGBT History Month is celebrated worldwide, and 2015 marked the tenth anniversary of the LGBT History Month campaign. York LGBT History Month may well be the only local LGBT History Month organisation in the UK. Last year saw the first ever collaborative LGBT History Month campaign in York, spearheaded by York St John University. This was a great success, and resulted in the establishment of an independent organisation called ‘York LGBT History Month’ to coordinate efforts in future years. Plans are also underway for school outreach work to explore LGBT history narratives within the framework of the existing curricula. Andy Law, Lead Coordinator, said: We [were] delighted to announce a diverse and exciting programme of events for 2015, offering a wide variety of ways for the public to engage with LGBT narratives. It’s great to have seen the number of groups, organisations and individuals involved double, showing a real drive in support of our aim to increase public awareness of the place of LGBT people in history. He added: Through bringing to light stories that might traditionally have been ignored, we seek to develop inclusivity, challenge stereotypes and promote understanding. Our school outreach initiative will serve to further reinforce the principle of inclusion at a key developmental stage.

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EILE Magazine 127


128 EILE Magazine

Profile for EILE Magazine

EILE Magazine – March 2015 (Vol2., Issue 10)  

The LGBT magazine, for those who want another view. Includes interviews with 'Raymond & Lane', Justin Utley, the Sound of Oz, Tiernan Brady...

EILE Magazine – March 2015 (Vol2., Issue 10)  

The LGBT magazine, for those who want another view. Includes interviews with 'Raymond & Lane', Justin Utley, the Sound of Oz, Tiernan Brady...