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Issue 241 January 2010 Free www.gcn.ie

Ford Focus

Tom’s big gay movie debut...

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the first word

DE FACTO FAMILY VERSUS SPERM DONOR. WHO IS RIGHT AND WHO IS WRONG?

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hen in April, 2008, in the High Court McD case, Justice John Hedigan ruled that a lesbian couple raising a child were a de facto family and entitled to the protection of their family rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, the gay community roundly applauded his decision. I, however, was in two minds about the whole thing. The background to this case involved considerable pain for all three adults involved - the lesbian couple who had their son with the help of a sperm donor, and the sperm donor who wanted access to his son and sought to injunct the couple from moving to Australia for a year with the baby. Justice Hedigan ruled that the father was not entitled to guardianship, and that his having access to the child would disrupt the family life of the de facto family. I am a father. When my son was born everything changed. I had never experienced the kind of love I felt before he was born, a love that altered my entire outlook on life. So I understand that for all three adults involved in the McD case, the world changed when their baby was born. The lesbian couple wanted to lovingly bring up their child in their own settled family. The biological father found that he needed more contact with his son than any of the three had anticipated. When Justice Hedigan made his ruling I was struck by the juxtaposition of the phrases ‘de facto family’ and ‘sperm donor’. One phrase sought to recognise and in a way, humanise same-sex parents and their families, something that’s keenly missing from most rhetoric around the issue, while the other utterly de-humanised the man who donated his sperm to the couple so they could make a family. This man was not a person who went into a sperm bank and anonymously donated his semen, he was known to the couple and they had formed a personal relationship that involved human emotion. Now that the Supreme Court has overturned the High Court decision, that juxtaposition has been reversed. De facto same-sex parented families are no longer recognised and the rights of the sperm donor as a father have been given legal footing. On December 3, a week before the Supreme Court decision, our Government debated the Civil Partnerships Bill. The Bill is at second stage, which means it will most likely be introduced early next year. As it was being debated in the Dáil, outside there was as flash protest of approximately 300 LGBT people who rightly want equality with heterosexual couples in the form of full marriage rights. But at this point in time it seems very unlikely that this will happen. Citing impediments to the Irish Constitution, civil partnerships are what the Government will give us right now, whether we like it or not. In the light of the Justice Denham’s ruling,

the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) repeated their call for the government to address the gap in the Civil Partnership Bill that leaves the children being parented by same sex couples legally unrecognised. Although right wing commentators such as David Quinn of the Iona Institute may have used the ruling to call for regulation of “the Assisted Human Reproduction industry” in a way that is “fully child-centred” (which is another way of saying that same-sex couples should be denied the right to have children), the truth is that same-sex couples will go on having children in greater and greater numbers. Brenda Power, amid plaintive cries that she was bullied by the gay community last summer when she suggested a woman might rather abort a child than have it brought up by the likes of Rory O’Neill (aka Miss Panti), responded to the Supreme Court judgement by divisively saying that same-sex couples can never both be biological parents and calling the gay marriage campaign an “illogical proposal that same-sex ‘parenthood’ is identical to a procreative union”. Parenthood, however, is parenthood, no matter what the permutation. Does Power think that heterosexual couples who adopt non-biologically related children are illogical parents? I don’t think so. She asserts that a campaign to recognise the rights of same-sex couples who have children does not put the welfare of children first, but she’s entirely wrong. The campaign for the recognition of same-sex parented families is absolutely about the welfare of children who are being brought into the world by gay and lesbian couples every day, whether Brenda likes it or not. Those children are currenty at a disadvantage under Irish law. The child at the centre of the McD case is vulnerable. However legislation to protect him is not as simple as the inclusion of the rights of samesex parented children in the Civil Partnerships Bill. When my child was born his mother decided to move back to Ireland from abroad, where we were settled. I respected her choice and made my own decision to leave my job and home and come back to Ireland too, so I could be a father to my child. When I came back, she facilitated my parenthood in every possible way and my son grew up in two loving families, with his mother and stepfather, and with me. How do you legislate for people to make grownup decisions about the welfare of children? I’m not sure if it’s possible. The three adults at the centre of the McD case now find themselves back at square one, despite the considerable anguish and expense of mounting and defending High and Supreme Court cases. However, using their case as evidence that the rights of same-sex parented families should be denied is a mistake. The bottom line is that we do create families and if our society can’t grow to accommodate that, our children will always be vulnerable.

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WE got mail Homophobic Harassment Dear Editor, Anyone who thinks that the city of Dublin is a bubble where gay people live without fear of harassment should have been with me on South Great George’s Street last Saturday night at 2.30am, around the time I left The George. The street was teaming with drunk people and the atmosphere was like one big party. I was in a party mood myself until three guys spotted me coming out of the alleyway beside the George and started heckling me, calling me an “arse bandit” and threatening to “get” me because I was a “dirty faggot”. I kept my head down and walked in the direction of Aungier Street with them still shouting insults after me. For the first time in several years I felt real fear that my safety was compromised because I am a gay man. It did not end there. On approaching the Dragon I saw that there was a throng of people all standing outside and chatting, all patrons of that pub. They too were in a drunken party mood and I said hello to a few people I know as I passed through the crowd. Two seconds later I was being harassed for being a “fucking queer” by a pair of guys in tracksuits who told me that I “love to take it up the arse” and some other choice things. Again, I was really scared, although these guys just nudged each other in merriment and continued on their way. Is this a sudden rise in anti-gay presence on George’s Street or was I just unlucky? I hardly ever go out on weekend nights, so I don’t know. If anyone else has had similar experiences, I would urge them to share their stories. I can’t imagine these are isolated incidents. To add to the problem, I did not see one member of the Garda Siochána on the street. Surely at a time when the pubs are being let out, on a street where there are two massive gay bars, there should be a solid police presence? The whole experience has put me off being out late at night near the bars that I like to frequent. I just don’t feel safe. I think it’s disgusting that I have to face this kind of harassment on a night out. We have fought long and hard for gay rights in this country. When is the rest of society going to catch up? Yours, Name and address withheld.

Garda Correction Dear Editor, In last month’s issue (Issue 240) you printed an article on G-Force, the support structure for Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Garda employees .

Send your letters to editor@gcn.ie or The Editor, GCN, Unit 2, Scarlet Row, Essex St West, Dublin 8. The opinions expressed on this page are not those of the NLGF or GCN. The Editor reserves the right to edit all correspondance.

I wish to correct the contact email address which was printed in the article. It should have read group42732@yahoo.com. Any inconvenience is regretted. Yours, Paul Franey, Secretary, G-Force

Burning Issues Dear Editor, Thank you for what was an illuminating article on gay (in)equality in Ireland last month (Issue 240), entitled ‘Burning Issues’. It left me very much surprised and certainly a little shocked by the findings of the National Lesbian and Gay Federation survey. I’ve always felt being gay or in any minority group grants you a innate awareness of issues of inequality in daily life but this was a keen and timely reminder that despite huge progress made over the last few years full equality is still a much sought after but rarely achieved goal. According to the survey there still seems to be huge difficulties faced in many people’s workplaces and daily lives with bullying and violence remaining and at the forefront of problems for many gay people and in particular younger gay people. I wash shocked and surprised because both bullying or violence are something I’ve luckily only rarely encountered but it obviously isn’t the case for a lot of people. At the moment there is so much national and international coverage for LGBT issues following the Civil Partnership Bill that I feel if we as a community are mindful and take action I think it may be a time where we can make a further leap forward for equality. The article truly did effect me, leaving me pondering the greater status of the LGBT community in Ireland beyond my own daily to day existence. Yours Sincerely, Owen, via email

Good Gay Gardaí Dear Editor, I rarely write to magazines, but I wanted to send the members of the Garda Siochána who were photographed in GCN this month (Issue 240) my appreciation for their efforts at changing the force from within. I have been a reader of GCN since the mid90s and in all that time I have never seen a photograph of a gay Garda in your pages. Once I read about the experiences of a closeted member of the force who would not be identified and his story was not a happy one. To see three out, proud and confident Gardaí photographed in Ireland’s gay community publication was a revelation. Their unashamed pride in themselves is a testament to how far this

country has come in a relatively short time and a message for all similar organisations in Ireland about the way forward. Congratulations to GCN for covering this story and to the Gardaí who set up the gay Garda support group and so generously represented their fellow LGBT members of the force in the pages of our community publication. Good on you! Yours, Niall Finnerton, via email

Unit 2, Scarlet Row, Essex Street West, Temple Bar, Dublin 8, Ireland. TEL: (01) 671 9076 / 671 0939 / 671 9325 FAX: (01) 671 3549 Email: info@gcn.ie www.gcn.ie Managing Editor: Brian Finnegan editor@gcn.ie Deputy Editor: Ciara McGrattan deputy@gcn.ie Advertising Manager: Conor Wilson conor@gcn.ie Advertising Assistant: Lorna Clancy advertising@gcn.ie Distribution Manager: Lisa Connell distribution@gcn.ie Design & Layout: Fionán Healy production@gcn.ie Fashion Editor: Noel Sutton Contributors: Ivana Bacik, Deborah Ballard, Conor Behan, Oein DeBhairduin, Declan Buckley, Tom Byrne, Paul Coffey, Sinéad Deegan, Brian Drinan, Neil Geraghty, Robert Hayes, Andrea Horan, Darren Kennedy, Will St Leger, Matt Matheson, Phillip McMahon, Sean Meehan, Louise Mitchell, Una Mullally, Mark O’Halloran, Ray O’Neill, Rory O’Neill, Jeanette Rehnstrom Photography: Peter Fingleton, Sean Meehan Publishers: National Lesbian and Gay Federation Ltd. NLGF Ltd is a not for profit company limited by guarantee. Reg. Co. No: 322162 CHY No: 12070 NLGF Board: Ailbhe Smyth (Chair), Sean Denyer, Orla Howard, Stephen Jacques, Richard Lucey, Patrick Lynch, Olivia McEvoy, Ciaran O’Hultachain, Neil Ward GCN Advertising Policy Gay Community News (GCN) does not necessarily endorse the quality of services offered by its advertisers. All ad copy must comply with the code of practice of the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland and GCN reserves the right to edit or refuse adverts if they do not comply with this code. GCN does not accept liability for any loss or damage caused by an error or inaccuracy in the printing of any advertisement. The placing of an order or contract will be deemed an acceptance of these conditions. The ideas and opinions expressed in any article or advertisement are not necessarily those of GCN. Don’t make assumptions about somebody’s sexual orientation just because we print their name or picture. Publication of any material is at the discretion of the publishers, who reserve the right to withhold, edit or comment on any such matter. Permission must be obtained prior to the reproduction of material published in GCN. We welcome submissions but cannot guarantee publication. If you are submitting on a professional basis and expect payment, you must clearly state this fact. We do not guarantee return of manuscripts or illustrations; so do keep an original copy. GCN’s list of subscribers is not given, sold, rented or leased to any person or organisation for any reason. © Gay Community News December 2009 The total average distribution of GCN as certified by the Audit Bureau of Circulation for the period Jan – Dec 2008 was 11,074 per issue.

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PRo:log/community

Taken at the Noise Flash Action outside the Dáil on December 3. Photo by Fionn Kidney

Civil Partnerships Bill: The Reactions On Thursday, December 3, the Civil Partnerships Bill was introduced and debated in the Dáil. The Bill, in its second phase, is expected to be enacted in early 2010. Its introduction was greeted with mixed reactions.

T

he direct action marriage equality group, LGBT Noise held a protest against the Civil Partnerships Bill in front of the Dáil as it was being debated, to which 300 supporters turned up. Speaking at the event were Noise Organiser, Dr Mark McCarron, Ailbhe Smyth of the National Lesbian and Gay Federation (NLGF), Moninne Griffith, MarriagEquality Coordinator and Senator David Norris. Noise Organiser, Liam Connolly said: “If this Civil Partnership Bill becomes law it will force gay couples to participate in their own discrimination and the children of same-sex couples will remain vulnerable. The gay community should not be punished for their sexual orientation by being offered this second-class bill.” Senator Norris criticised the Catholic Church and right-wing religious groups for their campaign against basic forms of legal recognition for same-sex couples and the amendment they are seeking, allowing them to

opt out of recognising civil partnerships on the grounds of Christian conscience. “Civil Partnership creates a second-class citizenship for people like me,” he said. “There are hard-line right-wing groups and their allies in the Oireachtas currently working against us. We need to keep visible, keep angry and let them know we are not going away until we have full equality.” The MarriagEquality group issued a letter to An Taoiseach Brian Cowen, urging that he intervene so that the proposed Civil Partnership legislation be upgraded to legislation that would give equal civil marriage rights to same-sex couples. Moninne Griffith, Director of MarriagEquality said: “Civil partnership is a limited legal recognition of same-sex relationships. It does not grant family status to a couple, and leaves children with same-sex parents in an appalling position. We are saying the bill is not enough and the Government must acknowledge this and provide for civil marriage rights for lesbian and gay families now.’’ Publishers of GCN, the National Lesbian And Gay Federation (NLGF) called the legislation

“flawed”. NLGF Chair, Ailbhe Smyth, said, “To ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people are treated equally in Ireland, the Government must move to provide equality by legislating for Civil Marriage. “Currently LGBT people experience exploitation, harassment and violence on a daily basis. Civil partnership will fuel such anti-gay sentiments by signalling: ‘Yes, you are different’. The Government must admit that provision of Civil Partnership as the only relationship recognition option for LGBT people is a serious mistake.” The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) also called on the Government to amend shortcomings in the Civil Partnership Bill. “The implementation of this bill will only serve to enshrine in law the second class citizenship of LGBT people in this country. It is wholly unfair and sends out the message that gay people in Ireland are not equal to their heterosexual counterparts,” said USI LGBT Rights Officer, Laura Finlay. Among the TD’s debating the Bill on December 3 were the Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Dermot Ahern TD (Fianna Fáil), Charles Flanagan TD (Fine Gael), Brendan Howlin TD (Labour), Ciarán Cuffe TD (Green Party), Paul Gogarty TD (Green Party) and Catherine Byrne TD (Fine Gael). The majority of TD’s present said the Bill was a step in the right direction but acknowledged that it did not go far enough. Dermot Ahern TD said, “The Attorney General has advised in particular that to comply with the Constitution, it is necessary to differentiate the recognition being accorded to same-sex couples who register their partnership with the special recognition accorded under the Constitution to persons of the opposite sex who marry.” In his speech at the Noise protest Dr Mark McCarron said, “We stand here today at Dáil Éireann, where our legislators should be guided by the principles of our constitution, ‘All citizens shall, as human persons, be held equal before the law’ yet where a law is being discussed that relegates a whole population of Irish people to a secondclass citizenship.” At a press conference earlier that day, Director of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, Kieran Rose said, “A critical omission in the Bill is the lack of legal support and recognition of the many children being parented by same-sex couples. GLEN strongly urges the Government to address this critical gap as the Bill is advanced through the Oireachtas.” GLEN also cited the conclusions of the Government’s Working Group on Domestic Partnership (the Colley Group) that only access to civil marriage would achieve equality of status with opposite sex couples, but added that, “This is a major civil rights reform that will resolve many immediate and pressing issues faced by lesbian and gay couples.” A full version of the debate can be read at www. kildarestreet.com

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Queer & Here by Jeanette Rehnstrom

Lina Schultz (19) from Germany “I was born in Potsdam, near Berlin, but during my childhood we moved around Germany a lot because my mother studied at different universities. Then she found love with an Irish man in an Irish pub, which led us here. In Ireland I became close to a girl in my class who seemed to be on the same wavelength as me and we started going out together at 14. We came out to our friends in class and school, and that was fine except for my best friend, who could not handle it. Then the summer came and my girlfriend and I finished. It was hard for her because I began another relationship with a guy and we were still in the same school, but we are good friends now. The worst homophobia in school came from a parent who decided to tell me and my girlfriend that we should be ashamed of ourselves, but it did not have any major effect on me. My mother identifies as straight yet has had two female partners, but this was never made an issue at home. Therefore coming out to my mother was very simple and short affair. I’ve never been fussed about whether I like boys or girls; either one seems fine with me, depending on the person. I want my sexuality to just be normal, not a big deal. In Germany people are more open about sex in general and the sexes are not as separated as they are here, as in school for example. However, there is a difference between the conservative, religious south of Germany and the more open north. I usually go back to Berlin for the summer and Christmas, but it is a family affair which means that I do not really take part in the gay scene. I’m studying Film and TV production now and as to where I live in the future, I guess that will be steered by work in many ways.

Bereavement guide for same-sex partners released On December 8, radio broadcaster Marian Finucane and bereaved gay man, Richard Lewis launched a guide entiled Coping with the Death of Your Same Sex Partner which was produced by the Irish Hospice Foundation and the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN). A recent study funded by the Irish Hospice Foundation found that while many lesbian and gay couples were respectfully treated, health care professionals could be complicit in reinforcing invisibility. “The surviving partner in a same-sex relationship is not always given the care and support that might be afforded to widow or widower,” says Dr Susan

Delaney, Bereavement Services Manager at the Irish Hospice Foundation. “I look forward to the day when we come together as a community and support all our members in their loss, regardless of gender, creed, ethnicity or age.” The guide offers advice and support to the bereaved on the death of their same-sex partner. The key message is that lesbian and gay grief is the same as heterosexual grief, and that lesbian and gay people who have lost their partner need the same support as everyone else. “Many lesbian and gay couples in committed lifelong relationships have the support of family and friends. Others however do not enjoy the same support or acceptance, and their relationship may be hidden or invisible to others,” says Odhrán Allen, Director of Mental Health at GLEN. “Often, the relationship is not recognised, the loss is not recognised and the griever is not recognised. This has led to lifelong partners sitting at the back of the church, unacknowledged, unsupported and alone. “It is important to acknowledge the unique challenges and difficulties facing the surviving partner of a same-sex relationship.” A PDF version of Coping with the Death of Your Same Sex Partner can be downloaded from www.glen.ie

community The Wet and Wild LGBT outdoors pursuits group have organised a youth hostelling weekend in Cong Co Mayo to take place either the weekend of Jan 29 to 31 or February 5 to 7, depending on which is the most popular weekend with the group. Situated on Lough Corrib, the hostel has two, four, six and eight-bed dorms and self-catering facilities and is close to the Twelve Pins Mountains. Activities to choose from over the weekend will include beginner and intermediate kayaking, hiking, cycling, rock climbing, orienteering, horse riding and golf. If you would like to join the Wet and Wild Group and are interested in going on the weekend, email wetandwildclub@gmail.com

If you live in Ireland, are lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans and were born and grew up in a different country, we would like to hear about your experiences. Email editor@gcn.ie for details. www.GCN.ie 7

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PRo:log/community

Sports Gay

So, it’s finally here, after much waiting, false starts, delays and roadblocks. The Government’s Civil Partnerships Bill (CPB) is up in front of the Houses of the Oireachtas this month, for debate, amendment and adoption. The Bill is at second stage debate, which means it has to be read to the house, looked at by the relevant parliamentary committees and submitted to potential amendments. As well as the Bill itself, the process will involve amending the relevant sections of the tax and hereditary law codes so as to make provision for the new civil partnerships that the Bill will introduce. As with all Government bills, the CPB faces virtually no chance of not passing and even opposition amendment proposals are likely only to attempt to strengthen the proposals, considering all the opposition parties support the measures contained and, if anything, wish to see it go further. Thanks to the huge social changes Ireland has gone through since 1994, we are unlikely to see anything like the homophobic contributions from FG and FF members that marred the decriminalisation debate. Opposition will be considerably more subtle and will probably be focused in the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party, especially that coterie of ‘traditionalist’ Senators organised around Senator Jim Walsh, who let their misguided feelings on the threat to the ‘traditional family’ be known.

Nikki Symmons: Irish Hockey Team

“I got involved with hockey through my mum, when I was young. She used to play and apparently I used to play on the sidelines when I was about 4! I started playing properly in Secondary School. I played a lot of tennis but I got fed up with it because it was too individual. I prefer team sports. Its much more fun. I got the call-up for the Ireland International Squad when I was about 17. I trained hard and got my first cap, but then it was difficult for a couple of years. I couldn’t break into the team because the coach was very strict. I remember going home to my parents after training and bawling, going, ‘this is awful’. So I thought ‘I’m going show her I can make it’. She had no excuses, except that maybe she thought I wasn’t as good at hockey, but that came in time. Then she picked me and that was it. The Irish Team is 14th in the world. We just came fifth in Europe and just missed out on a place in the World Cup. We’re very close but we’ve still got a little bit to go. My club won the All Ireland League last year so we’re going to Europe this coming season. Even if you’re not on the first team, you can still come along as a supporter - we have bus-loads of supporters coming with us. There’s definitely a lot of loyalty and support. Because I’m a senior player now I have to watch my language - that’s a bit of pressure because I’m quite vocal! Apart from that, if you’re in a club and you’re going through a hard time, you always have someone to talk to. It’s almost like a family.

“I got the call-up for the Ireland International Squad when I was about 17.”

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Northern Exposure with the Rainbow project On Tuesday December 1, The Rainbow Project held a one-day World AIDS Day conference at The City Hotel in Derry, followed by a civic reception in the City’s Guildhall, hosted by the Mayor of Derry, Councillor Paul Fleming. Amongst the speakers that addressed the 160-strong audience were James Locke from the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF), The Mayor, Paul Fleming, Director of The Rainbow Project, Mirjam Bader, The Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Rev Ken Good and The Director of SEEDs. The event, entitled ‘The Silence is Deafening’, dedicated to the work of the late Noel Walsh of GCN and Robert Key of the EJAF, showcased the interruptions to silence made by The Rainbow Project over the past 15 years

as well as highlighting the efforts of the Stamp out Stigma campaign. On Thursday December 10 the first Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) Centre, based at 9-13 Waring Street, Belfast, was officially opened by Belfast Lord Mayor Cllr Naomi Long MLA. The Centre houses Cara-Friend, The Rainbow Project and Lesbian Advocacy Services. The development of the centre is a major achievement for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Sector in Belfast and will enable the community to increase partnership working, share resources, provide more support to individual LGBT people, raise the profile of same-sex attracted people and work towards improving good relations between people of different sexual orientations. This centre has been developed for all same sex attracted people in the wider Belfast area. For more details of services available as well as upcoming events please visit www.rainbow-project.org

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PRo:log/community

THE QUEEN’S SPEECH

A Christmas message from our reigning monarch

A

s I write this, my dog Penny and I have just celebrated our one-year anniversary (Belatedly. I forgot on the day itself, but I don’t feel too bad because Penny forgot too, and anyway, we’re still very much in love) and over our bowls of champagne, Penny looked at me and said, “Well that was a very gay year!” And as usual, she’s right. The last year has been remarkable for gay people in this country, and all things considered, it’s been magnificent. A year when we considered who we are and what it is we want; a year when we took stock, and stood up for ourselves; a year when we debated, not just with the forces of conservatism arrayed against us, but among ourselves, as we tried to reach a consensus on the best way forward. If you’d have told me five years ago that 2009 would see a re-energised gay community taking to the streets in their thousands, young people agitating for equality, new pressure groups emerging, gays and lesbians standing for public office, our rights agenda at the forefront of mainstream media discourse, our Pride celebrations at the centre of a storm in a media tea cup, GAA stars coming out, a touching and dignified response to the tragic death of a young gay pop star, and all against the background of a Civil Partnership Bill being introduced to the Dáil, I’d have told you to lay off the sauce and save some for Mommy. 2009 has made me proud to be a member of the gay community in a way I haven’t felt since homosexuality was decriminalised in 1993. Shockingly recently of course, but how far we’ve come since then! When I first came out in the late ‘80s, just finding other gays was a task worthy of Jessica Fletcher, which involved scouring the back pages of Hot Press magazine and following the rumours to discrete bars behind discrete doors. And discretion has never been my strong suit! Today, our community is vibrant, colourful, flooded with light behind plate glass windows, and filled with young people who’s grannies told them where The George is. And we are a community. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Being a community doesn’t mean we always agree with each other, or always get along. I come from a small community in Co Mayo and feuds and disagreements are par for the course, but so too is the sense of belonging and shared purpose that was so evident and powerful at the various Pride celebrations around the country, and at the March For Marriage in Dublin. Not, of course, that it’s all rosy in the gay garden. Bigotry and ignorance still abound, and the comfortable gay bubble I live in can be burst when I least expect it. Only yesterday a young man on the street, displaying a remarkable talent for astute observation, informed me that I

was a “faggot���. Apparently my “big gay jumper” was the give-away. I’m not sure what was more surprising: discovering that cream v-necks were big and gay or the fact that I was getting sartorial criticism from someone in a shell-suit. A shell-suit! In 2009? But it’s the bigotry dressed up in less offensive daywear that’s more dangerous. Earlier in the year a well-known journalist suggested on national radio (while calling for the continuation of our discrimination) that my very existence would encourage young women to have abortions rather than give

“All things considered, it’s been a magnificent year for gay people in this country.” their children up for adoption, lest their baby end up with “Miss Panti and his boyfriend”. A remark for which I forgave her because of the optimistic view it displayed of my love-life, which is in reality, a vast, barren wasteland only occasionally punctuated by a drunk GAA supporter up for the match. And of course bigotry can organise better than it can dress. The Neanderthals of the Iona Institute and their reactionary ilk are still hellbent (see what I did there, you hell-bound benders?) on thwarting our campaign for equality of respect, but the natural optimist in me (or maybe it’s just the booze) sees their increasingly shrill and ineffective parries as the death throes of a dying ideology, and I for one am looking forward to the wake. And for once I don’t have to agonise over what to wear! I’ve already sent my cream v-neck to the dry cleaners. I may be overstating things, but I suspect that we will look back on 2009 as a watershed year for our community. A year when we found our voice again and pushed forward. Ireland has seen remarkable changes since homosexuality was decriminalised only 17 years ago, and more remarkable changes are still possible. I certainly hope so. No. I know so. So, whether you’re spending your holiday with your first family or your gay family (your biological family or your logical family), I hope you have a good one. You deserve it. It’s been a good year.

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PRo:log/stuff

HOMO TRUTHS By Jeanette Rehnstrom

Christine Graham (27) from Portlaoise I always knew that I was gay but I didn’t deal with it until I moved out of Portlaoise to go to college. It was difficult in school always knowing that I was different. I had no idea of other gay people save for an older gay uncle who lived in Galway. I met my partner in Carlow. She moved into the place that I was sharing with other college people. We hit it off like a house on fire and six months later I realised what I would have to do. We’ve been together for nine years now. I never joined any LGBT groups at college. I never really got around to it somehow, but I did go out on the scene. I told my family when I was 18. It was a huge deal and it did not turn out to be the smoothest time in my life. My mother had a really hard time with it. Although she was coming around to the idea, unfortunately she passed away before things were fully resolved. I never really had any negative feedback from any of my friends in Portlaoise. Returning to Portlaoise, there wasn’t much going on as far as a gay life goes, but then again I have never really had any negative experiences in the town either. Myself and my partner have a house in Portlaoise now and life is very much run of the mill. The neighbours and the neighbourhood are all okay. I wouldn’t hold hands walking down the main street or anything, but I am more or less open. People can be a bit pervy, though, and I’ve had that kind of attention on a number of occasions. We recently had a Mardi Gras night in the Sky Venue, which was our very first event here in town. It was a huge success with a mixed crowd of about 100 people attending. People came from all over the countryside, as well as Kilkenny, Waterford, Dublin and Kildare. Another event is planned for December 19, but this time it might be held in the rugby club instead. Hopefully we’ll get an even bigger crowd, and if it continues to be a success the events will be able to continue. For more information on gay events in Portlaoise, visit www.lgbtlaois.com or call 085 841 4560

YAYORNAY THE

YN YY YY

Twilight New Moon Mariah Back Again Veda’s Stars Edge Christmas Colin and Justin Susan Boyle

YAY 56% YAY 23% YAY 82% YAY 92% YAY 52% YAY 61%

NAY 44% NAY 77% NAY 18% NAY 8% NAY 48% NAY 49%

BIG KISSOUT

The challenge has been mounted. Is it possible to get over 1 million people across the world kissing members of the same sex this coming New Year’s Eve? A new facebook group is intent on showing the world that same-sex public displays of affection are more than okay, they’re to be celebrated. They are asking gay people in every corner of the globe to find someone of the same sex and lock lips just as the clock strikes 12 and ends the noughties. Open-minded straight people are more than welcome to join in too. It’s time to come out in a big way. No more “in the privacy of your own homes, please” nonsense. We’re here and our lips are ready for some juicy kissing. International Kiss a Member of the Same Sex Day, Jan 1, 2010, search facebook under the event title to become part of the movement

TEN THINGS/JANUARY JANUARY 2 SISTER SLEDGE Altogether now, “We are family!” Boogie down with the Sledge sorority at Tripod, ticketmaster.ie JANUARY 2 -4 THE WIZARD OF OZ Trip down the yellow brick road with Dorothy and her friends at the National Concert Hall, www.nch.ie JANUARY 6 ABBA REVIVAL Release your inner dancing queen at the Cork Opera House, www.corkoperahouse.ie JANUARY 12 HENRY ROLLINS Massively muscular civil rights activist Henry Rollins (swoon!) plays Vicar Street, ticketmaster.ie JANUARY 16 PAUL POTTS Britain’s Got Talent winner (not the Cambodian dictator), Paul Potts takes to the Olympia stage

JANUARY 19-24 STOMP A combination of theatre, dance, comedy, percussion and hot, scantily-clad lads at Belfast Waterfront, www.ticketmaster.ie JANUARY 20-31 WE WILL ROCK YOU Musical featuring the works of rock gods Queen. It’s champion! ticketmaster.ie JANUARY 20 KAREN EGAN Our Karen brings her brilliant show, La Charlatanne, to the National Concert Hall, www.nch.ie JANUARY 29 THE LOVELY BONES Peter Jackson’s eagerly-awaited movie from Alice Sebold’s hugely popular novel, nationwide release. JANUARY 29 MAEVE HIGGINS Fancy Vittles funny gal brings her one-woman show to the Axis in Ballymun.Yum! Tickets from www. axis-ballymum.ie

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PRo:log/scene

Scene & Herd Christmas parties galore across the isle... New Years Balls in Cork... Bank Holiday Bukkake... Shirley and the meaning of Christmas...

There are more things to do on the scene than you could shake a cracker at this Crimbo! First up is Christmas Kiss at The Tivoli Theatre on December 18 with a Coors Light preparty promotion in the Front Lounge from 9pm. A special Christmas Karaoke kicks the celebrations off in The Front Lounge on December 22, which will be followed by Gerry Moore playing your favourite hits late on the 23rd. There’s no cover charge for the Flounge’s New Years Eve Party, which will have DJ Terry Coulighan playing for the gay side. Prhomo’s Christmas Wednesday is December 23 at BaseBar on Dublin’s Wicklow Street from 10.30pm, with fee cocktails to the first 50 in the door served by topless elves. Disgustingly good! Shirley and the Search for the Meaning of Christmas features all your favourite queens at The George on December 20. It’s part of a huge line up for the holidays at The G, including theatre nights (Dec 21), The G-Spot debate (Dec 22) two special Space ‘n’ Veda nights (23 & 30), Stephen’s night Beauty Spot Karaoke and a Pretty in Pink New Year’s Eve party with Davina. Meanwhile at Dragon the Spice White Christmas Party revs it up on December 23 and DJ Paddy Scahill will be mixing it up Yule-style on Stephen’s Day. DJ Karen will be

chooning-up at Dragon’s Ultimate New Year’s Eve Party. Bank Holiday Sunday, December 27 sees the return of Bukkake at Temple Bar’s Purty Kitchen featuring April and Davina doing their disco thing downstairs, Paddy Scahill with his bits out upstairs and Rocky T Delgado pumping it out on the roof terrace. It’s free before 10pm, people! Pantibar is flying down to Rio for its New Year’s Eve Party in the company of Brazil’s very own Twiggy. Her countdown party promises to ring in 2010 in crazy-queen style! Down south there’s a special Bubble Christmas Party at The Forum in Waterford on December 29, with DJ Shaz playing up a storm, while there’s Christmas Eve drinks in both Loafers and Instinct in Cork on December 24. Instinct in Kilkenny features The Kylie Experience spinning around on St Stephen’s Day. New Year’s Eve in Cork is packed to the rafters with balls, including a Masquerade Ball at Rubys, a Snow Ball at Flux, a Black and White Ball at Loafers and another Masquerade Ball at Freakscene. Instinct have a good old New Year’s Eve Disco into the wee small hours with DJ Jules. Into January, for all you dance music fans, Salt returns to Twisted Pepper on Dublin’s middleAbbey Street on January 13 and 17. Smart!

EVENT Ladies with an attitude, fellas that are in the mood! Don’t just stand there, let’s get to it. Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it. Especially at Dragon’s new Bank Holiday night for girls and their guy friends, MINX, which gives the Christmas season some extra-needed spice. Brought to you by Lava Productions, MINX features DJ Ruth tripping the night fantastic with the latest chart, pop, dance and commercial sounds. The whole kit and caboodle kicks off at Dragon on December 27 at 10pm and entry is €7 or €5 with valid Student ID.

Pick It!

Basebar

every thursday gay & lesbian night

Disco Inferno Well, time travel is impossible, but Pod 54 on December 31 at The Chocolate Bar will be the next best thing. Central to the whole experience is Rockeroke. The concept is simple. You choose what you want to sing, then join the full band live on stage to belt it out like a true, hedonistic 70s disco star, complete with projected lyrics to help you along. David De Valera follows that up with some superb electro fabulousness and then SuperSuperDisco, an eclectic mix of all the songs you love best will help you count down into the 20s in fine style! Early bird tickets are available for €15 from ticketmaster or the 24hour Hotline: 0818 719300.

doors 10:30pm €5 (student ID) / €7 roar, govt id, over 18s

sambuca shot €2 tequilla shot €2 apple sour shot €2 pint guinness €3 pint budweiser €3 pint heineken €3 pint carlsberg €3 coors/heineken btl €3 alcopops €3 glass of prosecco €4 vodka & energy €4 vodka & coke €4 vodka & 7up €4 rum & coke €4.50 gin & tonic €4.50 select cocktails €5

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snapped

Were at the gig and don’t see your photograph on these pages? Visit www.gcn.ie for the full shoot!

ABSOLUT VODKA UNIVERSITY Pantibar, December 8 Photos by Peter Fingleton

FRIENDS FOR FRIENDS LUNCH The Conrad Hotel, December 5 Photos by Sean Meehan 12 WWW.GCN.IE

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PRo:log/sounds

Sound Bytes On MiPod Conor Behan looks back on the sounds of 2009 The music industry couldn’t escape the doom and gloom this year with less albums being sold and more trouble predicted. But the wealth of new artists, big tunes and exciting albums that flew our way in the last 12 months make it hard to focus on that. Proof, if any was needed, that music wins out every time. U2, Mariah Carey and Muse (to name a few) all unleashed new albums to varying degrees of success. Faring best was Whitney Houston who used I Look To You to mount a comeback many never thought possible. Michael Jackson’s death also led to a surge of interest in his extensive back catalogue. Established stars reminded us of their influence all year. Beyonce, not content with eating up 2008 with Single Ladies, took over 2009 with a string of huge hits, not least Halo, an epic ballad that cemented her status as the biggest diva of the noughties. The Black Eyed Peas returned with some of the most successful pop tracks of the year. As we go to press I Got A Feeling is the biggest selling single of 2009, having topped the Irish charts for 12 weeks and becoming the inescapable hit of the year. Not far behind however is the breakout star of the year, Lady Gaga. Poker Face and Just Dance were the first big hits of 2009 and set a precedent for the rest of the year with a string of pop gems in her wake. With exciting tunes and a visual flair sorely missing from planet pop for ages, Gaga made that ‘New Madonna’ label seem perfectly plausible. That was just the tip of the pop iceberg. This year also saw Little Boots vs La Roux, Lily Allen release her triumphant second album It’s Not Me, It’s You, David Guetta and Calvin Harris bringing the pop and dance world together to great success, The XX providing the indie kids with a new obsession of choice while Florence and The Machine found critical and commercial success with the spellbinding Lungs. Gossip did the major label album thing with aplomb in Music For Men. And on the other side of the coin The X Factor ate up the charts with Cheryl Cole, Alexandra Burke and JLS bagging huge hits and that was before Joe McElderry won and hit the top with a cover of Miley Cyrus’ hit, The Climb..

Maree Smyth, Promoter of Cake

1. Overpowered - Róisín Murphy We wanted to have a mix of everything for Cake and Róisín Murphy is someone who gets everyone on the dancefloor. Overpowered is always on our playlist and if I hear it at any other club, I’m up and dancing immediately. I love her outrageous outfits and the way she expresses herself. She isn’t afraid to be herself and her music stands out from everything else. In a world where pop stars come and go, Róisín has lasting power. That’s because she’s unique from her fingertips to her fabulous hairstyles. 2. Standing in The Way of Control - Gossip It’s one of those songs that brings people together on the dancefloor, creating a collective vibe. Beth Ditto is a fantastic performer and she always puts on a great show. She has one of those voices that can lend itself to any style of song, but when she’s rocking out like she does on Standing in the Way of Control, she’s at her very best. She’s the kind of woman I’d love to go out on the town with for a bit of crack!

3. I Gotta Feeling - The Black Eyed Peas This song puts the cherry on the top of any night out dancing for me. Fergie is one of my icons, she’s stylish, outspoken and she knows how to get down. I love everything the Black Eyed Peas do and I Gotta Feeling is the song I always put on before I go out to get me in the mood for dancing. Cake takes place monthly at The Academy, Middle Abbey Street, Dublin 1. To find out about forthcoming nights become a their friend on facebook

POP QUEEN CAT FIGHT red Corner: LADY GAGA

green corner: RHIANNA

A new album tacked onto a re-issue of her debut, The Fame Monster (Interscope) is a great end of year treat for any Gaga fan. You’ll already know the bonkers lead single Bad Romance but there are more stunners laced throughout. Alejandro is Ace of Base meets Madonna, Dance in the Dark’s disturbing lyrics meet pounding dance beats and Telephone sees Beyonce (!) and Gaga team up for one of the catchiest pop songs we’ve heard in ages. This might be a mini-album but it’s a fantastic piece of work and a must have. 9/10

After a blaze of publicity over the infamous Chris Brown incident, Rihanna returns with Rated R (Def Jam) an album that drips with emotion, some of it raw and some of it bitter. From tracks like Hard and The Wait Is Ova, which ooze hip-hop swagger, to moody but brilliant downtempo numbers like Russian Roulette, this is accomplished, powerful stuff. The undeniable highlight is Cold Case Love, a sweeping, grand ballad that stops you in your tracks on first listen. Rated R is a gutsy and powerful album and one that Rihanna will struggle to top. Well worth a listen. 8/10

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PRo:log/books

Quick and the Read 2009 has been a bumper year for books by Irish gay men. Could it be the beginning of a new trend? February saw the publication of Colm O’Gorman’s memoir of sexual abuse at the hands of Father Seán Fortune, Beyond Belief (Hodder & Stoughton, €13.99). Although the cover image had a whiff of the misery memoir about it, this was anything but. Instead it was a powerful and uplifting tale of one man taking on the might of the Catholic Church, who tried to turn a blind eye to the abuse of children. Former GCN Books Editor, Denis Kehoe’s Nights Beneath The Nation (Serpents Tail, €10.99) got a paperback release in July. A gay love story spanning five decades in Ireland, it follows Daniel Ryan as he returns home from New York exile to confront the ghosts of his past in 1950s Dublin. A beautifully written book, it hauntingly evokes gay life at a time when homosexuality wasn’t even acknowledged in Ireland. Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn (Viking, €17.99) had only a hint of lesbian action € in it, but in a GCN interview he said the book was deeply connected to his own sexual orientation. The tale of Eilis Lacey, who makes her way from Enniscorthy to New York in the early ‘50s, leaving behind a stiff Catholic society and encountering a new world before returning home again. The critics were divided, but it’s a quietly powerful book that dares to allow its central character to remain an enigma. Eibhear Walshe’s memoir of growing up gay in Waterford, Cissie’s Abattoir (The Collins Press, €9.99) is filtered through his relationship with his grandmother, Cissie Hamm, a woman he couldn’t tell apart from Lucille Ball when he was very small. It’s a warm and funny book that introduces a joyful character but doesn’t shirk from the difficulties and isolation experienced by

KILKENNY

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children growing up gay in Ireland of the ‘70s. Another memoir of the Irish gay experience in the ‘70s, Aodhan Madden’s Fear and Loathing in Dublin (Liberties Press, €15.99), explored the world of a drinking journalist for the Irish Press who finds himself in rehab and confronting his sexuality. Madden’s writes of his experiences coming to terms with himself against the backdrop of a very different Dublin to the one we know today with unflinching honesty and his book is a strong addition to the growing genre of Irish gay memoirs. A much more modern memoir of being a gay GAA player, Donal Óg Cusack’s matter-of-fact book, Come What May (Penguin Ireland, €15.99) may have sold by the bucket-load because of his newspaper revelations about his sexuality, but in essence it is a sports autobiography through and through, with some gay stuff on the side. It would have been good to get more background on what it was like to grow up gay in sporting circles, but having said that, this biography probably changed the lives of many gay sportspeople competing now and coming up through the ranks in Ireland. There was not so many books on the shelves from Irish lesbian authors in 2009, but Nicola Depuis’ Mná na hÉireann (Mercier Press, € €24.99) more thank makes up for the dearth by cataloguing the contributions made by women, both culturally and politically, in the shaping of modern Ireland. From Granuaile to Countess Markievicz, Nell McCafferty to Drs Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan the stories Depuis tells are inspirational and powerful and make for a perfect Christmas gift for the woman or more enlightened man in your life.

2

WATERFORD

CHRISTMAS EVE OPEN UNTIL 7PM CLOSED UNTIL 4PM STEPHENS DAY OPEN 7 DAYS, LATE BAR ON FRIDAY AND SATURDAY. PH: 051 879 631 EMAIL: DIGNITYBAR@GMAIL.COM

MiBook Bob Johnson, The Gutter Bookshop

We love recommending great reads in The Gutter Bookshop, and as an independent bookshop we’re proud to give our customers our own selection of the best books. My latest find is The Help by Kathryn Stockett. It’s an intelligent and informative novel about black maids working in Mississippi in the early 1960s, a time when racial segregation was becoming a major political and social issue. . Not only is this book a well-written pageturner, it also gives a great perspective on how a society that fails to recognise the equality of all its members is forced to change through the determination and activism of a few. Bob Johnston owns The Gutter Bookshop, Cow’s Lane, Temple Bar, Dublin 8

BOOK In the vein of the hugely popular Dieux De Stade books, Pedro Virgil’s stunningly produced Gods of Football is packed with sumptuously homoerotic photographs of hot footballers playing with their balls in all sorts of situations, usually stripped down to their Calvins or further. For those of you who like a classier kind of ‘stimulating’ coffee table book, you can’t do much better than this. Virgil has done shoots for Australia’s Next Top Model and Calvin Klien underwear campaigns, so he knows his oats. It’s all boys in the buff with a fashion editorial emphasis. At the moment the boys in the GCN offices have a favourite ‘page of the day’! Gods of Football by Pedro Virgil, Bruno Gmünder, €53.99

NEW YEARS EVE ‘A NIGHT WITH THE DIVAS’

LIVE TRIBUTE ACTS TINA TURNER, WHITNEY HOUSTON, DIANA ROSS & KYLIE. CHAMPAGNE RECEPTION & FINGER FOOD @ 9PM WWW.DIGNITYBAR.COM DIGNITY WATERFORD WWW.GCN.IE 15

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PRo:log/movies

Reel Juicy The year ahead is jammed-packed full of exciting cinematic releases and here’s some assistance in helping you sort the gay awesome from the awful! First up: Rob Marshall (who directed Chicago) returns to the big screen with another classic Broadway adaptation, Nine (December 26). The musical tells the story of world famous film director Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis) as he prepares his latest picture and balances the numerous women in his life, including his wife (Marion Cotillard), mistress (Penelope Cruz), a film star muse (Nicole Kidman), an American fashion journalist (Kate Hudson), the whore from his youth (Fergie), his confidant and costume designer (Judi Dench), and his deceased mother (Sophia Loren). Phew! Basically, he’s a man who likes to hang out with gay icons. What’s that all about? One to certainly watch is Precious by director Lee Daniels (January 29). Daniels (urban, black and gay: the minority trifecta!) knows what he’s selling. His films combine street-smart bravado with an art-house sensibility. Precious, the harrowing story of a 350-pound illiterate teenage girl who is pregnant for the second time by her father and horribly abused by her mother, is shot in an almost-documentary style interspersed with fantasy sequences and Mariah Carey playing a social worker, without make-up. When Precious’ plight lands her in a special school, she blossoms: the audience’s initial rejection of her, even repulsion at the sight of her undulating flab, slowly gives way to a kind of identification. Despite the fact that the film has been branded as exploitational “ghetto porn” by some critics, the

MiMovie Sean Munsanje

My favourite film of all time has to be True Romance. Written by Quentin Tarantino, it has all the great dialogue you’d expect with his usual dose of violence, but somehow leaves you with a smile on your face afterwards. It’s a love story about newlyweds on the run (one of which is an early ‘90s Christian Slater, which always helps) who accidently end up in a situation where they can get it all if they can just shake off some gangsters who want a stash of cocaine back. Even though they get beaten up and shot you still wish it was you on the run to the sun with your soulmate. Tony Scott directed True Romance and it isn’t just the greatest action film ever, it’s the greatest romance. Everytime I see it, I fall in love with it all over again. Sean Munsanje is the winner of TV3’s Total Xposure and currently presents Xposé on that channel, weekdays at 6pm

Oscar buzz around this film is as enormous as the star herself (just kidding, Precious!). Tom Ford, who graces our cover this month, enters the Hollywood fray with A Single Man (February 12), which follows a gay English professor (played by Colin Firth) who, after the sudden death of his partner tries to go about his typical day in Los Angeles, circa 1964. It’s super-stylish in the Mad Men mode and Ford has declared himself a directorial force to be reckoned with. 2009 was a difficult year for everyone involved with I Love You Philip Morris (February 14). All set for a summer outing, the film’s distributor held back the release of the movie, allegedly as a result of a saucy sex scene between leads Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor. The movie itself was inspired by the real-life exploits of con artist, impostor, and multiple prison escapee, Steven Jay Russell (played by Carrey). While incarcerated, Russell falls in love with his cellmate, Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor). After Morris is released from prison, Russell escapes four times in order to be reunited with him. Amusing trivia aside, this is yet another ‘unconventional’ love story, starring two straight blokes. Will it be any good? Drag your honey along on Valentine’s Day and find out! Also massively anticipated here at GCN towers is Sex and The City 2 (May 28). The first was hardly a masterpiece but it did satisfy that Carrie-shaped hole left in our lives after the rather unsatisfactory climax of the series. Though script details are a closely guarded secret, rumour has it that archrivals Stanford and Anthony get married and that none other than Liza Minnelli is set to perform at the wedding. Sounds too good to be true, but fingers crossed! Ciara McGrattan

DVD What do travelling ‘Country ‘n’ Anguish’ singer, Bernie Walsh, sexually confused Leitrim woman, Liz Hurley and raucous, straightshootin’ Shelia Chic have in common? They’re all Katherine Lynch, of course. The indefatigable Wonder Woman brought her cast of characters and her Diddy Diddy Dongo Tour to stage at Vicar Street this year, provoking the odd raised eyebrow, more embarrassed audience members than you could comfortably shake a stick at, and plenty of rolling in the aisles. Now you can experience the show in the comfort of your own home as Katherine Lynch Live hits the Christmas shelves. If you loved Katherine’s creations on TV, you’ll laugh even harder when you watch them live. Crude, lewd and hilarious, her girls are louder than ever with a few surprises in store! Katherine Lynch Live is out on DVD now, €22

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onetowatch

The Gay on Glee

I

t’s been the TV show on every gay’s lips for what seems like ages now, but the hit US musical comedy, Glee, has finally made its way to these shores on TV3. And what a queerfest it’s turned out to be! Story, for those of you who (sadly) haven’t seen it yet: New teacher at McKinley High School sets up Glee Club to stage musical numbers, attracting all the class underdogs and, surprisingly, the football jock. The series is rammed full of queer characters, but the one we love best is Kurt Hummel (as played by Chris Colfer), who we first met being bullied by the popular boys. Kurt is a self-proclaimed “fashion iconoclast”, who does a mean soprano version of Mr Cellophane from Chicago. Throughout the series you can watch Kurt come to terms with his sexuality, come out to his Dad, and dance with the football team to Beyoncé’s Single Ladies. It’s a take on gay teendom that High School Musical shamefully shied away from, the one a whole generation tried to find between the lines of The Kids From Fame. You can watch Kurt and all the Glee gang on TV3 from Wednesday, January 6

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interview

No’45 Alexander Rybak A few years ago when a crowd of heavy metalers dressed up as monsters won the Eurovision, Pat Kenny and I were beside ourselves with disappointment. Me and Pat always watch the Song Contest together at his place with popcorn and Margaritas and ever since the year Dana International won, which was when the Eurovision was at its glamorous peak, I’ve argued that there’s been a bit of a downward trend in the attractiveness stakes. So imagine my glee when Alexander Rybak won for Norway last year! He’s everything a Eurovision winner should be. Hot, hot and hot. Oh, and warbles a good tune too. As I said to Pat, when Alexander walked away with the show last May, “I wouldn’t throw him out of bed for eating Tayto, Pat.” It’s the way I tell ‘em! I was ragin’ that Pat had retired by the time Alexander appeared on the Late Late and that Tubridy got to grill him like a herring on a George Formby grill. Poor Alex looked shell shocked when I met him in the RTE Green Room afterwards. I took him aside and comforted him and as you can imagine, we’re NBF’s now. (New Best Friends, not the other thing.) Here’s the chance to eavesdrop on one of our recent chats: How did it feel when you won the Eurovision, Al? Well, does it sound cocky if I say it wasn’t much of a surprise? You can be cocky with me all you want. Do you ever get sick of singing the winning song? No, I feel lucky every time I sing it. People of all ages love it. Three year-old kids dance around to it, older people smile - you can see it in their eyes that they are reminded of their first love when I sing it. I was absolutely disgusted when I heard it was written for an old girlfriend. Did you tell her before you sang about her to millions of people? No, but I think she understood. It was in every newspaper! She said things to the newspapers, like she wanted to go out with me again. I was like, what? Apart from going out with girls, you also did Norway’s Pop Idol in 2005. That was many years ago. I really sucked!

And you didn’t win, did you? Boo, hiss! I was one of the semi-finalists and it gave me a taste for fame. I was very mediocre the judges didn’t say anything mean, but they weren’t really happy. The other thing I remember is that suddenly on my phone I got 500 messages from girls! Boo, hiss! I was very lucky in that I experienced fame in small doses before the crazy amount of attention winning the Eurovision got me. I was able to handle it better because of that. I read somewhere that you won an award for acting too. Yes I won a HEDDA, which is a Norwegian acting award, for my part in the musical Fiddler on the Roof. That was really strange because I don’t see myself as an actor. Not as a good one, anyway! I got the part after I won another talent competition in 2006. The director of the show created a special part just for me. I was one of the main characters. I didn’t have any lines; I was just singing dancing, playing and supposedly acting. Winning the award was like winning Wimbledon without a racket!

So, will you foist your bad acting on the world again, or are we safe for now? Actually, I’m in a new movie, a children’s movie, about a wandering child. I didn’t know this, but in the 1800s children were forced to wander around Norway to make money for their families. It’s a movie about that! It’s a really happy, feel-good movie. Sounds like a blast! Just like your new album. You like it? Did Pinocchio have wooden balls? It’s great that people like the album, that they want to hear me perform more songs other than Fairytale. I hope I can go on to make many more albums. And what about your classical career. Do you miss a good string section? No, I can do that whenever I want. It’s a very nice situation. I can just ask whatever orchestra I want to play with and they say ‘of course’. It means they’ll sell tickets. Oh, get away out of that, you cocky thing! Alexander Rybak’s album, Fairytales is out now, www.alexanderrybak.com

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SEASONS GREETINGS AND A SAFER SEXY 2010

R E M E M B E R TO W R A P I T ! JOYEUSES FÊTES, QUE 2010 SOIT SEXY ET VOUS PROTÈGE FELICES FIESTAS Y UN 2010 MÁS SEXY Y SEGURO NOLLAIG SHONA AGUS 2010 NÍOS SÁBHÁILTE AGUS NÍOS GNÉASAÍ FESTAS FELIZES E UM 2010 SEXY MAIS SEGURO 祝您拥���一个更加安全,更加性感的2010 年

Поздравляем Вас с праздниками и желаем безопасности и сексалности в 2010 году WESOŁYCH ŚWIĄT ORAZ BEZPIECZNIEJSZEGO I SEKSOWNEGO ROKU 2010 THE LAST STI CLINIC FOR 2009 IS WEDNESDAY 23 RD DECEMBER AND THE FIRST STI CLINIC FOR 2010 IS TUESDAY 5 TH JANUARY. ALL OTHER GMHS SERVICES WILL BE CLOSED FROM THE 23 RD DECEMBER 2009 TO THE 5 TH JANUARY 2010. WWW.GAYMENSHEALTHSERVICE.IE FOR SERVICE DETAILS REPORTS AND LINKS.

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What a Queer year!

We asked people from across the spectrum of Irish gay community, politics and culture to give us their top three moments of 2009. www.GCN.ie 21

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What a Queer year! COMMUNITY Brian Finnegan, GCN Editor The March for Marriage Although there has been much talk of division in the community on the issue of civil partnership versus civil marriage for same-sex couples, the March for Marriage which took place on Sunday, August 9 saw a sense of solidarity in the LGBT community that’s rarely been experienced in this country. The truth is that we all want the equality option, which is civil marriage, even if different groups see the journey towards that option in different ways. The newspapers estimated 5,000 but in reality, more than 7,000 LGBT people and their friends took to the streets of Dublin to demand equality for same-sex couples. It was one of the biggest civil rights marches this country has ever seen and a hugely historic moment in the Irish gay rights movement. The Burning Issues Survey Throughout much of 2009, the National Lesbian and Gay Federation conducted the largest ever survey of the LGBT community, assessing the issues that are chief on their minds. The results, published in October, confirmed that equality for same-sex couples under marriage law were of prime importance, but also pointed out that issues of equality in the workplace are something our gay rights organisations need to focus upon. Sterling work that continues to be done by BeLonG To and GLEN focuses on the welfare of young LGBT people in our schools, but we tend to forget that many gay people suffer discrimination and bullying in the workplace. Indeed, the GCN Readership Survey of 2007 found that over 51% of LGBT people feared the consequences of coming out in their jobs. The Burning Issues survey pointed out that this desperately needs to be addressed. Love Action at the Electric Picnic Every gay rights organisation working on the issues around same-sex partnership came together under the umbrella of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties to promote equality for LGB couples at this year’s Electric Picnic. The Love Action collective was made up of GCN, the NLGF, GLEN, MarriagEquality, LGBT Noise and the ICCL and the group worked at the Picnic to promote all loving relationships

and families regardless of sexuality or gender. Asking fellow picnickers to voice their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, they managed to get over 40,000 signatures on a petition to the government. POLITICS Senator Ivana Bacik The GALAS Top of my list was the night in September 2009 of the NLGF GALA Awards, held in the Radisson Hotel in Dublin where I was thrilled and delighted to receive the award for Gay-friendly Politician of the Year. Not only was it an immense honour, but it was also a very glamorous evening and a great opportunity to catch up with old friends. In particular, it was a privilege to be present when Katherine Zappone Ann Louise Gilligan received the top award of the night for their commitment to equality and their courage in taking their case on gay marriage rights. I am honoured to be involved in the case as junior counsel - it is due to be heard by the Supreme Court in 2010. The International Lesbian & Gay Federation Meeting The second best gay political moment for me was a meeting held in the Shelbourne hotel in August 2009, hosted by members of the Canadian bar and the International Lesbian and Gay Federation, where I was honoured to meet the people involved in changing the law in Canada to recognise samesex marriage there - pioneering lawyers who are delighted to help and support us in the Zappone Gilligan case here in Ireland. The Civil Partnership Train Finally, the introduction of the civil partnership legislation in the Dáil in December 2009 was very welcome as it represents the first attempt by the Government to give legal recognition to gay couples - but in failing to recognise same sex marriage, it falls far short of equality. My best moment was not the groundbreaking debate in the Dáil, but the moment in Connolly Station the following weekend when a small group of us, including my dear colleague Senator David Norris, stood together to welcome the arrival of the ‘civil partnership train’ from Belfast. To our surprise, we were shadowed by an even smaller group of hymn-singing homophobes. Many of the activists arriving off the train were delighted to see, lurking behind us, what they assumed to be our carol-singing gay comrades - until they read the religious messages on their placards! An amusing incident, but a useful reminder that dinosaurs still exist in Ireland. ART Will St Ledger, Artist Brian Cowen’s Y-fronts Conor Casby’s portrait of a naked

Brian Cowen clutching his Y fronts should have been a titillating news item about an art prank in a Dublin gallery. Yet the aftermath was a toecurling apology by RTÉ to the Taosieach and an Orwellian-like witch-hunt for the culprit. The story snowballed and before you could say, “He’s no oil painting”, ‘Cowen Gate’ became international news. What Casby’s art intervention demonstrated was a deep insecurity at the heart of Government and a real fear of descent from the man on the street. As Voltaire once said, “It’s dangerous to be right when the Government is wrong.” The Dublin Pride Film Shorts In recent years Dublin Pride has seen a dramatic surge in the quality of organisation, scope and choice. Pride believed that economic realities should not dictate creativity; in fact people become resourceful and imaginations flourish during hard times. Perfect then for Dublin Pride to announce the first Pride Film Shorts competition. Entries under the theme of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ ranged from animation, comedy to drama. Winners were presented awards by a respected judging panel comprising of Mark O’Halloran, Martina Niland and Barry Dignam. Fostering and encouraging filmmaking, especially among LGBT people, has never looked so good. Butcher Queers 3 Butcher Queers was born in out of necessity, taking its name from a H.A.M club flier in the ‘90s. Over-the-counter glossy gay media lacked political descent, editorial content was brand driven and the images of generic hunks with glistening six packs, seemed to reinforce a narcissistic view of gay people. In the words of Morrissey, “the music they constantly play, says nothing to me about my life”. Butcher Queers wanted an alternative magazine that dedicated all of its pages to art, photography, activism, creative writing, and culture of queers. And by queer it meant gay, lesbian, bi, trans and straight. Download Butcher Queers 3 from www.gcn.ie now MUSIC Una Mullally, Journalist and Club Promoter NYC Downlow at Glastonbury Trash City is the Mecca for gays at Glasto and it never fails to disappoint. I had a particularly raucous time there this year. Now, in fairness, I don’t remember much of it, but I think it was amazing. Any opportunity to dance like a crazy person in a surreal post-apocalyptic version of ‘70s disco factories with Johnny Woo, screaming drag queens, bears and dykes to Horsemeat Disco sounds is generally a very good thing. Even if memories are a bit fuzzy, there are photos to prove that my mates and myself rocked it - namely a shot of us crammed into an airplane’s jet engine. I think.

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Music For Men - Gossip Beth Ditto and co finally replicated the energy of Standing In The Way Of Control with Heavy Cross, and gays everywhere cheered. But it’s Love Long Distance that really does it for me. That awesome house piano riff and Ditto’s savage vocals - oh, and the endtro: “and I will thank you for your cooperation” - brilliant! Gossip are one of the only examples of a very gay band who have managed to enter into the credible mainstream amongst Indie fans everywhere while still hanging on to their punk roots. And Hannah Blilie is HAWT.

MILK A bit of an obvious one this but MILK is one of the most important gay-themed movies to emerge in the last decade. Whereas Brokeback Mountain may have proved our loves are as profound and natural as the beautiful mountain scenery it was shot against, MILK was a call to the barricades and I believe has radicalised and activated a new generation to the importance of equality. A fantastic performance from Sean Pen and a wonderful script from Dustin Lance Black make this a rousing and very moving experience. “I am here to recruit.” Essential.

“If we’re to believe everything we read in the papers, there was no need to change the gender references.” Johnson appeared tearful after the comments and the UK’s Media Regulator received 3,000 complaints about the incident, leading to speculation that Minogue would be fired from the show. After apologising, Minogue retained her position and even earned praise from gay groups for her readiness to address what she deemed as pointless changing of pronouns.

SoundCheck It may seem a bit wanky to include the club night that I run with my friend Fionn, but for me SoundCheck at Spy on Thursdays has been really important this year. We’re really proud of our polysexual crowd policy and personally I think it’s the only place in town where gay, straight and whatever can really organically mix. Our mission was always to avoid ghettoising a gay night, so I just love how it has grown to include regulars of every race, sexuality, musical persuasion and age. It takes gays out of gay bars, and puts straights amongst gays. It’s not a Utopia, sure, but it’s a fucking good time.

TELEVISION Chastity Pro Bono, Celebrity Blogger

To Be Straight With You - DV8 Dance Theatre The Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival (DTF) was awash with gay content in 2009. With home grown talent Broken Talkers leading the pack with Silver Stars, and my own THISISPOPBABY presenting A Woman in Progress, the DTF was a treat for theatre queens, lesbians and their straight mates. We were privileged to have the opportunity to catch DV8’s To Be Straight With You, a fearless investigation into the relationship between religion and sexuality in the UK, with a strong focus on the bigotry faced by gay Muslims within their own community. Powerful, moving and incredibly precise. Incredible stuff.

FILM Mark O’Halloran, Screenwriter and Actor Humpday Humpday is near enough the queerest thing you’ll see this year, even though it contains no gay characters. Instead it is the story of two straight male friends who, through a confluence of drunken stupidity and macho bullheadedness, find themselves in a situation where they have promised to have sex with each other on camera as an ‘art’ event. This film, part of the American mumblecore movement, was a wow at this year’s Sundance festival and is a tender and hilarious investigation of the delicate sexual politics inherent in every straight male friendship. Smart and hilarious. Prodigal Sons One of the best feature documentaries to have emerged in the last few years this is the story of Kim Reed, a male-to-female transsexual who returns to her small-town American home in order to tackle the demons of her past. The idea of an ex-football star jock arriving into such a community with her new identity may hold some interest but it is what is happening to her violently troubled, adopted, older brother that forms the heart of the piece. This is a portrait of a family in crisis and a tender and courageous look at mental illness and the pain it causes within a home. It also contains a number of twists and turns that will leave you dumbstruck. A must see, it won the Audience Award at this year’s GAZE.

Modern Family Focusing on the most positive representations of gay in the past year for our round up of 2009, my first and firm favourite is couple Cam and Mitchell from Sky One’s Modern Family. Widely praised by viewers and critics alike, Modern Family is a mockumentary sitcom about a quirky extended family, which offers a rather unique element for network TV: a committed gay couple with child as normal as the rest of their dysfunctional family. Eric Stonestreet, formerly of CSI, plays the more flamboyant Cameron; Jesse Tyler Ferguson plays Mitchell, the aggrieved son of the show’s aggressively straight patriarch (played by Al from Married with Children). They’re everything comedy gays should be and then some. EastEnders When Eastenders scriptwriters introduced gay character Christian Clarke (played by John Partridge) it marked a turning point in the portrayal of gay characters on primetime television. Christian was not the inoffensive, camp, asexual stereotype favoured by other soap operas (*cough* yes, you Corrie). Instead, his brooding sexiness, unashamedly overt gayness showed the UK a more realistic picture of confident, proud gay man. The controversy scale was knocked up a notch early this year, when after months of simmering tension he embarked upon a clandestine affair with Muslim, Syed (Marc Elliott). Strangely, the gay story has generated far less headlines than recent scenes, which showed one of the characters breaking his fast during Ramadan. The X Factor: Danni Speaks Out Dannii Minogue, sister of icon Kylie and X Factor judge, sparked controversy earlier this year by making reference to the contestant Danyl Johnson’s sexuality live on air. Her comment came after Johnson changed the lyrics of And I Am Telling You to make reference to a woman rather than a man. Johnson had admitted to the tabloid press to being ‘bisexual’, prompting Minogue to say:

THEATRE Phillip McMahon, Playwright

Thank U Ma’am and Swan Lack - Michael Clarke Dance Company The Galway Arts Festival offered a rare chance to see a Michael Clarke show in 2009. A queer visionary, Clarke has worked with many people, but perhaps most famously he created dance performances with and for artist Leigh Bowery in the 1980s. He might be a bit battered and bruised personally, but Clarke is very much on form. His dancers are more like athletes moving with military precision, and the pieces are heaps of fun while remaining stark, beautiful and abstract. We were sat between a lesbian couple from Finland and a family with a small child from Tallaght. All were thrilled! Queer Notions Created and curated by THISISPOPBABY and the Calipo Theatre Company, Queer Notions ran in Dublin as part of the Dublin Pride celebrations in June. A mini-arts festival with a focus on queer ideas and performance from Ireland and beyond, Queer Notions excited audiences with performances from leading artists from London, including David Hoyle and Bourgeois and Maurice, as well as Irish artists, Niall Sweeney, Tonie Walsh, Tom Creed, Una McKevitt and Panti. Over one week the Project Arts Centre became a hub of queer where questions were asked, people were entertained, challenged, and most importantly where a conversation about queer identity was sparked and continued throughout the week and beyond. www.GCN.ie 23

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Back Row: Left to Right: Glenn Keating - Project Leader, Dublin; Orla Egan - Training & Development Officer; John Duffy - Youth Worker; Gillian Brien - Drugs, Education & Outreach Officer; Oisín O’ Reilly - Office Manager Front Row: Left to Right: David Carroll - National Network Manager; Michael Barron – Director; Carol-Anne O’ Brien - Advocacy Coordinator

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We Belong Having grown from a Sunday LGBT youth support group to a key strategic player for social change for young people in Ireland, BeLonG To has plenty more plans for expansion in place. Brian Finnegan talks to two of its workers, Michael Barron and David Carroll, about meeting the challenges facing young LGBT people in Ireland today.

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ince 2003, when BeLonG To first launched its Sunday meetings for young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, the organisation has grown to become a surprising major strategic player in Ireland, boldly going where you might not expect a gay youth service to go by working in conjunction with the Departments of Education, Health and Community along with other key national NGO agencies. But according to Michael Barron, BeLonG To’s founder worker and current Director, the impetus for the wide-ranging work the organisation had done and plans for the future comes not from him and his co-workers (who today number eight), but from the kids who access the service themselves. “In the very beginning, young people were presenting to us who had self-harmed or had suicidal behaviour and it was very difficult for to find support for them,” Michael explains. “You couldn’t ‘out’ a young person who is looking for support, but you couldn’t get counselling for them without parental consent. “We recognised quite quickly that we had to work to get the Department of Health and the HSE to recognise the special needs of LGBT young people in terms of the Suicide Prevention Strategy. We worked with the Children’s Research Centre in Trinity around writing a really good submission and then badgered the Department for a good year and a half. This essentially was about constantly ringing them to ask where they were with the proposal, telling them that LGBT people really wanted to know where they were at with their strategy. We just wouldn’t let up. I think the badgering resulted in LGBT people being listed as an at-risk group. So much work and research in the

LGBT community was funded and supported by the National Office for Suicide Prevention because of this.” David Carroll, who joined as a Project Leader in 2006 and is now the organisation’s National Network Manager, says it was clear from the outset that BeLonG To needed to be about more than just the Dublin youth group. “Almost immediately young people began to come to the Sunday group in very large numbers, not only from Dublin but from other places around the country. We had a young guy who came up on the train from Mayo on Sundays, four hours here and four hours back on the same day. His life in between meetings was full of horrendous bullying and isolation. His interaction with other LGBT young people at BeLonG To was the only light at the end of his own tunnel. His experience was key to the development of BeLonG To into an organisation that works on the key issues that affect young LGBT people across the country.” According to Michael, BeLonG To was built around the ethos of empowering young people to create positive social change for themselves. “From the outset, young people were coming in and talking about bullying in their schools and homes. We would work with them about what was going on for them, but then we would put it back to them and say, ‘what do you want to do about what’s happening to you?’ So when we did our first national campaigns, like ‘So Gay’ or ‘Stop Homophobic Bullying at School’, they came directly from the young people.” ‘So Gay’ was a 2004 poster and booklet campaign for schools, advising young LGBT people on how to come out and relating personal stories aimed at dispelling myths and stereotypes. It was the single biggest campaign of its kind in Irish history at the time.

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“It was met with a certain amount of resistance to begin with,” says Michael. “I think the Department of Education is more conservative than other Departments are. Some of the key stakeholders were concerned about the implications that came along with supporting LGBT young people. So we started badgering them too.” Before ‘So Gay’ was even released the Sunday Times ran the headline, “Church Anger as Gay Campaign Targets Schools”, stoking up controversy that was, according to Michael, good for the campaign in the long run. “Because of that article the National Parents Association came out and supported the campaign. We already had The Institute of Guidance Counsellors on board, the Equality Authority and the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals. “It might have ended up in the bin in lots of schools, but it moved things on in terms of getting all those partners involved in endorsing LGBT campaigns and supporting LGBT young people for the first time.” The next youth-led BeLonG To campaign had a much wider impact. ‘Stop Homophobic Bullying in Schools’ was launched on October 25, 2006 by the Minister of State at the Department of Education and Science, Síle de Valera, who said the campaign highlighted “the necessity for schools, parents and the wider community to tackle bullying, peer aggression and violence directed at young people based on their sexual orientation.” The rolling out of the campaign in schools across Ireland, endorsed by the Department of Education, was a major moment in BeLonG To’s development as a force to be reckoned with, part of what David Carroll sees as three major behind-the-scenes “chapters” of organisational and funding progress over the years. “The first chapter involved Michael with Special Projects for Youth funding, working on the Sunday group and beginning to formulate the position of the organisation,” he says. “Chapter two was with the implementation of Reach Out funding for suicide prevention, National Drugs Strategy funding for working on the special issues surrounding LGBT young people and drug use, and the creation two new jobs, which gave Michael the scope to look into the national arena and also focus on policy and advocacy work. With that money we had a staff extension that brought us from two to five members and then funding from the One Foundation brought us up to eight employees. Currently we also fund and support six other LGBT youth posts around the country.” Says Michael: “When the National Office for Suicide Prevention funding came, I became the National Development Co-ordinator. We had realised early on that there was a pressing need to develop a national network of youth groups. “With this support BeLonG To was able to become a significant force in youth services and in national policy. We started to sit on national consultative bodies, such as the National Youth

Work Advisory Committee. We began to cut out a space for LGBT youth issues on the national stage and we positioned BeLonG To on par with other national youth organisations like Foróige and Bernardos. This was important in order to get LGBT youth issues taken seriously. This year the Office for the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs made tackling homophobic bullying one of the its primary concerns. That wouldn’t have happened without this positioning.” “It was great to see the funding being given for a number of groups,” says David. “Michael headed a group that developed a start-up pack and an accreditation scheme for new and existing groups around the country. It became a really effective tool, helping to cover all the angles that need to be closed off when embarking on youth work, such as child protection policies and issues of parental consent.” There are now BeLonG To-affiliated groups in Tipperary, Galway, Limerick, Cork, Dundalk, Waterford and Donegal, with Mayo, Roscommon, Kildare and Scarrif all currently taking part in the process of accreditation. The Donegal group is of special significance to David. “They’re the best thing since sliced bread!” he says. “As National Development Manager, it was my first introduction to a group at its absolute starting-off point. There was huge commitment from so many key organisations in the area to the group, from Donegal Youth Services and the HSE to the Gardaí. Since May of this year, Break Out is a weekly LGBT youth group that runs in Letterkenny. We are going to produce a new coming-out leaflet in collaboration with the working group in Donegal.” At the beginning, BeLonG To may not have had anything like a five-year plan to become the allencompassing organisation it has grown into, but now Michael, David and his colleagues have plenty of sterling plans in place. “The next public development will be the advocacy campaign,” says Michael. “It will be an LGBT awareness week for young people in schools and community centres, which will take place at the end of February/beginning of March 2010. LGBT young people don’t have to identify themselves in it because it’s open to all. “We’ll send out an invite to schools asking if they want to be involved and we have loads of material developed to promote it with them. We’ll have a youtube presence and a web presence and all those sorts of things. We’re not going in saying, ‘Stop bullying the gay young person,’ we’re saying, ‘Isn’t being gay and young in Ireland great today?’ We’re going to make it an annual event from now on.” The BeLonG To On-line Support Service is also up and running. “It began in November,” says David. “Every Friday and Sunday evening there are two trained professionals who are on the BeLonG To one-to-one support system online. It’s a way of accessing young people who are outside Dublin and helping them and it’s available at a time that has been identified by mental health professionals as when suicidal young people are

most at risk. It’s open on Christmas Day this year, which lands on a Friday.” “Our Training Development Programme is also up and running,” says Michael, who last March won the 2009 Captain Cathal Ryan Scholarship of E25,000, awarded to him by the One Foundation to support his further education or personal development and in recognition of his track record in affecting positive social change.

“The next development will be an LGBT awareness week for young people in schools and community centres around the country.” “Dozens of training sessions are going to go on in different parts of the country over the coming year. Schools have been invited to bring a Principle, a Deputy Principle to training in each area. The first one is in Galway and over 80 people signed up for it. The next one is in Cork, then Dublin, then Donegal and so on. We want to train as many Principals as possible in the coming year because our experience is that the Principal is the key person in any school. If the Principal is on board with the issues facing LGBT students, then the school is on board. “We are also working on developing a programme that will be slotted into teacher training colleges, so that it can work from the ground up.” But it’s not all rosy in the garden. “We are looking for alternative national funding at the moment,” says Michael. “Some of the LGBT youth groups we support around the country are at risk in the current economy because their funding is not long-term. There are a few ways to make groups sustainable. One would be that the Office for the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs would allocate a certain amount of money for LGBT youth work in the country. It is a very cost-effective service.” It’s likely that office will be facing some strong badgering in the near future. “Our approach to Government has always been about saying, ‘This is urgent and you are not doing enough,” says Michael. “We tell them not to panic, that we will help them fulfill their oblications to young LGBT people. Weirdly, it seems to work!” To find out more about BeLonG To, visit www. belongto.ie

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Travel

THE FIVE MINUTE GUIDE TO: ATHENS Neil Geraghty hangs out in the gorgeously gay Greek capital.

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or the gay visitor, a trip to Athens feels like a pilgrimage. It’s here that it all began: an ancient culture that celebrated homosexuality and perfected an image of male beauty that has remained virtually unchanged from the naked discus throwers of the original Olympics to the Calvin Klein ads of today. For a glimpse of some modern day Adonises head to Syntagma Square where you’ll find the famous Evzones standing guard in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Only the tallest, best looking army conscripts are chosen for the honour (surprise, surprise) and they do look pretty fabulous even wearing pleated skirts and fluffy pom-pom’s on their shoes. From Syntagma you can join the pedestrian trails through the main shopping district which is awash with outdoor cafés that post-Olympics have transformed central Athens into one of the most pleasant city centres in Europe. Gay Athens is a wonderful fusion of old-time cruise joints and stylish new bars. For better or

worse, Athens has become the Amsterdam of the Balkans and the streets around Omonia Square sizzle with sleaze. Albanian and Romanian rent boys hang out in the fast food joints while sex shop signs twinkle in third and fourth storey windows (all popular pick-up joints). Big, burlesque sex cinemas were once the mainstay of gay cruising around the world and Omonia is one of the few places left in the world where you still find them. You’ll bump into plenty of real-life Greek statues in Athens Relax, the city’s oldest gay sauna, but unfortunately they come with princely price tag. Towering above the 24-hour hustle is Athens’ newest and campest hotel, the Fashionhouse 2. Polychrome murals of magazine shoots cover the windows and a 1950’s Chanel bike hangs jauntily above the reception deck. A sparkly spiral staircase leads up to eight floors of quirky rooms, all individually designed by Greece’s top fashionistas. For a more upmarket night out, head away from Omonia and start the evening by grabbing some mezes and a strong Greek coffee in Thisio. Here along Apostolou Pavlou you’ll find a swathe of funky terrace bars all with stunning sunset views of the Parthenon. Kirki Café is the gay old faithful but has been slightly eclipsed of late by its more glamorous neighbours. A short stroll from Thisio brings you to Gazi, a converted 19th Century gasworks which is now home to Athens’ coolest galleries, clubs and restaurants. The red-lit chimneys are an unmistakable nighttime landmark in Athens and in recent years a compact, self-contained

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The Very Best... Bar: Blue Train/El Cielo Konstantinoupoleos 84, Gazi Industrial chic and timeless views. Sauna: Alexander Meg Alexandrou 134, Gazi Where Athena’s night swoop down for a late-night kill. Club: Fou Club Keleou 8, Gazi Find out why Greece is Eurovision’s new Ireland. Shake it, Sakis! Hotel: Fashionhouse 2 Pireos 2, Omonia Stylish, fun and funky but breakfast waiters in grey shell suits? It’s a crime against Greek civilization. INCLUDING: S S, TRANSFER HT IG FL ION AT OD M M CO AC

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gay village has sprung up around it. Moodily located by a disused rail track, Blue Train is a swish early evening lounge bar with poppy red décor and flickering candles. Head upstairs to El Cielo for an iced ouzo and magical views of the floodlit Acropolis from the terrace. Greek dance music has come along way since Zorba the Greek and from Ibiza to Agia Napa regularly sexes up the Mediterranean club scene. Fou Club and Sodade are the places to practice your Zembetika dance moves and to enjoy the awesome Hercules sized strippers. Greek bears are legendary and the darkest, furriest examples can be found in Big Bar, a roomy bear den with eye-catching movie reel posters of happy leather men being mauled from behind by Grizzlies. If you’re feeling hot under the collar in the wee hours find out what Alexander the Great really got up to on his campaigns in his namesake sauna. From here it’s only a short walk back to Omonia where at the crack of dawn the hustle begins once again in this steamy, sexy city.

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A Singular Man

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Having built Gucci into a super-brand with his highly sexualised campaigns, Tom Ford has his eye on becoming the toast of Hollywood. But his new movie is hardly what we might have expected from fashion’s bad boy, as Robert Hayes discovered.

T

om Ford is not here to talk about fashion. Not his new women’s line, not his iconic, sexualised campaigns and collections, not his time building the Gucci fashion empire nor his less than amicable split from that house. At a push, he’s happy to compare the process of making films and making fashion. Only at a push, mind you. “There is a certain similarity in that fashion it is a more collaborative field than one might think,” he says. “You get used to working with others. You have to have an idea. You have to have a vision. You have to communicate that to a team of people to help you realise that vision and you have to create an environment that allows those people to give the very best that they can give.” Tom is here to talk about A Single Man, his screenwriting and directorial debut, adapted from the iconic 1964 novel by Christopher Isherwood about a gay man coming to terms with the death of his long-term partner. “I think Isherwood was way ahead of his time,” Tom asserts. “One of the things that I always loved about his writing was the easygoing way that he treated homosexuality. Most of his stories and novels were autobiographical so there’s usually a gay character, but that’s not the centre of the story. “The gay character is portrayed as a human being who lives a life and has a relationship. I felt that it was very important to depict that in a very matter-of-fact way that they were just really two people who are in love with each other. I wanted this not to be a ‘gay story’ or a ‘straight story’ but to be a human story.” Did Isherwood’s story of a gay man mourning the loss of his lover resonate especially with Ford, who has been with his own partner, journalist Richard Buckley, for 23 years? “Well, I think that for anyone with a long-term partner, the idea of losing that person could throw you into a situation where you could not see your future and you really would be living in the past. That’s what happening with George. As I understand it from Don Bachardy, Christopher’s partner, Christopher wrote A

Single Man when Don left him for about eight months and moved to New York with someone else. Christopher imagined that Don had died and that he was alone.” The difference between anyone losing their long-term partner and George losing his is that George is closeted and unable to speak openly about his grief. “That wasn’t meant to be the real focus of the story,” says Ford. “You only sense it a couple of times; when he’s not invited to the funeral because he’s not family. And then when his very best female friend, who’s known him for years, says to him, ‘Don’t you miss what we could’ve been? Having a real relationship and kids?’ “If I were George, that would have been the thing that stung the most, that someone so close to me still didn’t really understand the relationship that I had with someone else.” George’s best friend is played by Julianne Moore, who was the first actor to sign on to the project. “I wrote Julianne’s character in a much more glamorous way than she’s depicted in the book,” says Ford, ever the fashion designer, even if that’s not the hat he’s wearing today. “But then I was worried that I’d gone to far by doing that.” Luckily, Bachardy came on set as a consultant and put Ford’s mind at ease. “He said, ‘The funny thing is she was based on Iris Tree, who was very stylish.’ He pulled out all these pictures of Tree and said, ‘Christopher didn’t want her to know that she was the inspiration for this part so he changed her physically, but this is who the real woman was.’ It was great to have Don and it was great to have Don’s vote of confidence. I think that he genuinely loves the film and is very happy. So that makes me very happy.” Ford was also very happy to get Colin Firth as his leading man, even though someone else had been lined up to play the part originally. “Colin had been my absolute first choice, but his agent said he wasn’t available, so I cast another actor in the role. I ran into Colin at the Mamma Mia! premiere in London. I was standing there chatting with him, knowing that I didn’t have him and thinking, ‘Oh, God. I can’t believe you’re not going to be George. You’re so perfect for this role.’ A few weeks later the other actor dropped out and I immediately got Colin’s email address. I emailed him out of the blue and

Fed Ex’d him a script. He read it and emailed me back the very next day and I jumped on a plane and flew from New Mexico to London to have dinner with him. By the end of the evening, we had a handshake deal. “There’s something about Colin that seems very contained on the surface and yet inside you know there’s enormous emotion. That seemed absolutely perfect to me for George. So I think it was a case of actor and character being very well suited? He really inhabited that character. I can’t imagine anyone else in that role and it was fate that put him there.” Although A Single Man centres on death and grief, Ford believes that the film gives an opposite message. “It’s about life,” he says. “It’s about living in the moment, appreciating the small things in your life that sometimes just go by without you really observing and understanding your connection to the universe and understanding that relationships with other people are really the things that matter.

“I wanted this not to be a gay story or a straight story, but to be a human story.” “By the end of the film George is really looking and seeing the world for the first time. He hasn’t been looking people in the eyes. He’s been blank. Now, all of a sudden, he’s connecting and people are responding to him in a different way.” No longer fashion’s bad gay boy, Tom has found himself a place at the centre of Hollywood’s talented elite since directing A Single Man. “I understand what I’m about as a fashion designer but when I decided that I wanted to make film I had to ask, ‘Why? Who cares? What do I have to say?’ I think that whatever you create you have to be true to yourself and make sure it’s something that feels right to you. So the story was number one for me. People talk about the film being stylish and beautiful, but that’s at the service of the story. Style for me means nothing without substance.” A Single Man opens in selected cinemas on February 12 www.GCN.ie 29

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fashion

Take Six... Watches

1 ‘Cheapo’ Red Watch, €27

4 Ted Baker Jontty Watch, €210

3

2 Nixon Gunmetal Watch €450

Nixon Light Blue Watch, €160

6

5 Swatch Dark Sun, €165

Swatch Wealthy Start, €130

Stockists: 1. Urban Outfitters, Upper Fownes Street, Dublin 2; 2&3. Genius, Unit 6A Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, Clarendon Street, Dublin 2, www.genius.ie; 4. Ted Baker, Grafton Street, Dublin 2, www.tedbaker.com; 5&6.. The Swatch Shop, Grafton Street, Dublin 2 and Blanchardstown Shopping Centre. Styled by Louise Mitchell. 30 WWW.GCN.IE

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dublinstreets.blogspot.com

So Now

With stylist, Darren Kennedy

I

first fell in love on a trip to New York about two years ago - no not with a man but with a metallic silver pair of Converse. After some initial panic at not being able to hunt down a pair in my size, I was prepared, as I often am, to work through the pain of wearing a size smaller just to have them. As fortune would have it, a shiny pair of size 10’s was waiting for me in a little shop in Soho. Like any good pair of Converse, they’ve matured well and to this day I relish popping them on with a pair of dark navy jeans - they give

the perfect amount of ‘pop’ to any outfit. Over the past couple of seasons womenswear runways have been shimmering with shiny colours and all sorts of metallics. As is often the case, a couple of seasons later the trend really has taken hold in menswear and has trickled down to the High Street, showing no sign of abating. On a shoe, a belt or a bag, metallics remain a constant source of stylistic pleasure. Depending on your own personal style and how brash you like to be with it, there are metallic garments to suit all. From subtle detailing to accents, fabric highlights through to full-on metallic overhaul, the highstreet has plenty to play around with. If the thoughts of gold and silver seem a little too adventurous, then dabble with shades of bronze, copper and pewter for a softer look. My top tip for anyone unsure how to do metallic is don’t rush out and buy a full-on metallic blazer or jeans (yes, Dior have a fab pair!). Instead ease yourself into it and use accessories, a bag, tie or belt, for example with hints of metallic to introduce to your wardrobe. Remember the most important thing is that you feel good in what you wear. Only ever take from trends the elements you like. Darren Kennedy is resident stylist with 2FM and writes a daily fashion blog on style and beauty website, www.helpmystyle.ie

STREET SMARTS

WHO’S WEARING WHAT AND WHERE? Name: Janet Takuz Age: 19 Location: Grafton St Occupation: Graphic Design Student Wearing: Shoes from Office, leggings from Topshop, secondhand dress bought in Camden Market, jacket at the Dublin Flea Market, Hoodie from Pennys. Three words to describe your personal style: What was clean. If your style was an inanimate object what would it be: A clock. Last thing you bought: A pair of luminous pink high heels. Next thing you’re going to buy: Yellow wellies from Urban Outfitters Best place to shop in Ireland: Harlequin, Cornmarket, Dublin 2 Favourite possession: My laptop Favourite place to eat: Ristoranti Pizzas Favourite place to go on a Friday: WAR in Spy WWW.GCN.IE 31

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eating in and out

On the Side SEEDED BROWN BREAD This recipe makes two loaves, so freeze one for another day if you wish. INGREDIENTS 600g wholemeal flour 200g plain flour 100g seeds, crushed (sunflower and pumpkin work well) Two tsp bicarbonate of soda 25g porridge oats Two tsp salt Two tsp treacle or molasses 800 ml buttermilk Two eggs Four tbsp oil 25g sesame seeds Oil two two-lb loaf tins and preheat the oven to 200c/400f/gas mark six. Pop all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix together, making a deep well in the centre. Into a jug place the eggs, oil , treacle and buttermilk and whisk well. Pour the contents of jug into your dry ingredients and mix well. The mixture should be wet and quite sloppy. Pour the mix into the loaf tins and cut a line down the middle to ensure they rise evenly. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and pop into oven for 55 minutes. Remove from tins and return to oven for a further ten minutes. Tap the bread and if it sounds hollow, it’s done!

Two Poofs in a Pantry You’ll recover from the Christmas excesses with this totally fat free, but super delicious soup, say GCN chefs Brian Drinan and Paul Coffey.

STYLISH CITY CENTRE CONTEMPORARY DINING. 2005 Winner ‘Food & Wine/Evian’ Award for Best Dublin Restaurant, Best Chef Dublin and Best Overall Restaurant Ireland 109a Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2 Tel: 01 661 1919 Fax: 01 661 0617 Email: enquiries@lecrivain.com www.lecrivain.com

As Christmas turns into the beginning of 2010, we have all the best intentions in the world to make it our finest year yet. High up on the resolutions list is to detox and try and lose a few pounds after the debauchery of the festive season! Soup is a great way to do this. It’s a meal in itself and this recipe is virtually fat free. For a treat we top it with some shaved parmesan and a dollop of sour cream (but only for a treat). It keeps in the fridge for three days and freezes well.

On the side, we bring you our delicious Seeded Brown Bread which takes only minutes to prepare, keeps for days, toasts beautifully and freezes like a dream. Try this, it’s so worth it! WHAT TO PUT IN One tblsp olive oil Two cloves of garlic, finely chopped Two tins of chopped tomatoes One tblsp tomato puree Six Spring Onions, chopped 500ml chicken or vegetable stock One heaped teaspoon of sugar Two x 400g cans of mixed beans, drained 100g basil, torn into strips Pinch of chilli powder Salt and black pepper HOW TO MAKE IT 1. Heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic for a few minutes. 2. Add the tomatoes, puree, stock and chilli, simmer slowly for 15 minutes, 3. Add the beans and sugar, and simmer for a further five minutes. Garnish with coriander and serve.

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15/12/2009 11:13


The Big Dish... Sinéad Deegan is a woman who likes prompt service. Pity she didn’t get it at The Fitzwilliam Hotel’s Citron restaurant. At least some of the food made up for the wait.

Y

ou know it’s the start of the silly season when you can’t get a 6pm booking anywhere decent. What recession? With the regular haunts already full, I resorted to menupages.ie to help me find somewhere. ‘South city centre’ and ‘early bird special’ were the search criteria. Citron in the Fitzwilliam hotel popped up - the early bird was two courses for €24.95 or three for €26.95. My dinner date, anout-of-towner, bagged herself a snazzy soft-top while the Tiger was roaring and needed parking - so The Fitzwilliam was the perfect location. I called to reserve and was told they were full, but I wasn’t taking ‘no’ for an answer and secured a 6pm table for two, with promises of being gone by 7.30pm. Many a Mojito had I imbibed in the Fitzwilliam, but I had never visited Citron before. Situated

on the mezzanine, just above reception, it’s got a buzzy vibe (for an empty dining room!). One wouldn’t have noticed we were the only two diners. The sounds from the bar and foyer create an atmosphere that would have been lacking had this been a separate space. We were greeted and seated immediately. The water, drinks and lovely, warm bread rolls arrived promptly. We were busy chatting so asked the waiter to give us a couple of more minutes with the menus. 20 minutes later we realised we hadn’t ordered and he hadn’t come back. Were we that scary? A few more tables had been filled, but the staff were by no means run off their feet. Eventually we got his attention and decided to go for the two-course EarlyBbird - dinner and dessert. My date was feeling festive, so she ordered turkey and ham. I played it safe and choose the beef. The food took another 20 minutes to arrive. The Turkey and Ham came with Sage, Onion and Thyme Stuffing, Cranberry Jus and Al-dente Mange Tout and Baby Carrots. I have always steered clear of the Christmas option on menus as no one can turn out Crimbo dins quite like Mary Deegan (aka Mommie Dearest), but hats off to the Citron chef. Moist, tender, perfectly carved meat full of flavour with crispy stuffing and piquant jus pulling the flavours together beautifully. I got Christmas dinner envy! My Chargrilled Beef with Wild Mushroom Fricassee, Creamy Herb Mash and Roasted Garlic Jus defied expectations. Full of sumptuous flavours that gently popped into the mouth, it was perfectly conceived, cooked and presented. I could wait for hours for a dish like this and not complain. It’s a seriously good item for an Early Bird (the same dish with the fillet on the main menu is €36). Our plates were cleared and we asked for the dessert menu from waiter no’ 3. It was 8pm at this

stage. The restaurant wasn’t even half full and no one was asking for the table back. We then asked waiter no’ 1 to remind waiter no’ 3 to bring us the dessert menus. Waiter no’ 2 eventually appeared with them eventually and we ordered Chocolate Chip Cheesecake and Mixed Berries with a Citrus Sorbet. At 8.30pm we caught waiter no 3’s attention. He went to check on the progress and sent waiter no’ 2 back with our order. The cheesecake was white chocolate with cream and fresh fruit coulis, a bit too heavy and sweet. My mixed berries and sorbet came in the form of fresh fruit salad with shortcake biscuit and a tablespoon full of sorbet on top. The only berries I could find were a couple of sliced strawberries. Either I was given the wrong desert or I misread the menu, but at that stage couldn’t find waiter 1, 2 or 3, so I munched on some diced apple and convinced myself it was a blueberry. As we were leaving the restaurant still wasn’t full, so we were not sure why there had been issues about getting the table back for 7.30pm. The bill was €60 including tip and two glasses of wine. The parking, we were told by waiter no’ 3, would be ‘validated’ in reception. It cost us an additional €16.40 (two cars at €8.20 each). “Validate means validate madam, it’s not complimentary,” the receptionist said. So much for a cheap Early Bird. The Citron Restaurant at The Fitzwilliam Hotel, Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, (01) 478 7000, www.fitzwilliamhoteldublin.com

Monty’s in Temple Bar has had a major makeover, along with the introduction of new menu.

Value meal deals 3 course for €20.95 Temple Bar, 28 Eustace street, D2, 01 6704911 Email: montys@eircom.net www.montys.ie www.GCN.ie 33

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15/12/2009 11:13


HIV

TELLING TIMES Whether you have been newly diagnosed or have been HIV positive for some time, telling other people about your status is often a minefield. Tom Byrne looks at the dos and don’ts of disclosure.

So, you are HIV positive. The news about your status is fresh or you’ve known for some time. Whether you are newly diagnosed or have been living with HIV for some time, you will be faced with lots of situations where the decision to tell people about your HIV status will be something you will wrestle with. So how do you balance honesty with your right to privacy? It takes time to adjust to being HIV positive. Therefore it’s best not to rush into telling other people about your status. You may want to share the burden of knowledge with other people, but it’s important, if you are going to say anything, to choose your confidants carefully. Even if you’ve been living with HIV for a while, there are many moments in life when you are forced to make decisions about disclosure. Wanting to tell family members, employers, fellow employees, and friends is very natural. However, even though you may trust people with information about your status, telling the truth can create problems. While there have been significant improvements in awareness and understanding of the issues surrounding HIV infection, there is unfortunately still stigma attached to the whole subject of HIV and those who are positive Over the past 20 years of the HIV epidemic, there have been some significant improvements in the general public’s awareness about and understanding of HIV issues. Unfortunately, there’s still a stigma attached to the whole subject of HIV and to those who have it. Yes, there is more understanding and wider acceptance than in the past, but unsympathetic and prejudicial reactions are still not uncommon in some families, in the workplace and in social situations. Choosing who to tell or not tell is your personal decision. It’s your choice and your right. Here are some tips around telling people that you are HIV positive.

Remember the Five W’s Who do you need to tell? What do you want to tell them about your HIV infection, and what are you expecting from them when you share your story? When should you tell them? Where is the best place to have this talk? Why are you telling them?

DISCLOSURE: THE DO’S AND DON’TS

Take It Easy On Yourself Even if the disclosure doesn’t go the way you’d hoped, you’re going to survive it and your life will go on. Don’t be hard on yourself. Remember that you did a very brave thing.

Be Selective You may feel the need to share the information, but don’t jump to tell everyone. Make considered choices.

G M H S C L I N I C A L S E RV I C E S

Take it Slowly. You don’t have to tell someone straight off the mark. Take your time; figure out how exactly you want to say it. Don’t Dump Is there a real purpose for you to tell somebody, or are you anxiously ‘dumping’ your feelings? Make the right choice. Discriminate Telling people indiscriminately may affect your life in ways you haven’t thought about. Offer No Apologies You have a virus. That doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong. You don’t have anything to apologise for simply because you are HIV positive. Keep it Simple You don’t have to tell the story of your life. Don’t Isolate Yourself If you are still not able to tell your loved ones, draw upon the support and experience available to you, through organised groups in the HIV community such as Open Heart House or Dublin Aids Alliance. Trust Your Instinct There is no ‘way’ to disclose your status; you have to find it yourself. Don’t give in to your fears, but trust your instincts at the same time.

FOR GAY, BISEXUAL & OTHER MEN WHO HAVE SEX WITH MEN

TUESDAYS AND WEDNESDAYS 5.30 PM TO 7.30 PM Baggot Street Hospital, Baggot Street, Dublin 4. T 01 6699 553 (Note: New entrance on Baggot Street at No. 10 bus stop)

BOTH EVENINGS: NEW FROM OCTOBER 6TH • Walk in for FULL STI Screening • Blood Tests for HIV, Syphilis and Hepatitis • Hepatitis Vaccine • Genital Wart and other Treatments • Information • Advice • Counselling • Support • Condoms • Lubricant GMHS STI CLINIC IS A FREE, FRIENDLY & CONFIDENTIAL SERVICE Deaf gay and bisexual men are welcome. We have a loop or we can arrange an ISL interpreter. Please SMS 0879410934 before Mondays 5.00pm to arrange. We can also arrange foreign language interpreter same arrangements. www.gaymenshealthservices.ie for services reports and links www.ghn.ie for sexual health and safer sex information in 9 languages.

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14/12/2009 16:40


Living With HIV+ Sex

An information booklet for HIV positive gay and bisexual men, and other men who have sex with men, and their partners. Available from gay social venues, gay health or HIV agency near you from December 2009. Also available at www.ghn.ie

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16/11/2009 15:19:39 17/11/2009 09:33


directory DUBLIN & THE EAST MONDAYS 1 The Emerald Warriors training every Monday and Thursday in Tymon Park Tallaght. Beginners welcome, no experience necessary. www.emeraldwarriorsrfc.com 1 Transgender Personal Development Course. To book your place contact Gill on 085-730 3577 or e-mail gill@grs-thailand.com 1 WomenTalk - Informal discussion group for women in Outhouse. T: Petra on 01-873 4999 or E: outreach@outhouse.ie 1 Dundalk Outcomers Women’s Night 8-10pm. T: 042 932 9816 or www.outcomers.org TUESDAYS Personal Development Course for Men. Six-week courses. To book your place contact GMHP on (01) 873 4952 or E: gmhpoutreach@eircom.net 1 Athy GLB group meets Tues every 3 weeks. T: 086 261 8808. E: athyglb@gmail.com 1 LGBT AA group meets weekly in OUThouse at 6.30pm. 1 Johnny (Men’s Gay and Bisexual peer group) meet Outhouse. 7pm. T: 085 747 8383 for details, johnny.group@gmail.com, www. johnnygroup.org. Second Tuesday of every month 1 Bi Irish social group for Bisexuals and friends meets second Tuesday of the month in Outhouse Café at 7pm sharp. 1 GIG (Gay International Group), multicultural group for women and men Outhouse at 8pm, second Tuesday of every month 1 Gloria LGB Choir, meets every Tuesday 7.30-7.30pm E: info@gloria.ie T: Ian 086 354 5011 www.gloria.ie 1 Dundalk Outcomers Men’s Night 8.30-11.30pm. T: 042 932 9816 or www.outcomers.org 1 Dublin Devils FC, soccer club for gay men, all levels welcome.7pm in the Phoenix Park. www.dublindevilsfc.com 1

WEDNESDAYS Friendly Gay Book Club meet at Outhouse 8pm on the first Wednesday of every month 1 AlAnon Group at Outhouse 6.15pm every Wednesday. For families and friends of alcoholics. All Welcome. 1 Dublin Front Runners running club for gay men and women, all levels. Meet every Weds 7.30pm. www.dublinfrontrunners.ie. E: dublinfrontrunners@gmail.com 1 G-Swim, gay men’s swimming group, meet 8.45pm at statue outside the Markievicz Pool, Townsend St. E: Gswim@eircom.net, 087 666 5770 1 YO! Youth Night at Dundalk Outcomers. For 18-25 year olds only, 8.30-10.30pm. T: 042 932 9816 or www.outcomers.org 1 Amach Wicklow - Gay and lesbian group meets in Ashford on the 2nd Wednesday of every month at 8:30pm T: (086) 235 2599 for more details. Womens Tennis practice intermediate level on public tuf courts in Dublin. Weds 5.30 & Sat 11.00am. Call: 0863892992 for info 1

THURSDAYS 1 Venus: Women’s Night in OUThouse. 7.00 - 9.00pm T: 873 4999 1 The Lady Birds, supportive and fun group for young women aged 14- 23. Contact (01) 873 4184; info@belongto.org 1 The Phoenix Tigers, Dublin’s lesbian soccer team train Larkin College. New players all levels welcome. www.phoenixtigers.com 1 N.A. meeting in Outhouse 8pm T: 873 4999 1 Rainbow Recovery AA Meeting, Carmelite Community, Aungier St, D2, 6.30pm, fully accessible 1 First Out is a confidential discussion group for women exploring their sexuality. First Thursday of each month in Outhouse at 7.30pm. T Outhouse: 01 873 4999 1 The Emerald Warriors training every Tues and Thurs in Tymon Park Tallaght . Beginners welcome, no experience necessary. W: www.emeraldwarriorsrfc.com, T: 0878599377 FRIDAYS EAGLE, Gay Wexford social group meets the first Friday of every month in Wexford town from 8 p.m. til late. Text 0860792625 : 6.30-7.30, MonFri or w: www.gaywexford.com, e: info@gaywexford.com 1 Swimmin Wimmin, meets at 7pm for a swim, a chat or just a cuppa T: 087 773 1557 for info 1 Dining Out for gay men 087 286 3349 E: diningoutireland@hotmail.com 1 AA meeting in OUThouse, 8pm 1 Men’s Night in OUThouse, 7-10pm 1 Queer Studies Group. Open discussions in WERRC Resource Room, Arts Annex Building, UCD Belfield 6.00-8.00pm. E: dublinqueerstudiesgroup@hotmail.com 1 Queer Conversations at Dundalk Outcomers. Check www.outcomers.org for updates on speakers and topics. T: 042 932 9816 1

SATURDAYS Iris (LGBTT mental health support group) OUThouse 2.30pm. 1 Live, Let Live AA Meetings,Friends Meeting House Abbey Street D1 6.30pm 1 Dublin Front Runners: running club for gay men and women, all levels. Meet every Sat 10am, www.frontrunners.ie 1 Dublin Devils FC - soccer club for men, all levels welcome. Meet 1pm Sat in Phoenix Park. www.dublindevilsfc.com T: Mark on 086 805 9443 1 Women’s Golfing ‘Saturday Swingers, every second Saturday in Dublin. Tel: 087 987 1661, some experience neccessary. 1 The Dublin Gay Music Group is a gathering of gay men who meet each Saturday afternoon to listen to recordings of classical music. An outlet for enthusiasts of classical and operatic music, the focus is on musi cal appreciation. New members are welcome. http://info.dublinmusicgroup.com 1 Open Night in Dundalk Outcomers 8.30 to 10.00pm

G Force , Garda LGB Employee Support Network. E: group42732@ yahoo.com

1

SUNDAYS A.A. Meets in OUThouse at 6.30pm. 1 BeLonG To, supports and resources LGBT young people aged 14-23 in a safe & fun environment. Meets every Sunday at 3.30pm in OUThouse. T: 01-8734184 E: info@belongto.org 1 Out & About Hillwalking Group meet at National Concert Hall Earlsfort Terrace 10am for a Wicklow Mountain hike. www.gay-hiking.org 1 GLOW (Gays and Lesbians of Wexford) mixed social group, for details of meeting E: glow@iol.ie T: (051) 879 907 1 Dundalk Outcomers Fri, Sun & Wed 8.30-10.30pm 1

COMMUNITY CENTRES OUThouse, 105 Capel Street, Dublin 7 T: (01) 873 4999. www.outhouse.ie 1 Dublin AIDS Alliance at Eriu Centre, 53 Parnell Sq, D1 T: (01) 873 3799 www.dublinaidsalliance.com 1 Dundalk Outcomers, 8 Roden Place Dundalk T: 042 932 9816 www.outcomers.org 1

OTHER GROUPS 1 ASTI GLB Network for second level teachers working in school. Meet monthly in ASTI head office. T: 087 629 7727. E: gayandlesbiannetwork@asti.ie 1 Irish Queer Archive. Open by appointment only. E: irishqueerarchive@ireland.com 1 OUT4TENNIS is Ireland’s GLBT tennis network. For details of our tournaments and ladders as well as overseas tournaments, visit us at www.out4tennis.com 1 G-Swim, men’s swimming group, meet Wednesdays, 8pm outside Markievicz Pool, Townsend St, info@gayswim.org 1 Changing Attitude Ireland. Christian pro-gay network of persons gay/ straight working for full affirmation of LGBT persons in the churches. Visit us at www.changingattitudeireland.org 1 Older Women’s wining, dining networking group. Regular meetings with a view to pursuing mutual social and cultural interests. Email: verity20042000@yahoo.co.uk 1 LGB group for primary teachers in Ireland, North and South. The group has the offical sanction of the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO). Contact lgbt@INTO.ie or T: 087 695 2839. 1 Gay Book Group, first Wednesday of every month at Outhouse. http://groups.google.com/group/dgrg 1 GLUE - Gay and Lesbian Unions Eire. Group lobbying for changes in the Partnership Laws in Ireland. www.glue.ie 1 The Married Men’s Support Group meet once a month. Contact Gay Switchboard Dublin on 01 872 1055 for details. 1 Labour LGBT E: lgbt@labour.ie. www.labour.ie 1 Dining Out for gay men, Fridays, T: 087 286 3349 E: info@DiningOutIreland.org or www.DiningOutIreland.org 1 Transgender Equality Network www.teni.ie, E: info@teni.ie or 085 1477166 1 Individuality. A social group for young trans people aged 14 to 23 and those questioning their gender identity. T: (01) 873 4184 or E: info@belongto.org 1 Gender Identity Dysphoria Ireland (GIDI). Lynda on 085 744 2697 or E: lyndatheeyes@yahoo.co.uk or http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gidisupportgroup/ 1 Queer Men’s Night Out. Dinner, movie and a pint. Follow the link on www.nua.cc 1 Kildare Youth Group, for 16-26 year olds http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kildarelgbt 1 Athy GLB Group, meets October 17 at Athy Community Development, Woodstock St, T: 083 304 9363 1 Kildare Group E: Kildarelgbt@gmail.com for details 1 Irish Queers. LGBT activists organising on issues in Ireland and Irish America. NY 212.289.1101 and www.irishqueers.org 1 Gay Bray Social Group for LGB persons in the Bray area. E: gaybray@gmail.com 1 Wet & Wild LGBT outdoor pursuits club, monthly activites, E:wetandwild@gmail.com

HEALTH HELP Gay Men’s Health Project (GMHP), 19 Haddington Road D4. Free sexual health service T: (01) 660 2189 E: gmhp1@eircom.net 1 Johnny (Men’s Gay and Bisexual peer group) meet Outhouse first Tuesday of every month. T: (01) 873 4999 for details 1 Gay Health Network (GHN) T: (01) 873 4952 E: info@gayhealthnetwork.ie, www.gayhealthnetwork.ie 1 St. James’ GUIDE Clinic T:(01) 416 2315 or (01) 416 2316 1 Transgender Equality Network advice, help and support T: 085 147 7166, E: info@teni.ie or www.teni.ie 1 Drugs/HIV Helpline 1800 459 459 10am-5pm everyday 1 BeLonG To Drugs Outreach. Support for young people around drugs and alcohol T: Karin (01) 873 4184 or E: karin@belongto.org 1

HELPLINES Dublin Lesbian Line (01) 872 9911 7pm-9pm Every Thursday www.dublinlesbianline.ie - Volunteers Required 1 Gay Switchboard (GSD) (01) 872 1055 Mon–Thurs, 7.30-9.30pm. 1 Dublin Transsexual Peer Support Group. Every second Wednesday. Information, assistance and support for those questioning their gender. Confidentiality is respected. T: Fiona on 087 9207013 or 085 147 7166 1 BeLonG To Youth Project, supporting and resourcing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people aged 14 - 23 T:01 873 4184; E: info@belongto.org; www.belongto.org 1 Greenbow LGB deaf group E: deafgreenbowlgbt@yahoo.ie www.greenbowdeaf.com 1 Dundalk Outcomers, Louth LGB Helpline (042) 935 2915, For detailed listings, see www.outcomers.org 1 OutLouth 086 324 1579 E:info@outlouth.com www.outlouth.com 1 Transgendered Equality Network T: 085 147 7166, www.teni.ie or E: info@teni.ie 1

STUDENT LGBT SOCIETIES National Union of Students in Ireland, Lesbian Gay & Bisexual Rights Campaign - Contact Laura Finlay, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Officer E: lgbt@usi.ie, T: (01) 709 9300, M: 086 781 6393 1 National College of Art & Design LGBT, ncadlgbt@gmail.com 1 Trinity College Dublin: lgbisoc@csc.tcd.ie: www.TrinityLGB.org 1 University College Dublin : ucdlgbt@gmail.com 1 Dublin City University : dculgbsoc@yahoo.com 1 Dún Laoghaire IADT : lgbt@iadtsu.ie 1 Dublin Institute of Technology: www.ditlgbt.org 1 Blanchardstown IT: itb_lgbt@gmail.com 1 NUI Maynooth: NUIMLGBT lgbt@nuimsu.com 1 Tallaght IT: supres@it-tallaght.ie Mary Immaculate College: maryilgbt@hotmail.com 1

GARDA LIAISON OFFICERS Community Relations Section - Inspector Finbarr Murphy 01 666 3831/3811 1 Community Relations Section - Sergeant Andy Tuite 01 666 3831/3821 1 Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Unit - Detective Sergeant Michael Lynch 01 666 3366/3435 1 Pearse Street - Detective Brendan Supple 01 666 9000 Store Street - Martina McDermott 01 6668000 Store Street - Mark O Doherty 01 6668000 Kevin Street - Mark Bolger 01 6669400 1 Cabra - Brigit Burke 01 666 7400 1 Bridewell - Detective Frank Tracey 01 666 8200 1 Bridewell - Garda Ita Bradley 01 666 8000 1 Fitzgibbon Street - Garda Eoin Lynch 01 666 8400 1 Swords - Margaret Coyle 01 664700 Terenure - John Banahan 01 666400 Blanchardstown - Mick McCoy 01 6667000 1 Cabinteely - Derval Gillen 01 666 5400 1 Dundalk - Sergeant Vincent Jackson 042 933 5577 1 Kildare/Carlow - Sergeant Mary Corcoran 045 884300 1 Kilkenny - Inspector Padraig Dunne 051 305 300 Clondalkin -Stephen Dunican 01 6667642 1

BELFAST & THE NORTH MONDAYS 1 GLYNI youth group for LGBT’s 16-25 years old, 64 Cathedral Buildings Belfast, 6-9.30pm, www.glyni.org.uk TUESDAYS Ulster Titans. Men’s rugby club. Training 7.30 - 9.30pm. www.ulstertitans.com for more

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WEDNESDAYS 1 Collective meeting at Cara Friend Centre 8pm THURSDAYS Ulster Titans. Men’s rugby club. Training 7.30 - 9.30pm. www.ulstertitans.com for more

1

FRIDAYS Men of the North An alternative gay venue for men over 25 Meets on the 2nd Friday of every month at Mynt, Belfast. E:info@menofthenorth.com, www.menofthenorth.com 1 GLYNI youth group for LGBT’s 16-25 years old, 64 Cathedral Buildings Belfast, 6-9.30pm, www.glyni.org.uk 1

SATURDAYS Ulster Titans. Men’s rugby club. Training 2pm. www.ulstertitans.com for more information 1 Inspace Coffee Lounge at Queerspace Cara Friend Centre 3-6pm Everyone welcome 1 Narcotics Anonymous Women’s Meetings 6.30pm - 8.00pm at La Verna Grattan Street (next door to Project School) 1

SUNDAYS Out & About (NI), LGBT walking group now in its third year. Last Sunday of each month.; Check out our http://outnabout-ni.org.uk E: neil@outnabout-ni.org.uk for details. Cathedral Buildings, 3-6pm

1

COMMUNITY CENTRES Changing Attitude Ireland. www.changingattitudeireland.org E: mailto:changingattitudeireland@hotmail.co.uk 1 Rainbow Project Belfast. 2-8 Commercial Court Belfast BT 1 2NB. (028) 903 19030 www.rainbow-project.org 1 The Rainbow Project 12A Queen Street Derry BT48 7EG (028) 7128 3030 1 QueerSpace in Cara Friend Centre Offices in Cathedral Buildings, Lower Donegall Street Belfast T: (028) 905 90257 and www.queerspace.org.uk 1

OTHER GROUPS NIGRA (Northern Ireland Gay Rights Association) PO BOX 44, Belfast BT1 1SH T: (028) (048 from ROI) 906 64111 E: nigra4@hotmail.com 1 Gay Men’s Spiritual Group meeting Clonard Monastery, Belfast, E: gathering05@hotmail.co.uk 1 Gay Policing Northern Ireland, E: gpni@yahoogroups.com 1 Gay Newry, check www.gaynewry.com 1 Gay and Lesbian Across Down, 07791 398438, www.gladni.org 1 Gay Men’s Spiritual Group meeting Clonard Monastery, Belfast. E: jimger2000@yahoo.co.uk for details 1 Lesbian Friends Northern Ireland, a Social Support Group for LBT women LesbianFriendsNorthernIreland@groups.msn.com 1 LGBT Youth Group. Dundalk Outcomers Age 14-23 all welcome e: info@outcomers.org, www.outcomers.org 1 Border Area Group (BAG), based in Monaghan, also includes Cavan, Fermanagh, Tyrone and Armagh areas, Tel: 087 775 8640/083 005 3909, borderareagroup@yahoo.com 1 Causeway LGBT Network, for the Causeway Coast area, 1st Monday of month, 7-9pm, info@causewaylgbt.co.uk, call 0791 098 0314 on Thusdays, 7-9pm only. 1

HEALTH HELP GUM Clinic at Altnagelvin Hospital, Anderson House, Derry, Mon, Wed & Fri 9.30am-11am Wed 1.30-3pm (028) 7161 1269 1 Women’s Health Clinic at Altnagelvin Hospital, Anderson House Derry, Thurs 9.30am-11am Wed (028) 7161 1269 1 Body Positive NI Room 308 Bryson Hse Bedford St, BT2 7FE Tue–Fri 2-4pm T:(028) 9023 5515 E:bodypositive@wydeworld.com 1 AIDS Help North West/Letterkenny Helpline (074) 912 5500 1

HELPLINES Lesbian Line (028) 902 386 68 Thursdays 7.30-10pm 1 Cara Friend Belfast (028) 903 220 23 Monday – Wednesday 7.30-10pm 1 Rainbow Project Belfast 2-8 Commercial Court, Belfast BT1 2NB T: (028) 90319030 sexual health info and counselling 1 The Rainbow Project 12A Queen Street Derry BT48 7EG T: (028) 712 83030 1 AIDS Help North West/Letterkenny Helpline (074) 912 5500 1 The HIV Support Centre Mon-Fri 9-5pm T:0800 137 437 or (028) 902 49 268 E: info@thehivsupportcentre.org.uk 1 Donegal Text Line: 085 741 1607. E: LGBT@donegalyouthservice.ie 1

STUDENT LGBT SOCIETIES 1 Queen’s University Belfast : qub_lgb@hotmail.com 1 Letterkenny Institute of Technology: lgbt-lyit@hotmail.com. PSNI MINORITY LIAISON OFFICERS Third party reporting of incidents can be made to: Rainbow Project Belfast. 2-8 Commercial Court Belfast BT 1 2NB. (028) 90319030 www.rainbow-project.org; 12A Queen Street Derry BT48 7EG T: (028) 712 83030; Cara-Friend Gay Helpline (028) 90322023 or admin@cara-friend.org.uk; Lesbian Line (028) 90238668 or admin@ lesbianlinebelfast.org.uk 1 North Belfast 028 9025 9207 1 South Belfast 028 9070 0509 1 East Belfast 028 9025 9763 1 West Belfast 028 9025 9892 1 Antrim 028 9448 1657 1 Ards 028 91 829041 1 Armagh 028 37 521153 1 Ballymena 028 2566 4013 1 Ballymoney/Moyle 028 276 49 668 1 Banbridge 028 40 621368 1 Carrickfergus 028 90 259622 1 Castlereagh 028 90 901314 1 Coleraine 028 70 280906 1 Cookstown 028 79 399406 1 Craigavon 028 3831 5355 1 Down 028 44 611109 1 Dungannon & Sth Tyrone 028 97 750503 1 East Belfast 028 90 259824 1 Fermanagh 028 66 321557 1 Foyle 028 71 739751 1 Larne 028 28 271055 1 Limavady 028 7776 6797 1 Lisburn 028 92 600978 1 Magherafelt 028 7963 3701 1 Newry & Mourne 028 3083 2067 1 Newtownabbey 028 90 259319 1 Nth Down 028 91 474957 1 Omagh 028 8224 6177 1 Strabane 028 71 379803

CORK, KERRY & THE SOUTH MONDAYS 1 Phase 2 is a group offering a supportive welcoming space for older (35+) lesbian/bisexual women - 3rd Monday of each month 7.30 - 9.30pm. Tel: (021) 480 8600, E: info@linc.ie 1 Kerry LGBT Resource Night (LGBT speakers etc.), third Mon of the month, contact KGLP, 087 294 7266 TUESDAYS 1 Pink Parade on Cork Campus Radio, 97.4FM - Topical matters & great music for Cork’s LGBT community, from 3-4pm with Allan and guests. 1 L.Inc Drop-in - women only space - 11am 3pm Tel: (021) 480 8600, E: info@linc.ie WEDNESDAYS 1 L.Inc Drop-in - women only space - 11am 3pm Tel: (021) 480 8600, E: info@linc.ie 1 South Drop-in Centre Waterford. Every Weds 8-10pm 1 Gay cinema night @ The Other Place cinema, 8 South Main Street, 8pm every Wednesday E5/3 Conc. Tel: (021) 427 8470 THURSDAYS L.Inc Drop-in - women only space - 11am 3pm Tel: (021) 480 8600, E: info@linc.ie 1 UNITE Youth Group. A safe, fun, social space for Gay and Bisexual 17 23 year olds at The Other Place, 6-9pm, www.gayyouthcork.com 1 Kerry LGBT Movie Night, first Thurs of month, contact KGLP, 087 294 7266 1

FRIDAYS Kerry Social nights, Killarney & Tralee, 9.30pm, 2nd and 4th Fri of the month respectively, contact Richard at 086 205 4912 1 Cork Gay Men’s Dining Group, 3 Fri of month to dine at local restaurant, 085 270 2396, www.corkdininggroup.com 1

SUNDAYS 1 Cork Gay Hillwalkers group for gay men meet the 1st and 3rd Sunday

of each month. Mountain hikes in Cork/Kerry/Tipperary/Waterford. T: (087) 973 6636 www.corkgayhillwalkers.com COMMUNITY CENTRES 1 L.Inc resource centre for LBT women, 11A White St., Cork. Opening times: Monday-Friday 11-3pm Phone line 9-5pm daily. Tel: (021) 480 8600, email: info@linc.ie, www.linc.ie 1 Cork Gay Project for GB Men, Dunlaoi, 8 North Mall, Cork, T: (021) 4278 470, www.gayprojectcork.com 1 The Other Place, 8 South Main Street, Cork T: (021) 4278 470 1 Waterford: sOUTh Drop in Centre. Chat, movies, games, books. Cheshire Homes, John’s Hill, (St Parick’s Hospital), 1st & 3rd Wed of each month, 8-10pm, E: southlgbt@gmail.com, T: 086 214 7633

HIV GCN is asking HIV positive lesbian, bisexual, gay and trans people, and those living with Aids, to share their stories with us. Come June 15 2010, when Irish Aids Day takes place, we will be sharing those stories with the entire gay community in a special edition of GCN that we hope will promote understanding. Although we would prefer all those who of you who share your stories to be photographed, this is not compulsory. If you want to be included in this very special project, please email editor@gcn.ie and express your interest. We look forward to hearing from you. OTHER GROUPS Cork Gay Men’s Dining Group, 085 2702396, www.corkdininggroup.com 1 North Kerry/West Limerick LGBT, Listowel Family Resource Centre each Saturday night, Call Martin, 086 855 6431 1 Kerry Gay & Lesbian Project, contact 087 294 7266, kerrygayandlesbianproject@gmail.com, www.gaykerry.com 1 Kerry running club, kerryfrontrunners@gmail.com 1 MEN (Male Emerging Network), social/support group for gay men, meets monthly www.gaycork.com/men 1 Mna Mna Ladies Choir, T: (021) 480 8600, info@linc.ie 1 Gaycork.com Social Groups, montly social events, info@gaycork.com, www.gaycork.com 1 Positive Positive: confidential support group for HIV GB men in Munster area, T: 085 834 3939, www.posposmunster.com 1 Out4Tennis Cork, for men and women, www.outinireland.net 1

HEALTH HELP STD Clinic at Victoria Hospital., Cork Apt Necessary. Mon, Tues, Thurs 9.30-11.45am and Wed 2.30-4.30pm T: (021) 496 6844 1 STD Clinic at Waterford Regional Hospital Mon 2-4pm & Tues 10am-12pm T: (051) 854149 1

HELPLINES Gay/Bi Men’s Helpline Cork (021) 427 1087, Tue & Wed, 7-9pm 1 Cork Lesbian Line (021) 431 8318 8-10pm Thursdays 1 Kerry G & L Line (076) 615 4124, Tues 7.30 - 9.30 1 AIDS Helpline (021) 427 6676 10am-5pm Mon-Fri & 7-9pm Tues 1 NA Helpline (021) 427 8411 8pm-10pm Mon - Fri 1 AA Helpline (021) 450 0481 8pm-10pm every night 1

STUDENT LGBT SOCIETIES University College Cork meet weekly W: www.ucclgbt.com E: lgbt@uccsocieties.ie 1 Waterford IT (WIT) LGBT Society T: 087 252 7838, www.witlgbt.wetpaint.com 1 Tralee IT: LGBT@students.ittralee.ie or call Ben at 085 754 7110 1

GARDA LIAISON OFFICERS Cork Bridewell - Karl Griffin 0214943330 1 Waterford - Inspector Padraig Dunne 051 305300 1 Waterford - Garda Sinead Donoghue 051 305 300 1

BED & BREAKFASTS A Roman House B+B, 3 St John’s Terrace, Upper John St Cork. T: 021 450 3606 www.interglobal.ie/romanhouse E: rhbb@eircom.net

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directory 1

Æmerson House, 2 Clarence Terrace Summer Hill North, Cork T: 086 834 0891, www.emersonhouse.cork.com

GALWAY, THE WEST & NORTH WEST MONDAYS 1 Self Defence and Awareness Classes for Women in Limerick. Call Jai Chan on 087 676 1663. TUESDAYS ’I’m Out Here’ informal meet up every Tuesday in Sligo at 10pm. Text 087 986 2400 for details or log onto 1 LGB Drop-Ins – call (091) 564 611 Wed 8-10pm or (091) 566 134 Tues & Thurs 8-10pm 1

WEDNESDAYS LGB Drop-Ins – call (091) 564611 Wed 8-10pm or (091) 566 134 Tues & Thurs 8-10pm

1

THURSDAYS LGB Drop-Ins – call (091) 564611 Wed 8-10pm or (091) 566 134 Tues & Thurs 8-10pm 1 Limerick Women’s social group meets every 2nd & 4th Thurs of the month at 7.30-9.30 in Rainbow Support Services, Contact us on (061) 310 101 E: rainbowlmk@eircom.net 1

FRIDAYS OUTWEST Gay group for the West and North West, meets monthly first Fri of every month and holds discos and other events regularly. T: 087 972 5586 www.outwestireland.ie, E: info@outwestireland.ie

1

SATURDAYS LGBT Youth Group meets every Saturday. Contact us on (061) 310101 or E: rainbowlmk@eircom.net for further info.

1

SUNDAYS Northwest Queer Brunches the second Sunday of each month, meets 1pm at the Glasshouse Hotel, Sligo. All welcome.

1

Don’t Don’t get get left left out! out! If you have a community listing advertise it for free in our community pages. Simply email the information (max 20 words) to deputy@gcn.ie

COMMUNITY CENTRES Rainbow Support Services in Rainbow Support Services, Leamy House, Hartstonge Street, Limerick City. Supporting the Mid-West Community. Drop-in Mon-Sat 10-4pm, evenings MonSun 6-10pm 1 Rainbow Centre at 29 Mallow Street Limerick T: (061) 468 611 E: rainbowlmk@eircom.net 1

OTHER GROUPS LGBT Youth Group for 14-23s. Safe, confidential, relaxed and fun environment for LGBT young people to meet. Info E: curiousgalway@gmail.com. 1 Gay Clare Group, organises social events and supplies info, www. gayclare.com, 085 721 2674 1 Over The Rainbow Drama Group, Sligo, Merville Community Centre, every Wed 7.30pm, contact Brian: 085 803 3665 1 AZURE - Sligo based social group, holding regular meetings and events, www.azuregay.com 1 Midwest dining group meeting in Tipperary. Contact Joe on 086 898 9626 for more details 1

HEALTH HELP AIDS West T: (091) 562 213 E: info@aidswest.ie, www.aidswest.ie 1 Red Ribbon Project (061) 314 354 1 LGB Alcoholics Anonymous for people in the Galway and Midlands area, every Saturday, 7.30pm. Call Denis (087 295 6233) or Paddy (087 250 7580) for details. 1

HELPLINES Clare Area Lesbian Information Line. To find out what’s going on in Clare Tel: 087 949 4725 E:clarelesinfo4@eircom.net 1 OutWest Gay Helpline: T: 094 937 2479 OUT (For information or a chat in confidence) Wednesday nights 8 - 10pm 1 Gay Galway (091) 566 134 Tuesday & Thursdays 8-10pm 1 Lesbian Line (091) 564 611 Wed 8-10pm 1 AIDS West T: (091) 562 213 E: info@aidswest.ie, www.aidswest.ie 1 Rainbow Support Services Limerick. Supporting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transvestite, Transgendered people; their families and friends. Confidential Helpline: (061) 310 101 Business Telephone: (061) 468 611. e-mail: rainbowlmk@eircom.net 1

The Limerick Gay Switchboard and Lesbian Line is available Monday to Friday 9-5, and Tuesday nights 7.30-9.30pm for details Tel: 061 310 101 Tuesday and Thursday 7.30pm-9.30pm. 1 Red Ribbon Project T: (061) 314 354 www.redribbonproject.com Mon-Fri 9.30am-5.30pm, Thursday til 7pm 1 Gay Sligo E: sligout@hotmail.com 1 NW Lesbian Line (071) 914 7905 Tuesdays 8-10pm 1

STUDENT LGBT SOCIETIES Out in UL E: outinul@yahoo.ie 1 Mary Immaculate College, Limerick LGBT Meet once a week, details by email to: maryilgbt@hotmail.com 1 Sligo IT. E: rainbowsoc@gay.com 1

GARDA LIAISON OFFICERS Clare/Shannon - Garda Paul Clancy, 061 365900 1 Galway - Sergeant Gerry Mangan 091 768 001 Oranmore - Paul Keane 091 794122 Castlebar - John Mahan 094 90222222 1

BED & BREAKFASTS SIDE BY SIDE B& B, Salthill. T: 087 941 7797/087 204 6285, email: sidebysidebandb@gmail.com, www.sidebyside1.com 1 Galway B&B (gay friendly), Close to city centre and Salthill, www.amberhillbb.com or 1800 321 123 1 East Clare ‘Gloccamorra’ B&B, Scarrif (gay owned), overloooking Lough Derg, 061 923172, www.gloccamorra.com 1

THE MIDLANDS GROUPS 1 AA for the LGB community in the Midlands area call 087 912 2685 or 087 679 8495 for details 1 Gay Westmeath, T: 086 066 6469, www.gaywestmeath.com 1 Éist youth group T: 086 303 5597 E: gbai@eircom.net GARDA LIAISON OFFICERS Athlone - Garda Pat Keegan 0906 649 2609 1 Athlone - Garda Mary O Connor 0906 649 2609 1

John A Reidy & Co. SOLICITORS Our Legal Services include: Property: Residential & Commercial Conveyancing, Probate & Wills Matters

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MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR from all at GSD

Your Life, Your Way! MON - THURS 7PM - 9PM

t: (01) 872 1055

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What to do PLACING AN AD Write the wording of your ad in block capitals. Ensure that you have enclosed the correct amount (postal order or cheque, no cash) to cover the total cost of your ad. Ads are charged as follows: up to 20 words, e13.00. Additional words, e0.60 per word. Box numbers are provided free. CONDITIONS All classifieds must be pre–paid, and advertisers must supply their full name, address and phone number (these are not for publication). Personal ads are published by GCN in good faith, and we ask any reader who feels the section has been abused to let us know. GCN reserves the right to amend or omit any ad submitted. Acceptance of an ad or payment thereof cannot be taken as implying any guarantee that the ad will be published. While care is taken to ensure the accuracy of ads printed, GCN will not be liable for any loss claimed as a result of any inaccuracy. REPLYING TO AN AD Seal your reply in an envelope and write the box no. of the ad which you’re replying to in pencil in the upper right hand corner of the envelope. Enclose a loose 55c Irish stamp or equivalent postal order or International Reply Coupon, (please, no cash or foreign stamps!), in a larger envelope, and send to: GCN Classifieds, Unit 2 Scarlet Row, Essex Street West, Temple Bar, Dublin 8, Ireland. Any replies received without adequate postage shall be destroyed. Circulars will be intercepted and destroyed.

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relationships

I’M DREADING CHRISTMAS WITH MY FAMILY BUT DON’T WANT TO STAY ON MY OWN EITHER

Dear Ray, I’m really stressing out about Christmas. By this stage I should know what to expect as it has been the same year after year, but this year just seems worse, maybe because I am at a certain age where the chances of anything ever changing for me are less and less. Every year my family get together, though I don’t know why, as it always ends in arguments and someone storming out or leaving early, and for whatever reason the blame seems to land on me. There is always some sibling falling out with another and somehow I am involved. Being the only single one, who doesn’t even seem to have a personal life as far as my family is concerned, I never have anyone backing me up. My brothers and sisters know I’m gay but not my parents as they are very elderly now. Maybe I waited too long, but certainly no-one ever supported the idea of me coming out. I really don’t want to go to my family, but what else can I do? In a way I think I would hate even more to have to spend Christmas on my own, sitting in my flat with nobody around. It is not that I don’t have friends, but those that are in couples are in their own space, and at the end of the day they have each other to turn to. I hate this whole pressure to be having fun and being with family. It just makes being single and on your own even worse. Maybe I am just having a moan, but my hatred and anxiety and frustration with the whole thing are just getting me so down. Any ideas? Stephen Dear Stephen, Don’t you know that no one is allowed dislike the sacred cow of Christmas, even when it is a complete turkey? Everyone is invested in having a Hallmark Christmas, with Coca-Cola Santa’s and fairy lights. It is all a big consumerist lie and no one dares expose the Emperor’s new Christmas clothes. But Stephen, I can’t help sensing that the whole silly season is pushing you to an unwanted confrontation with something deeper. The potential for a Queen Vic family Christmas only intensifies when, for this one day, we dull over the cracks and differences of the other 364 with a nice layer of alcohol. You don’t need Freud in your Christmas stocking to sense repression return with a vengeance. If you are in a tense situation avoid alcohol, for at a minimum it will give you the freedom to drive out of there when the going gets tough. It is the tough who get going first, leaving the others in the mire, and why should you have to stay just because you are single? You have someone to look after - yourself. At some level, certainly unconsciously, your parents already know you are gay. That is why your personal life goes completely ignored by the family. I cannot say whether you should or shouldn’t tell them, only that whatever decision you make, should not be your siblings’ decision, but yours. There is certain significance to your “having

waited too long” beyond your coming out to your parents. What else have you waited too long for? And is time the issue, or your waiting? Passive waiting often leads to depression because we feel things in our lives are happening to us rather than we making them happen. Choose choice. If you don’t choose to be with your family, then choose to take a holiday, or choose a nice hotel, or choose to be in your home and offer other people to choice of spending the 25th with you. The shadow side of Christmas, which is never advertised, is that it is the loneliest times of the year, the busiest time for groups such as the Samaritans. You are not alone as a gay man, or indeed any person, in facing this. Even if you were to choose to help the Simon Community distribute food on Christmas Day you will feel better not only because of the value of the work and the perfect excuse it offers to not be on your own or with family, but because you made the decision rather than having that decision made for you. We are fed a certain picture of Christmas, of relationships, of happiness, of our lives, all prepackaged and impossible. Make your own versions of these things. Cook your own Christmas. You may indeed be on your own, but you will not be lonely. Ray Ray is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist specialising in individual and relationship counselling. He can be contacted on 086 828 0033

RelationTips Ten Ways to Have a Simply Wonderful Christmas Time

1. If you are with family or friends, take some

some time out within it all for yourself. 2. Be conscious of the emotional pressure, yours

and others, to not be single or alone. 3. A pet may hopefully not be just for Christmas,

but a shag very definitely is, especially at midnight on St Stephen’s Day. Don’t be deluded. 4. Do something that is yours and is about you and those you want to spend time with. 5. Beware the ghost of Christmas past. History may be his story but it does not have to be yours. 6. Beware the ghosts of Christmas present(s). Never forget the true message of our overcommercialised consumerist Christmas is about inadequacy. 7. Beware ghosts of Christmas future. Seek out prospects with more substance than spirits. 8. Christmas does not have to be totally selfinvolved, positively or negatively. Do something for the greater good, be it in charity, volunteering, or friendly affability. 9. Whatever about it being better to give than to receive, it’s always best to be safe. 10. If you love someone, tell them.

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15/12/2009 14:45


scopes

YOUR PLANETARY FORECAST FOR JANUARY WITH OEIN DE BHAIRDÚIN

Star Icons Cary Grant, Born January 18, 1904 A typical Capricorn is ambitious and practical to a fault, which aptly describes Cary Grant, a man who turned himself from a poor Bristol boy called Archie Leach into one of the most sophisticated movie stars on the planet. He was quoted as saying, “Everybody wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant,” which sums up his self-depreciating Capricorn humour to a tee. Although he was married six times, Grant lived with Randolph Hearst on and off for 12 years in what was considered by many as a gay relationship. True to his star sign’s secretive nature, he never uttered a word about it.

CAPRICORN DEC 22 TO JAN 20 Challenge your ability to communicate and connect with others this month. While keeping your heart safe may aid feelings of security, it does not encourage the blossoming of a wild romance. Know your responsibilities and fulfil them, but do not carry others who also have their parts to play. AQUARIUS JAN 21 TO FEB 18 While those around you risk being out of rhythm with life, due to the lingering presence of Mercury retrograde, you will be inspired and full of ideas this month. Your values and needs are all the more clear to you. Listen to, and act with, your heart. PISCES FEB 19 TO MARCH 20 With Jupiter and Neptune in conjunction at the start of the month take care not to throw financial caution to the wind. Mercury retrograde makes way for possibilities of some real relaxation, as long as practicalities are taken care of. Don’t stand in line waiting, as it’s best to strike while the iron is hot!

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ARIES MARCH 21 TO APRIL 20 To turn things in your favour be sure to stand strong in your convictions. Do not be too prompt in giving others your opinion, as right now they may not be entirely open to the realistic truth. In listening attentively to others you will hear beyond the words to the silent deeper issue in play. TAURUS APRIL 21 TO MAY 21 The stars reflect on past sacrifices for you this month, so you can expect to receive recognition for the heartfelt actions of the past. Efforts to reconnect with a loved one do not go without success but be sure to understand the consequences of your wish. GEMINI MAY 22 TO JUNE 21 Try not to spend too much time with your colleagues if you want to avoid problems later. This month expect to be far more emotional than usual as you are releasing a lot of past pains and severing bonds that don’t serve you or anyone else very well. Sometimes in order to move forward you need to sacrifice old, fruitless endeavours.

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CANCER JUNE 22 TO JULY 22 It is best to channel your energy and attention into manifesting plans and ambitions this month. High hopes can only be reached if you’re willing to overcome the struggle of the climb. A festering worry is laid to rest this in an unexpected way. LEO JULY 23 TO AUG 23 The Saturn-Pluto square that dominates the month will make you want to find meaning and purpose in even the most mundane of activities. Remember that although Saturn is bringing up issues of commitment and structure it’s best not be stressed by this. VIRGO AUG 24 TO SEPT 22 You might be just a little more tense then usual, but there are many exciting things waiting to happen for you, if only you would allow yourself to embrace them. Although the changes are not all welcome, they are needed. LIBRA SEPT 23 TO OCT 23 Make sure to make time to spend with family or friends as re-rooting your life in the kindness of others will help nurture your soul. Be careful about information as some things are best kept with those you trust. SCORPIO OCT 24 TO NOV 22 The stars will facilitate some really interesting connections. There will be plenty of drama and upsets when people learn information they weren’t supposed to know. Steer clear of such things unless you want to be counted among the wounded. SAGITTARIUS NOV 23 TO DEC 21 Take care to listen to the advice given to others this month as their issues may very well be a mirror for you own life. Be sure to avoid arguments based on your own whims as right now its best to work with factual understandings.

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epi:log/opinion Una Mullally Colm O’Gorman Declan Cashin Ailbhe Smyth Deborah Ballard David Norris Suzy Byrne Stephen Meyler Lisa Connell Rory O’Neill Anna Nolan Quentin Fottrell

The Murphy Report has begun the unravelling of the nexus of power controlled by the Catholic Church in this country.

W

ith the Murphy report into the handling of allegations of child sex abuse in the Dublin diocese, it is now absolutely clear that the Church protected itself at the expense of victims of abuse, whose safety seemed less important than the fear of ‘scandal’. In some cases it was abetted by the Garda Siochána. Against this nexus of power, children and their parents stood no chance. Scorn has been poured on the plea by some in the hierarchy that they didn’t understand abuse in earlier days, and it certainly comes ill from the mouths of those who insured against claims as far back as 1987. Some guards and clerics did act swiftly when a case of abuse came to light, but failed to bring the offender to court or warn others, thus putting other children at risk. Perhaps it was unthinkable to them that an abusing priest would reoffend, although it is clear from the report that Archbishop Ryan understood the recidivist nature of abusers as early as 1981. But even for those who were not aware, nothing can excuse a second relocation of an abusing priest. People have seen the self-serving behaviour of the Church for what it is and will never again

accept the old authoritarianism. We understand that abuse goes hand in hand with control, and much of the anger is fuelled by the way the Church exerted such fierce control over the sexuality of the faithful, while covering up abuse by priests and religious. The Church has always been a past master at inculcating guilt, even where none was merited, and guilt breeds blame. The blame is richly deserved, but there’s poetic justice in the degree of fury directed at the Church. Ordinary Catholics were treated like children by their Church; questioning what went on in institutions or taking the word of a child against that of a priest, must have taken enormous courage, a leap of faith, even. Since we have inherited a guilt-ridden culture, guilt for not believing, not asking, must be swilling around in the collective unconscious, and unconscious guilt may become focused exclusively on blame. Blaming the Church is not enough. We need to take on our democratic responsibility for ensuring that every child, in every family, in any institution, is protected in future. It is not just a matter of holding those in authority accountable; we need to actively look out for children. What does not serve our children is being so panicky about abuse that we see or suspect it where it does not exist. We have reached the point where some parents will not let little children run naked on the beach, fathers are afraid to take photos of their babies in the bath, and social workers are afraid to help damaged young people without a string of protocols to protect themselves. Worst of all, there is a risk that children and young people who have been in contact with an abuser, but have not themselves been abused, may be made to doubt the reality of their experience. In the English Cleveland case in the ‘80s, enormous damage was done to children who had not been abused, by social workers who did not believe them. Can we be confident, in the present climate, that that could never happen again? We have started unravelling the nexus of power and sexuality, but do not seem to have got very far with questions of independence and agency. We now look askance at any intergenerational relationship (with the

“People have seen the self-serving behaviour of the Church for what it is and will never again accept the old authoritarianism.” exception of Rich Older Man and Trophy Wife, a pairing apparently sanctified by antiquity). This even happens where the younger partner is well into his or her 20s. Doesn’t this infantilise adults in precisely the way the Church infantilised the faithful? It is more difficult in the case of adolescents who initiate sexual contact with older people, as they are indeed more vulnerable, but that does not necessarily mean they are going to come to harm. Most of us had our first experience of sex with someone older, and they weren’t all exploitative bastards; some of us were lucky enough to find protective sexual mentors. Young people exploring their sexuality are sometimes being made to feel as though there’s something wrong with them, just as people were made to feel guilty about sex by the Church. The panic about sexual danger has brought about an obsession with the safety of children and adolescents. I know of a couple who take turns on 24-hour duty to supervise their 17 yearold son, to prevent him slipping out to meet men he’s ‘met’ on the net. Yes, you’d worry, but why are they so sure that their son is incapable of keeping himself safe? Shouldn’t we be bringing up our children to learn by their mistakes, gradually letting them have more and more freedom to do so? It is essential to have codes of conduct protecting children from those in loco parentis - teachers, priests, doctors as these are relationships in which children are encouraged to trust and so can easily be betrayed. But I do wonder about the way this has been extended to university tutors and their adult students. Isn’t there something wrong with a society where adults, however young, have not yet learned to say no to unwanted sexual advances, even from people in a position of power? If we are to keep our children and adolescents safe we need to empower them. Enshrining rights for children in the Constitution would be a good start, but we also need to unravel our more dubious cultural inheritance.

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