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Issue 258 June 2011 Free www.gcn.ie

Men at Work Pop goes the gender queer

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THERE ARE 34 COUNTRIES IN EUROPE WITH BETTER RIGHTS FOR LGBT PEOPLE THAN IRELAND.

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n May 17, International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO), ILGAEurope published its annual Rainbow Europe Map. This map rates each European country’s laws and administrative practices according to 24 categories, including relationship recognition and parenting rights of same-sex couples, and ranks countries on a scale between 17 (highest - full legal equality) and minus 7 (lowest gross violations of LGBT people’s human rights). Surprisingly, Ireland was ranked 16th of 50 European countries, with just five points, behind countries such as Croatia, Finland and Hungary. The UK topped the list with 12.5 points. Surprising, because there’s a perception among many LGBT people in Ireland that everything is just fine right now. Civil Partnership legislation, along with the recognition of transgender woman Lydia Foy’s gender on her birth certificate, seem to point to an Ireland that is a very different place to a decade ago; a place unimaginable 18 years ago, when homosexuality was decriminalised. Our positive visibility grows every day, in the media and on the streets. For example, Cork City Council introduced Ireland’s first LGB Awareness Week on IDAHO this year and local councils around Ireland are working directly with LGBT Pride organisations to set up the summer’s celebrations of our sexual orientation. Yet in the current analysis we only come 16th in the top 50, with LGBT people in 34 other European countries enjoying greater equality than we do. Looking at the index – which is oddly reminiscent of the Eurovision leaderboard – it’s clear we are at the losing end because of the anomalies created by civil partnership legislation. While we get two points for registered partnership recognition, we lose four points for lack of marriage equality. We also lose three points for the lack of joint adoption rights, second parent adoption and rights to fertility treatment. Beyond a country’s borders, the Rainbow Europe Map is an indication of how that country’s government legislates for LGBT equality, but it may not show how the people of that country feel about LGBT people. This year’s Eurovision winners, Azerbaijan, has minus two points, with absolutely no rights for LGBT people on its statute books. But on the ground, attitudes and lives in Azerbaijan may be very different to the picture the Rainbow Map paints. As Mark O’Halloran points out about Iran in his article on the back page of this issue, “I was discovering that people are not their governments and that in Iran the populace are way ahead of their rulers.” The most recent polls make it clear that if the attitudes of the Irish people were actually taken into account by our government, Ireland would be flying high beside the UK on ILGA’s Rainbow Europe Map. 73% of Irish people support the provision of equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. If same-sex couples had access to equal

the first word

“If the attitudes of the Irish people were actually taken into account by our government, Ireland would be flying high on the Rainbow Europe Map.” marriage rights, the inequities regarding adoption and fertility treatment would be ironed out. This year on August 14, the third March For Marriage, organised by LGBT Noise, will take place. I will be attending that march with a clear objective: I want to see Ireland climb up the index on the Rainbow Europe Map. I want our country to be recognised beyond our shores for the wonderful, open and accepting place it is, not the piecemeal place, rife with inequalities that this year’s Rainbow Europe Map depicts. The only way to change that is to constantly and consistently let our elected leaders know that equality is the clear way forward for all parts of Irish society, both as individuals and organisations in the LGBT sector. Our government and its opposition should know that as citizens of Ireland, with the support of the majority of our fellow citizens, we demand the respect each of us as an individual deserves, and the rights our families deserve. We also need our politicians to know that the idea that civil partnership is enough and that we should go away and be happy with our lot, is not supported by the majority of Irish people. The brilliant move by the first March For Marriage in 2009 was to encourage marchers to bring their family and friends to march in support of equality for all. The resulting crowd was so large that it became one of the biggest civil rights marches in the history of this country. It’s time we brought out our families and friends again, as a clear indication that we’re not resting on our laurels, that we are regrouping and organising and we are not going to go away until we get what we deserve. There are all sorts of misconceptions about the Irish beyond our shores nowadays, with stories surfacing daily about how we squandered our wealth, to now find ourselves at the mercy of the IMF. Don’t let the story that Ireland fails to treat all the families who live under its laws with equal respect add to those misconceptions. Put August 14 in your diary now and march for marriage. In the meantime, you can help LGBT Noise in their efforts to stage the march by attending their Pub Quiz in the Front Lounge on June 2.

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WE got mail PARENTAL LOVE Dear Editor, I have been reading GCN for the past five years and only now find myself moved to write in. The reason? Because of the wonderful piece by Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan in your last issue (Epilog, Issue 257) about the importance of family in the struggle for lesbian and gay equality. I came out to my parents when I was 18, several years ago. It was not a happy experience. I was asked to leave my home and told that unless I changed my ways, I was not welcome back. My father said to me, ‘I have no daughter’. It was an incredibly painful time in my life. Reading of the journey Katherine’s parents made in understanding her humanity and learning to love both her and Ann Louise unconditionally brought tears to my eyes. Happily my own parents have made a similar journey. Last Christmas I brought my partner home to stay and she was welcomed into the fold of our family. My father is full of remorse for what he said to me, although I have long forgiven him. My mother has turned from a woman who thought gay people were a scourge of society and evil sinners to a mother who wastes no time in telling people that her daughter is a lesbian and that she loves her. She is coming to Dublin this June to see the Gay Pride parade with her own eyes and is very excited about it. I shared Katherine’s article with my parents. They both read it and were similarly moved. Through confronting and learning about my sexuality, they have also learned how to love unconditionally and I write this letter as a tribute to them too. The journey we have made together is a privileged one, where both my parents and I have grown to know each other on a deeper level. I wish that all parents and children, whether they be gay or straight, could

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.

go on the same journey. Thank you for publishing Katherine and Ann Louise’s piece. Yours, Emma SHUT-UP JEDWARD! Dear Editor, Love them or hate them, Jedward certainly have made an impression on millions of people all over the world. At the Eurovision Song Contest they beat off some pretty stiff competition to come an admirable eighth (a lot more than they deserved, in my opinion!). A few days beforehand I was in my local newsagents and my gaze happened to rest on the frontpage news headlines. Did they read, ‘Jedward’s grandfather died’? Did they read, ‘Edward had a panic attack’? No, they read ‘Jedward: “We’re not gay”’. Jedward should be encouraging young people not to care whether someone is gay or not. By announcing their sexual orientation to the world they are not only making an issue out of being gay, they are also encouraging children and teenagers, who are their main fanbase, to pick someone out, differentiate them and maybe harass them simply because they are gay. Jedward should have kept their mouths shut. Yours Sincerely, Barry O’Sullivan. DOUZE POINTS! Dear Editor, What an amazing night we had at the GCN Eurovision Party! It was one of the best Eurovision nights I’ve had since I was a child and watched it with the family, getting excited about Ireland’s chances as the points stacked up. It was a shame that Jedward didn’t win, but the night was a total winner for me, professionally organised, full of fun and great friendliness – a true queer community event with a difference. Please, please, please do it again next year! Yours, Brendan Malone

Unit 2, Scarlet Row, Essex Street West, Temple Bar, Dublin 8, Ireland. TEL: (01) 671 9076 / 671 0939 / 671 9325 FAX: (01) 671 3549 Managing Editor: Brian Finnegan editor@gcn.ie Deputy Editor: Ciara McGrattan deputy@gcn.ie Advertising Manager: Conor Wilson conor@gcn.ie Distribution Manager: Lisa Connell distribution@gcn.ie Design & Layout: Fionán Healy & Karl Toomey production@gcn.ie Web Design & Maintenance: Fruit Design, www.fruitdesign.ie Contributors: Conor Behan, Brian Byrne, Paul Coffey, Oein DeBhairduin, Sinéad Deegan, Brian Drinan, Hayley Fox Roberts, Patrick Gormley, Jimmy Goulding, Kieran Grimes, Mark O’Halloran, Darren Kennedy, Vanessa Lacey, Ray O’Neill, Jeanette Rehnstrom, Gerard Skehan, Bernadete Smyth, Noel Sutton Cover Shoot: Paul Rowley Photography: Aaron McGrath 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, Mark Lacey, Richard Lucey, Patrick Lynch, Olivia McEvoy, Ray Molloy, Fionnagh Nally, Ciaran O’Hultachain, Neil Ward, Josh Whelan 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 2010 The total average distribution of GCN as certified by the Audit Bureau of Circulation for the period Jan – Dec 2010 was 11,001 per issue.

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PRo:log/community

NEWS The GCN Forever campaign is about sustainability, not only of the publication and website, but for the Irish LGBT community in a time of big change in this country. As a very moving letter to the editor this month (headlined ‘Parental Love’ shows), GCN is a unique publication that not only gives lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people in this country a voice, it helps educate those beyond our community about who we really are. GCN plays another very important role, one which is central to the mission of the NLGF but one which is often taken for granted – it is an ongoing record of our community, a wealthy archive of material that tells the story of LGBT Ireland

since GCN was first published in 1987. In this issue alone we have an interview with the first gay male couple to be fully approved for fostering in Ireland; an interview with transgender woman Louise Hannon, who won a landmark equality case against an employer who discriminated against her; a feature debating the Irish Blood Transfusion Service lifetime ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood, with comments from the IBTS about the ban; and a feature about how gay life has evolved in Cork as Cork City Council introduces Ireland’s first ever LGB Awareness Week. This is a core part of what GCN is about, and in every issue you will find similar records and reportage of how LGBT Ireland is growing celebrating our march forward. By donating to the GCN Forever fund, in whatever way you can, you are sustaining this important ongoing record of our lives, a record that not only reinforces our community but also tells our stories to the wider public. This month we received private donations through direct debit and generous people walking through our doors of €425. To each of you, thank you very much. Your philanthropic spirit is our sustaining force. So too are community minded businesses like The George in Dublin who generously gave €1,000 from the door takings to their Thai Full Moon party on May 13. We love you long time, The G! Our Eurovision Douze Points Party on May 14 in The Sugar Club

GCN is a registered charity and needs your support to continue publishing through these difficult times. Fill in the form below and set up a standing order to help us over the next 12 months or send cheque or postal order for whatever you can afford to GCN, Unit 2, Scarlet Row, Essex Street West, Dublin 2

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was a sell-out success and a hoot to boot. Cheers for Jedward were so loud; they might have been heard in Cologne! We raised €2,221 at it. Big shout out to everyone who bought raffle tickets, and an even bigger shout out to Anna McCarthy (Julian Mandrews), The Nualas, Tallulah Boom Boom, DJ Alex Murphy, Oisín Davis, Dave and all at the Sugar Club, and Jenny in flagsireland.com, Richard Brickley and ABSOLUT Vodka, and all the businesses who donated raffle prizes. Clare Butler nominated GCN as a recipient of the Office of Public Works (OPW) Employees Benevolent fund, bringing a very welcome €100 to our bottom line. Thanks Clare and all at the OPW! Mother continues to pack happy GCN Forever supporters in for nights of seriously good fun and this month the club donated €2,395, so this month the total in fundraising is €6,141, a record month since we began the campaign and reinforcing proof that our community cares deeply about this community resource. Keep on supporting GCN Forever, your commitment to this publication is a commitment to sustaining your community.

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MEETING Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. The Outhouse LGBT Group of Alcoholics Anonymous are holding an Open Meeting on Friday, June 17 at 8pm in Outhouse, 105 Capel Street, Dublin 1. There will be refreshments and chat afterwards and all are welcome.

SING WITH GLÓRIA Glória, Dublin’s Lesbian and Gay Choir, returns again to The National Concert Hall on June 11 with The Colours Concert, a musical journey over the rainbow with the use of colour in music as its theme. From Monteverdi to Madonna, deep darkness to brilliant sunshine, with a couple of surprises along the way, it promises to be a summer’s night to remember. And this year you can be part of the magic by joining the choir for a song. Glória is looking for 100 people (50 men and 50 women) to join them performing Cyndi Lauper’s True Colours. A workshop rehearsal will be held on Monday, June 6 from 7pm to 9.30pm in Dublin City Centre. Participants will be required to be at the National Concert Hall at 5.30pm on Saturday, June 11 for the pre-concert rehearsal. If you would like to be part of the concert and perform with Glória at the National Concert Hall, send your name, email and phone number to info@ gloria.ie specifying your gender. An administration charge of €10 will apply to cover rehearsal and music costs. This charge includes your seat in the Choir Balcony of the National Concert Hall.

CORK LAUNCHES IRELAND’S FIRST competition EVER LGB AWARENESS WEEK From May 16 to 22, Cork City Council held an LGB Awareness Week, the first of its kind in Ireland. The week was primarily about raising awareness about how lesbian, gay and bisexual people form part of the fabric of every aspect of life in Cork. The Lord Mayor launched the week on International Day Against Homophobia, May 17 in City Hall and throughout the week posters were displayed across the city, flyers were distributed and various events were held. When developing their strategic plan for the city (Imagine our Future) Cork City Development Board worked with gay and lesbian organisations in Cork (Linc and The Cork Gay Project) to ensure the strategic plan took into account the vibrant lesbian and gay communities that exist in the city. Cork has a long and proud tradition of lesbian and gay activism and this continued with the inclusion of ‘Objective 86’ in the 10-year plan, stating: “The gay, lesbian and bisexual communities will be enabled to fully participate in the social, cultural and economic life of Cork City”. “I am delighted that the City Council have continued to fulfill their obligations under Objective 86 to ensure that Cork is a safe and welcoming place both to live and to visit,” says Dave Roche of The Cork Gay Project. “This model of inter-agency work really highlights how effective working with the other social partners in any area can be. “I would hope that every city and county would eventually have specific objectives in their strategic plans that not only name LGBT people but work meaningfully with them to achieve an atmosphere of real inclusion that recognises the value added benefits of having a vibrant and open LGBT population in any city or town.”

Tasty Treat! Taste of Dublin, Ireland’s Outdoor Food and Drink Festival sponsored by Superquinn, is set to awaken the senses once again this summer for its sixth consecutive year. Taking place from June 9 to 12 in the leafy surrounds of the Iveagh Gardens, Dublin 2, Taste of Dublin gathers the great gastronomic triumphs of Dublin city, providing the ultimate adventure playground for foodies with al-fresco dining, wine tastings, live chef demonstrations by the likes of Conrad Gallagher, Neven Maguire, Donal Skehan and Gino D’Acampo, and the chance to meet over 100 artisan food producers. It’s the social event of the summer, for seasoned foodies to casual cooks hoping to pick up some fresh ideas for entertaining at home, and we have VIP tickets and standard entry tickets to give away for Friday, June 10 from 12pm to 4pm. TO BE IN WITH A CHANCE TO WIN, VISIT WWW.GCN.IE BY THURSDAY, JUNE 2.

Cork Pride takes place from May 29 to June 6, www.corkpride.com

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PRIDEWATCH It’s the season of Pride and time for our annual round-up of celebrations across the country NORTHWEST: Finishing touches are underway at NorthWest Pride 2011, which takes place from August 11 to 15. A goodvalue, family-friendly residential weekend is promised with transport provided from the comfortable budget accommodation of Sligo’s temporary Pride Village to events in Sligo and Leitrim. Hopes are high that this year’s programme will also include an event in Donegal. Events include parties with great live entertainment, hillwalking, not to mention the annual welly-throwing and beach bowling contest. New events include a 1930’s-themed cabaret, with local LGBT theatre group Over the Rainbow, and Deaf Karaoke, in association with Greenbow Deaf LGBT group. Artists are invited to submit work to the “Freedoms II” multi-media arts exhibition. For updates see www.northwestpride. wordpress.com. Enquiries and proposals are welcomed at northwestpride@gmail.com

or 087 907 5404. Northwest Pride want to improve access for people with disabilities. For assistance or access information, get in touch with the organisers. LIMERICK: Pride celebrates 10 years of equality, diversity, love and celebration from September 3 to 11 in Limerick. The Pride Parade takes place on Saturday September 10. Full details are still being finalised for Limerick Pride’s anniversary celebrations but all will be revealed on www.limerickpride.ie Come one, come all and celebrate Pride in an amazing city! Each year Pride committees change and so do the contacts GCN has with organisers. If you would like GCN’s 11,000-plus readers to have information about your forthcoming Pride celebrations, please contact editor@gcn.ie

SPORTS GAY

Dee Daly Dublin Roller Girls

“Roller Derby is a sport that started in the States and arrived in Ireland last year. I first saw it in Toronto when my girlfriend brought me to a ‘bout’ over there. We encourage women to come along regardless of their fitness level. We have a very strict training programme, teaching girls how to skate, fall and stop safely and we then gradually introduce the contact sport. Roller Derby is great for people who were never good at sports in school. It attracts girls of all shapes and sizes and like to promote good body image. I don’t think there is a stereotypical Roller Derby girl. A lot of the press is all tattoos and piercings but we have such a varied league – we’ve got girls from 18 right up to late 30s. The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) have a genderinclusivity policy for transgender women and intersex people who identify as women. We have intakes every three months. When you turn up as a new skater you’re probably going to be with 20 or 30 other girls who probably haven’t skated before. We have to pick a Roller Derby name after training that goes off to the WFTDA for approval My name is Lil’ Edie. There is a strong social element to the group and we’re very close. Roller Derby is about empowerment for girls who come along with no fitness levels or no skateability. They train, make new friends, and see themselves improve. Ireland’s first Roller Derby match is onJune 18 in Greystones, Co Wicklow. Search ‘DRG’ on facebook or mail dublinrollergirls@ gmail.com

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DIVERSITY DIARY The monthly update from LGBT Diversity’s Regional Workers about what’s happening in our community across the country. South east Berni Smyth berni@lgbtdiversity.com It’s been a busy month in the South East. Miss Gay Ireland, Tasha Clyde launched Kildare LGBT’s report on the challenges and support needs of young LGBT people in rural Ireland, entitled Coming Out. PDF copies are available from Kildare LGBT and congratulations to everyone involved in launching the report. Excitement is mounting for the LGBT Diversity regional seminar, ‘Exploring Community and Culture’, in the Derby House Hotel in Kildare on Saturday, May 28. Presentations on the nature of our community should generate some lively discussion. Sunrise LGBT Kildare’s evening event, the election of the first ever Mr and Miss Gay Kildare, shouldn’t be missed either! Congratulations to the winners of the Gay in the South East LGBT Awards, held in Waterford at the end of April. Check out the winners on their Facebook page. Finally, to those of you who received grants from the CFI LGBT Fund, congratulations. To those who did not, don’t be disheartened. The fund is very popular and not getting funded does not speak to the quality of your application or

your project. Contact me and we’ll figure out the next steps. Northwest Hayley Fox-Roberts hayley@lgbtdiversity.com ‘Respect’ is the word of the month as Rural Enablement Sligo and the Women’s Positive Relations Project host a Respect Day with input from all sorts of service providers, including LGBT Diversity. The Family Resource Centre (FRC) West Network meets again this month and the FRC Northwest Network may be picking up a few ideas for visibility campaigns over the summer. This month I’ll be working hard to get supports started up in Longford. I would love to hear from you if you’re living in the county and have ideas or energy to help make it happen. Even if you don’t feel you can be out in Longford, you could help us arrange appropriate supports and maybe make some new friends too. Until such time as the Midlands Development Worker is replaced, if you are in the Midlands and need information or support, you can contact myself or Berni and we’ll do what we can. Hopefully we’ll be meeting some of the Midlands activists at our seminars over the next week.

TRANS DEVELOPMENT NATIONWIDE Vanessa Lacey vanessa@teni.ie Congratulations to Louise Hannon for winning her landmark case on gender grounds. Her remarkably brave decision to waive anonymity, and her victory, sets an example to employees and employers throughout the country – and indeed worldwide. I received a newspaper clipping from Melbourne reporting on Louise’s case. Another wonderful lady is Fiona Armstrong, who has worked with the transgender community over the last five years and has now stepped down from her facilitator’s position. Fiona was instrumental in starting the first transgender support group in Ireland, which has gone from strength to strength. Fiona contributed so much voluntary time for the transgender community here. On behalf of TENI and Dublin Trans Support Group, our deepest gratitude to Fiona. Finally, gratitude to the organisers of the South East LGBT Awards ceremony held in April in Waterford, and to the voters who afforded me the honour of LGBT Person of the Year. It was indeed an honour to be nominated, let alone to win the award. A WORD FROM DONEGAL Sinead Murray I’m delighted to announce an exciting new initiative – the Donegal Interagency LGBT Initiative (DILI). This project aims to promote the inclusion and positive mental health of LGBT people throughout the county. As project leader of DILI, I will be working with various organisations and statutory agencies to facilitate LGBT awareness training. This will result in a wider understanding of the issues and needs of LGBT people to create a more equal and tolerant society. This project has been initiated by Donegal Women’s Network, which is part of The National Collective of Community-based Women’s Networks, funded by Pobal Dormant Accounts, and runs until the end of 2012. A number of agencies are involved in steering the project and supporting its actions. For further details please contact me at dili.sinead@gmail.com.

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Markree Castle

Ireland’s leading authentic castle venue from romantic civil ceremony to late night dancing. www.markreecastle.ie ∙ info@markreecastle.ie 071-9167800 ∙ Collooney, Co. Sligo

See it for yourself; GCN reader’s special show around rate €86 per person dinner, B&B.

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PRo:log/stuff

TEN THINGS/JUNE UMAY 29 TO JUNE 6 CORK PRIDE Celebrating the evolution of Cork’s LGBT community all week, topped by the big Pride Parade on Sunday June 5, www.corkpride.com

JUNE 17 SHAZWANDA: UP THE DUFF High camp comedy with Dragon favourite Shazwanda (pictured left) and guests in Dublin’s Sugar Club at 8pm, tickets €15 from www.omfj.ie

JUNE 2 LGBT NOISE PUB QUIZ Questions with plenty of prizes along the way at The Front Lounge from 8pm. It’s €10 per person and all proceeds go to the March for Marriage, taking place this August 14.

JUNE 17 TO 26 DUBLIN PRIDE Dublin gets its Pride on over ten days crammed with community, cultural and commercial events, with the Pride Parade on June 26, www.dublinpride.ie

JUNE 11 FRIGHTEN THE HORSES Alternative queer music festival featuring, MEN, Ophelia MC, Koolthing and queer punk outfit, Felch at Block T in Dublin’s Smithfield, Tickets @ €10 from 9 Crow Street or email manecontact@gmail.com

JUNE 19 & 20 BODY & SOUL The best boutique festival in Ireland attracts plenty of gays for a line up that includes music, alternative therapies, theatre, art and kids spaces. Heaven in Ballinlough Castle, Co. Meath, www.bodyandsoul.ie

JUNE 11GLÓRIA 11 GLÓRIA The Dublin Lesbian & Gay Choir’s annual sing-up at the National Concert Hall at 8pm. Tickets from (01) 4170000 or www.nch.ie

JUNE 22 TO 26 DEAF LESBIAN FESTIVAL Deaf lesbians from Europe and America descend on Dublin for five days of fun and networking events, www.irishdlf.ie JUNE 24 ALEXANDRA BURKE The X Factor 2009 winner kicks up a pop-storm at Cork’s Marquee, ticketmaster.ie JUNE 27, 28 & 29 JANELLE MONAE Cybersoul stylings with the queer-loved Janelle Monae at Black Box, Galway (27th), Savoy Theatre Cork (28th) and Dublin’s Tripod (29th).

On MiPod FREDDY KIRK BODY & SOUL FESTIVAL PRODUCER

1. Dubliners – Nicolas Jaar I can’t seem to get enough of this guy at the moment - after being spring-boarded as a poster boy for labels like Wolf + Lamb, he has blown up this year and is delivering! Super excited that we booked him for his first live Irish show at this year’s Body & Soul Festival, straight from his Sonar debut. Should be a cracker. 2. In the Air Tonight – Phil Collins Not sure how it happened but I stumbled across Face Value, Collins’ 1981 classic debut solo album only recently. In the Air Tonight is the fist track on the album and I’ve been listening to it relentlessly of late. Moody and dark – apparently it was inspired by his impending divorce. 3. The Heinrich Manouver – Interpol I just can’t help myself with these guys. Taken from their Love to Admire album, this is a synthy/bassy ripper of a track and played loud late in the evening within the confines of my office brings me nothing but pure joy! Sad, maybe, but true. The Body & Soul Festival takes place at Ballinlough Castle on June 18 & 19, www.bodyandsoul.ie for tickets and information

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HOMO TRUTHS By Jeanette Rehnstrom

Carol O’Keeffe (39) from Cork The thought that I might be gay never crossed my mind when at 20 I moved from Ireland to Scotland. I lived in Glasgow and Ayr for three and half years. Most of my time there I spent partying. I had my first gay experiences in Glasgow, and that changed a lot for me. It’s all a bit of a blur of music and dancing now, but I clearly remember the first time I kissed a girl alright! I came back to Ireland after Glasgow, but then took off again. I’d already been working in film a lot but went to get a formal education in the field in Manchester. I left there with a Masters in Documentary. I’m not sure where my passion for film came from. It wasn’t in my background but I’ve always been fascinated with imagery. Maybe it had something to do with the making ,or taking part in the making of something beautiful, that’s always meant a lot to me. I’ve always aspired to tell people’s stories, getting that privilege to be allowed into people’s lives as well as having a chance to change outcomes, and getting people to take a different look at things. Right now I love Andrea Arnold’s work. Gay issues never really interested me and I’ve only worked on a couple of projects around sexuality. I’ve never made a gay film, although I did work on a documentary on gender identity. My participation wasn’t intentional, it just worked out like that. I think that if there’s a story and it’s compelling and it has gay characters in it, that’s cool, but on its own it’s not really an issue I feel a need to express. At the moment I’m editing a short film called Connect. I got funding from the Arts Council for this project, which is great. It’s good to be able to be able to pay people who work on my stuff. The film is about the general search that we all go through, looking for love, or looking to piece ourselves together, to feel connected and complete. We are submitting it to film festivals at the moment. This is always a bit hit and miss, you never really know the outcome. I also have a documentary called Pieces of Me showing in Swansea this month. It’s a film about my search for my birth mother.


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PRo:log/scene

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‘Tis a bit early to get the complete package of what’ll be happening in and about the city over the Pride celebrations at the end of June, but we have a bit of a heads up. First things first, though… June 2 is a date for the diary as LGBT Noise host a big noisy Pub Quiz in The Front Lounge, raising funds for this years March For Marriage, which takes place on August 14. It’s €10 per person and

the questions won’t be too hard, (we hope!) If you like your music old school and your clubs women-only, you’ll want to be at Revival in Copper Alley on June 3. DJ’s Martin Lynch and Claire O’Regan will be making the magic happen from 10.30pm. June 3 also sees DJ Terry play The Front Lounge, kicking off the bank holiday weekend, while Saturday will be a night with April and Friends. Terry will be back at the decks on Sunday June 5. Meanwhile, up at The George on June 3 it’s celebration time with DJ Karen at Mischeif’s Rio Carnival. Make sure you add to the colour by going carnival style. June 5 sees the launch of a new show at The George, School’s On For Summer, where wannabe drag queens study at the Shirley Temple Bar Drag academy in all things tranny. Not to be outdone, Veda’s cranking it up Wednesdays with The Wheel on June 8, Strictly Come Pole Dancing on June 15 and Project Hot Mess on June 22. But the big news is that The George has secured the mighty Kelis for a live set on Thursday June 23, slap bang in the middle of Pride week. It’s, like, sooooo exciting! This month’s GCN cover star, the gorgeoustastic JD Samson will not only be storming the stage of Frighten The Horses at Block T, 1-6 Haymarket in Smithfield, along with a bevy of other bands on June 11, she’ll be hot-footing it up to Mother to play a special post-Frighten The Horses party set. Expect the floor to be heavin’ and get there early to avoid disappointment. June opens in fine style at Dragon with the launch of Dragon Idol. Ten contestants will compete eight weeks to win €1,000 prize money and a day in a recording studio. The same night at Dragon also features the champagne reception launch of Play, a new performance night with Regina George and regular guests Bunny and Portia. June 12 is a special fundraiser night in support of Coughing Shed Theatre Company. The guys from Gaydar are back at Dragon, along with the Delice Boys for the night of Dublin Pride, June 25. Greenbow, the Deaf LGBT Society are hosting a night of Karaoke fun at Pantibar on June 23 for Pride, featuring all your favorite songs and a chance to sing them! Panti will take some impressing! Go Domino Dancing at Karma Chameleon in Bridie’s Bar at The George on June 24 for an all Pet Shop Boys night with DJ El Styra on the decks playing requests and dishing plenty of prizes. It’s a sin, but we like it! As we get closer to Pride, the winner of The Pride Factor Karaoke competition Tuesdays in The Front Lounge emerges ever further. He or she will bag €1,000 and sing at the Post-Pride party to boot!

EVERYTHING BUT THE PALE CORK: The sad news is that Influx Bar has closed, and a big shout out to Dave and Colm for their dedication to the Cork scene over the past four years. The good news is that Chambers and Loafers have a whole heap of goodness happening for Cork Pride, including performances from X Factor gay lads, Diva Fever! For full details, see page 25. New club, Fever launches on June 4 in the Savoy courtesy of DJ John Broz. WATERFORD: Dragiators is back with a bang at Dignity. Ten acts are slogging it out every Thursday at Dignity, but only one drag diva can win. Dragiators: The Apprentice is broadcast live on www.dragiators.com at 10pm on the night. Every Friday DJ Chloe spins camp sounds at the gorgeous Eurogay, Saturdays feature lots of drag fun at Pop Eletrik. On Sundays it’s Deal or No Deal with Charmin and a whopping €250 to be won. Joanna Ryde’s Big Quiz takes off on Tuesdays and Wednesday nights are The Bargain Bin with drinks promos like you wouldn’t believe! GALWAY: Fridays in Wilde’s Bar on Dominic Street (formerly Stranos) feature Katie O’Connor’s brilliant acoustic session followed by Karaoke with Sara O’Kane. Saturdays have Gone Wilde with DJ Karo while Sundays are The Sunday Session with guest DJ’s. Wednesdays feature the sublime vocal stylings of Sara O’Kane and on Sunday June 5 the legendary Mr Pussy will be doing his Wilde thing. The Galway Shawl on Prospect Hill features live music and DJ’s and the return of Twirley’s Bingo! on Thursdays. Meanwhile in Dignity Galway on Shop Street Saturdays feature guest DJ’s and sexy dancers til late. Every Sunday it’s Camp Attack with DJ Shaz playing 80s, 90s and chart, Gaydar Radio DJ Simon Le Vans sizzles for the summer on Friday June 3, be there or be s-quare! LIMERICK: It all kicks off at 31 Thomas Street on June 3 and 4 with reunion of Quinns’ regulars from days of Limerick gay yore, there’ll be live music on June 10 with Black Road and Woof, Limerick’s bear night is on June 25. Every Thursday is karaoke night and there’s a late dancing on Saturday nights. Meanwhile La Boutique is back upstairs in Dolan’s on Saturday, June 18. Expect dancing, and lots of it!

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PRo:log/sounds

Soundbytes On MiPod

Conor Behan 18 WWW.GCN.IE

TONIE WALSH DJ

1. Go On Do IT – Victor Creeping electro funk that calls to mind New York in the mid-80s, albeit with a trashier Italo-disco edge. And who can argue with a refrain that claims: “I’m the one you need... You found the man you need”? 2. The Basket – Guillemots I’ve adored UK band The Guillemots ever since their From The Cliffs LP insinuated itself in such elegiac fashion. This is one of the dancier tracks on current album, Walk The River. Can’t get enough of lead singer Fyffe Dangerfield’s rather wistful lyrics and perfectly enunciated vocals. There’s A Way Into My Heart – USA-European Connection Classical composer Boris Midney defected from the USSR in the 1970s, landed in New York and discovered disco. This 12min long track from his second solo album is full of trademark flourishes – muscular synth disco with an epic symphonic sweep and an utterly joyous vocal that never fails to get me jiggy on a dancefloor or busy cleaning my kitchen. Tonie Walsh guest DJ’s at Mother on May 28, Copper Alley (behind Front Lounge) from 11 til late

Picture by Trish Brennan.

You know summer is in the air when you’ve a bevvy of fresh pop singles coming at your ears. Top of the pile is the return of Beyonce with Girls (Who Run The World). A clattering mess of a blatant Major Lazer sample and a shout out to ladies everywhere, it falls sadly flat. Faring better with messy production but a proper chorus is Lady Gaga with Judas. It may not tread much new ground but a thumping club beat and that solid gold hook make it another Gaga gem. A more straightforward effort comes from former frontman of The Blizzards, Bressie, entitled Can’t Stay Young Forever It’s a bit Snow Patrol, a bit Brandon Flowers and also a bit like a song that will sound great coming out of your radio all summer long. Meanwhile Calvin Harris keeps thing dancefloorfriendly, roping Kelis in for stomping new single, Bounce. A jumpy slice of floor-filling pop, it’s loads of fun. Somewhat more lowkey is Kelly Rowland, who outdoes gal pal Beyonce big time on Motivation. A shamelessy sexy slow-jam, this electro/R’n’B number is a real grower, with a flesh-baring video that’ll make your eyes pop. Meanwhile, if you need a tranny-fantastic album this month, look no further than RuPaul’s Glamazon. It doesn’t quite scale the heights of her last effort (seriously) but RuPaul sneaks more wit, innuendo and big hooks into her tracks than most mainstream popstars. Shantay, Ru stays! Another diva belts it out this month as Jennifer Hudson returns with I Remember Me. A jumble of R’n’B, disco throwback and belting ballad, it’s a marked improvement on her debut, those signature Hudson pipes giving things plenty of verve. Snoop Dogg serves up his eleventh (!) studio album with Doggumentary and he shows no sign of waning. Clocking in at 22 tracks makes this a bit of a slog but it’s a engaging mix of hip hop bangers, big name guest stars (including Kanye West and Willie Nelson - honestly) and potential hit singles. The real highlight this month though is Jamie Woon’s spectacular Mirrorwriting. Imagine a Maxwell record produced by The XX and you’re halfway to getting just how good this debut is. Beautiful soul vocals glide over glitchy, spacey electronica with thankfully plenty of beautiful melodies. A triumph of both sonic innovation and great songwriting, Mirrorwriting is a must.

COMEBACK CLATTERING RED CORNER: JENNIFER LOPEZ

GREEN CORNER: SOPHIE ELLIS BEXTOR

She’s been gone from the pop race for a little while but Jennifer Lopez shimmies our way with her 7th album, Love? (Mercury). The highpoint is the ridiculous Papi, a slice of trash-pop that’s impossible to resist. What Is Love? is a surprisingly decent mid-tempo number; I’m Into You is an infectious smash; and Hypnotico boasts a terrific chorus. Sadly highlights are thinly spread amongst a collection of watery R’n’B tracks, inspid ballads and filler moments. There are enough hits here to ensure JLo some chart life but hopefully her next album will offer more than a few singles. 6/10

Label woes nearly put a stop to Sophie Ellis Bextor releasing her new album Make A Scene (EBGB). But finally, it’s here. Boasting production from Greg Kusrtin, Calvin Harris, Richard X, Metronomy and Armin Van Buren, this is an album with plenty of talent involved. And boy does it show. Starlight is Italian disco-flavoured pop brimming with sadness, the title track is quirky and brilliant while Magic is pure synthpop pleasure. Throw in two solid Freemasons dance numbers, the Calvin Harris-produced Off & On (once sang by Róisín Murphy) and you’ve got one of the year’s most thrilling pop albums. 9/10


onetowatch

Shine Sidine ubliner Ciara Sidine has come to the music industry relatively late in life, having worked as one of Ireland’s publishing queens throughout her 20s, but her debut album Shadow Road Shining proves that good things are well worth waiting for. Sidine has been heavily compared in rave reviews to Emmylou Harris, Alison Kraus and other female singer/ songwriters from the roots Americana tradition, but there’s a strong hint of Michelle Shocked about her too. Her songs tell stories in the way that songs around the campfire once did, but they never shie away from rocking out when it’s needed. Opening track, Riding Home begins with a guitar riff that could have come from the soundtrack to Wim Wenders’ American road movie, Paris Texas before morphing into the first single, Take Me Down, which sets out Sidine’s stall with sweet precision. Her musical beginnings, singing songs at family gatherings, are the foundation on which this album is built. Sidine’s emotional style combined with warm production make the album an inclusive experience from the outset. Arms of Summer, a tribute to the relationship between Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash sweeps from a gentle ballad to an epic love song and back again in the space of three minutes; Sidine rocks out on the brooding Mercy Moon once more before paring it all back for the witchy Hollow The Breeze. A duet with Jack L on the sublime Constellations High proves what the album has been hinting in the underpinnings all along – Sidine is a songwriter from the modern Irish folk tradition, the best we’ve seen since Jimmy McCarthy. The whole thing is wrapped up with Sleepy Eyes, a lullaby that you might just want to play when you cuddle up in bed the night you buy this album. The star of the show is Sidine’s achingly beautiful voice. Move over Mary Black, make a space Maura O’Connell, say hello Sinéad O’Connor, a new Irish star is born. Ciara Sidine’s Shadow Road Shining is available on itunes now, www.ciarasidine.com

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PRo:log/movies

Hot Reels May closes with a special screening of Colin Downey’s fairytale thriller, The Looking Glass at the IFI on May 29 at 1pm. Troubled young man, Paul lives in a secluded cottage with his pregnant girlfriend, Clare. With the arrival of Clare’s predatory mother, Paul is pitched into an alternate reality where his difficult childhood collides with his present. Underpinned by Paul’s affair with rent boy Max, played by the hot Rodrigo Rodriguez, The Looking Glass is already garnering comparisons to Jeanne Cocteau, Kenneth Anger and Pier Paolo Passolini. The film will be introduced by writer-director, Downey and he will be answering questions afterwards with Natalia Kostrzewa, who plays Claire. First up this June is Honey 2 (June 10), a sequel to a rather enjoyable little movie about a foxy chick who dances her way out of the ghetto. This time the titular Honey (played in the original by Jessica Alba) is absent, but her spirit is alive and well in the form of troubled 17-year-old Maria Ramirez (Katerina Graham), a wayward teen who just wants to ‘go straight’ after her release from Juvie. But the tedious grind of the 9 to 5 isn’t for Ramirez and soon the siren song of the streets becomes too much to bear – especially when handsome

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Brandon invites her to whip his rag-tag bunch of hip-hoppers into a cohesive dance unit in time for the Big Dance Competition. What’s that you say? Dance movies are always predictable, trite pieces of nonsense and this one is no different? Well, you’re right, but it does have one or two things going for it: a cast full of attractive, (generic) American cuties and a thumping, hip-hip soundtrack. Undemanding, but enjoyable nonsense. Next up, one for the kids (or Dreamworks fans) Kung Fu Panda 2 (June 10). Following on from the first movie, Po (voiced by Jack Black) is now a certified Kung Fu master who still fights evil with Master Sifu (Dustin Hoffman) and the Furious Five (Angelina Jolie, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogen, Jackie Chan and David Cross). When an evil new emperor albino peacock, Lord Shen (Gary Oldman, sounding more like a weasel than a peacock, strangely) threatens the Utopian community where chickens, turtles, tigers and pandas rub alongside without trying to eat each other, Po must take up the nunchucks and fight for the cause of good once more. This month’s obligatory summer comicbook adaptation is Green Latern (June 17) starring the delectable Ryan Reynolds. Hal Jordan is a wisecracking Air Force pilot who, through some rather fanciful plot manoeuvres, becomes the first ever human member of the Green Lanterns – a brotherhood of intergalactic warriors sworn to keep order in the universe with their trusty super-powered rings. When baddie Parallax threatens to destroy the balance of power in the Universe, the fate of mankind and the Earth itself lies in the hands of reluctant Hal. But is he up to the task? Really, who cares? The real (possibly only) reason to go see this film is Ryan Reynold’s superhuman abs!

DVD

The premise for My Friend from Faro, made in 1998 but released on DVD for the first time this month, opens very much like Boy’s Don’t Cry. A girl falls in love with another girl who is masquerading as a boy. It’s a lie that begins to spin out of control for Melanie, the ‘boy’ of the piece, or Mel as she likes to be known, and soon family and friends get drawn into the deception. Meanwhile a teen lesbian love story emerges and unlike Boys Don’t Cry, there’s no tragedy involved. Nana Neul’s film is a simple human drama about finding your place in the world and the prejudices programmed into us by society. Its biggest fault lies in its inability to pack any real dramatic punch for a topic that is so potentially wrought with emotion and life-altering consequences. The closing is a little too open-ended and might have been better served by a more rounded solution, but at the same time it feels like the most realistic outcome for the central relationship, which is commendable in itself. Chief among the film’s finer points are the performances of the two central actresses, Anjorka Strechel (as Mel) and Lucie Hollmann as Jenny, who are both profoundly believable in their roles.


The THIRD Annual NLGF LGBT AwardS October 22, 2011

Go to www.galas.ie to make your nomnations from June 1 WWW.GALAS.ie

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PRo:log/BOOKS

Quick and the Read In Alan Bennett’s Smut: Two Unseemly Stories (Profile Books, €14.99) a recent widow, Mrs Donaldson, decides to supplement her pension by taking in medical students from the nearby hospital. This leads her in a very roundabout way into some sexual shenanigans that open her eyes to a world she never experienced with her husband. The second story, The Shielding of Mrs Forbes, features an uptight mother who can’t accept her son, Graham’s homosexuality and will do anything to keep up appearances otherwise. Bennett’s gently sardonic humour underpins these two stories about how people are never quite what we think them to be. Both Mrs Donaldson and Mrs Forbes are not as conventional or sheltered as the people around them think they are and through the progression of both stories they come face to face with themselves too. In Julie Anne Peters’ Pretend You Love Me (Little Brown, €9.99) Mike (or Mary Elizabeth) is dealing with what every gay in a teen book is dealing with nowadays, unrequited love. Coming out is so last century! The object of Mike’s affections is the improbably but ingeniously named Xanadu, a seemingly cool and confident blow-in to the conservative Kansas town where Mike miserably lives among major family dysfunction. The outcome of these novels is always predictable, but at least Peters’ voice has a zingy freshness to it that makes it always readable. Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme co-edited by Femme, Ivan E Coyote and Zena Sharman (Arsenal Pulp

Press, €16.99) features leading queer American authors including S Bear Bergman, Elizabeth Marston and Jewelle Gomez writing about the socio-political evolution of the terms ‘butch’ and ‘femme’ over the past decade and a half, reflecting on where we stand now with gender and personal identity in an LGBT community that is growing in diversity every day. Inspired by Joan Nestle’s groundbreaking The Persistent Desire: A Reader first Femme-Butch Reader, published in 1995, this book is a bit of a mash-up, with diverse opinions and thesis nestled alongside each other, sometimes without rhyme or reason. But amongst the confusion there are some gems, such as Chandra Mayor’s ‘Me, Simone and Dot’, which brings plenty of humour to its balancing of the personal and the political when it comes to lesbian identities. This month of Pride sees a welcome re-printing of David Carter’s Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution (Griffin, €12.99), one of the most exhaustive and important records of the birth of the gay rights movement in New York. The book is divided into three sections: setting the stage for the uprising; what actually occurred hour by hour in Greenwich Village during the week of June 1969 riots; and how the rebellion has led to an ongoing struggle for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in America as well as being a worldwide human rights inspiration. Based on hundreds of interviews, an exhaustive search of public and previously sealed files and over a decade of intensive research, Stonewall tells the definitive story of this singular event in history.

BOOK

Coming to the shelves heaped with praise from American literature’s great and good, Jon-Jon Goulian’s crossdressing memoir, The Man in the Gray Flannel Skirt, (Random House, €18.99) is as good as its proponents uniformly say it is. Key to this painfully difficult coming of age and then aging story is Goulian’s witty and exuberant voice. As a child Goulian is hyperneurotic, drowning in a sea of phobias that range from a fear of pimples to a terror of saturated fat. His grandfather, the political philosopher Sidney Hook, is not so philosophical when it comes to his interaction with Jon-Jon, always finding ways to put the boy down and list his failings while hailing his two older brothers as paragons of masculine virtue. As he grows up Goulian discovers women’s clothing and begins to use the wearing of skirts, leggings and halter-tops as a method of keeping the family expectations he can never live up to at bay. But he’s fooling no one, except maybe himself. This deeply funny and equally moving book is about the nature of discovering the self, and then finding a way to live fully as that self. Goulian got an advance of $750,000 for this memoir and it’s turned his life around overnight, making him a celebrity author in the US. The literary world has found another glittering outsider.

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Pride of The Pale Dublin Pride is gearing up for ten days of celebrations of our sexuality and our humanity, with events for all under the LGBT rainbow umbrella. Here’s just a hint of what’s in store.

P

lans for Dublin Pride to move to Merrion Square have been put on hold this year, due to time and financial constraints for the organising team, but according to the festival’s Director of Marketing and Advertising, Treacy Byrne, it’s only a temporary glitch. “While the Board did investigate the move this year they found it would not be financially viable,” she says. However the venue will be looked at again for 2012. In the meantime, this year we plan to put on a fantastic post-parade event in our regular venue, the Civic Offices on June 25.” So it’s Dublin Pride as usual this year and that’s no bad thing. No matter where we celebrate, it’s a huge celebration of who we are. This year, we’re celebrating our humanity, as Treacy explains. “The branding concept our designer, Áine McDonald came up with was, ‘Show Your Pride’ and then we

added ‘It’s a Human Thing’ as the tagline. The idea is that at the end of the day we are all human beings but LGBT people are still not treated the same in society. We’ve secured a rolling poster campaign across the city with the Social Inclusion Unit of DCC, which will run for the month. We’ve also secured new city banners, which are going up on May 29. The festival kicks of on June 17 at the Dublin Pride Launch Party, followed on June 18 with Tonie Walsh’s popular Gay Walking Tour. The Pride Sports Day and Family Day on June 19 finds a new home this year at Ringsend Park with team sports and novelty races. A new addition to the Sports Day is the Dublin Pride Dog Show with a host of categories and prizes. Later that evening is the Pride Arts Night at Grand Social, combining the best in singer songwriting talent upstairs and poets, writers and performance artists downstairs. The Pride Debate will again put burning questions from the community under the

spotlight. The Geílí is also returning, so dust off those brogues and practice your one-two-threes. The Speakeasy is the theme of this year’s Dyke Night. Expect flapper girls and gangsters as the Purty Kitchen is thrown back to the 1920’s with guests Phil T Gorgeous, Very Angry Girls, Elaine Mai and more, not to mention music from DJ Mo, Jules and Proud Mary. The Pride Night Party, Delirium, at the Purty Kitchen features a secret guest superstar DJ, complimented on the decks by Revlon and El Styra. There will be a host of acts downstairs, including Dance king, David Johnson, who is flying from the UK fresh from a long stint in the UK dance charts and the electro stylings of Von Trash, with a highly anticipated cabaret show as a centre piece for the night. Tonie Walsh is also taking to the decks at the Sycamore Club on top of the building and has great things planned for the night. This is only a small portion of the events running over the Dublin Pride festival, which is dedicated to celebrating all in the LGBT community. For a full schedule of events keep an eye on the website and Dublin Pride’s facebook profile for announcements in the coming weeks, or pick up the next GCN, published on June 16. Dublin Pride runs from June 17 to 27, www. dublinpride.ie

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SOUTH PRIDING The theme of this year’s Cork LGBT Pride festival is ‘Evolution’. With that in mind Ciara McGrattan talks to residents of the city about the massive changes gay Cork has undergone over the past half decade, and how Pride is looking to the future.

E

volution by its very nature is a gradual, incremental process, an imperceptibly slow crawl towards advancement. The global lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community has evolved steadily over the past five decades, shifting from the closet to the club over the course of many years. From the Stonewall Riots of the 1960s (effectively kicking-off the modern gay rights movement), to the decriminalisation of homosexuality here in 1993, Ireland’s own LGBT community has undergone considerable growth in that time. The introduction of civil partnerships this year – and with it the implied

legal, and thus societal ‘sanctioning’ of LGB relationships – is an indicator of just how far we have come in 18 years since decriminalisation. It is a result of this momentous, but gradual, shift that the organisers of Cork LGBT Pride have given this year’s festival the rather apt theme of ‘Evolution’. The gay scene in Cork has undergone huge development over the years. No one is more aware of this than Dermot Hickey, manager of Chambers Bar, who has lived in the city for 20 years and witnesses the evolution of the scene firsthand. “It has dramatically changed in the last seven or eight years,” he says. “You can really see a difference in how people are getting more confident and feeling more accepted in society.” Perhaps the best example of the climate of acceptance is to be found in the non-plussed attitudes of the straight revellers who spill out onto the streets of Cork’s ‘club land’ (as the row of night-spots on Hanover Street is called) at the same time as their homosexual counterparts with little or no trouble – something which was an initial concern for Hickey. “We did worry that people might get attacked coming out of the club because they’re mixing on the streets at the end of the night but that hasn’t been a problem and there haven’t been any been any clashes – people just seem to accept it. “We have the security out at the end of the

night just to watch the crowds and people might be kissing on the streets and that, but people just seem to take it in their stride. So, it’s changed in that way - that wouldn’t have been the story at the time I came out. When I came to Cork, it would’ve been a hidden thing.” Total acceptance however, is still some way off, according to UCC student, Brian Byrne. “You never see two people of the same gender holding hands on the street,” he says. “I think that’s an area that could improve. I think eventually it will, but it’ll take longer than it ideally would. It’s one thing going into a club and doing what you want, but to be on the street is different. I think LGBT people have to be hopeful that things will change but we have to be patient about it and while the scene is evolving; Cork nightlife is evolving. I think it’ll take a long time to fully get it where we want it to be.” Kate Brennan Harding has been socialising and DJ-ing on the Cork scene for five years and she has also seen big change in that time, particularly in terms of visibility. “Last year my partner and I were part of Team Cork going to the Gay Games in Cologne and there were a number of people on our team who weren’t necessarily that visible or that out. Becoming a member of Team Cork helped them and at last year’s Pride there were a number who marched for the first time, women in their late 30s and 40s. That was a huge step for them.”

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PRIDE ON THE SCENE

YOUR GUIDE TO WHAT’S GOING DOWN FOR SOCIAL-STYLE! Chambers have a whole heap of goodness happening for Cork Pride! On Wednesday, June 1, Sinner’s DJ Dave pumps it out on the decks, while Thursday sees a UV Pride Party with DJ Dermo. Friday features a gay icon extravaganza as Melissa Trotten and Rosie Howick do their Madonna and Kylie tribute acts. X Factor gay lads, Diva Fever take to the stage on Saturday, June 4, complemented Lady Marmalade, Little Miss D and lots more delicious drag. The night of the Cork Pride Parade, Sunday, June 5 sees Chambers get all hot ‘n’ bothered with youtube hunk sensation, Sean Rumsey (pictured below) belting the pop hits out and synth poppers, Eden doing their thing, all hosted by April Showers. It’s gonna be great! Meanwhile Ireland’s longest-running gay pub, the lovely Loafers has a packed week in store for all, kicking off on Monday, June 30 with a special screening of the film Milk at 8.30pm. Cards at the ready on Tuesday 31 for Pride Texas Holden Poker at 8pm, and there will be more gaming at Loafers’ Pride Games Night on Wednesday, June 1 with the annual pool and darts tournaments. The gorgeous DJ Kate Brennan Harding will be spinning her musical wares on Thursday 2, followed on Friday 3 by DJ John Broz’s Abba-fan night. A Spot-prize Bonanza is the order of the night on Saturday 4 with DJ Emer at the decks, while on Sunday June 5,, directly after the Pride Parade there’ll be meat on the grill for the annual Pride Barbecue.. Phew! Luckily there’ll be time for a relaxed post-mortem on Monday June 6 at the much loved Chill-out. Having returned to Ireland from foreign climes, the legendary DJ John Broz is launching his very own club, Fever, in the Savoy on Saturday June 4.. It promises to be the place to be! For updates, visit www.gaycork.com

Cork LGBT Pride Chair, Clive Davis points to an interesting example of this new visibility. “I was just on our website looking at photos from Cork Pride over the past few years. In the 2006 photos there seems to be an awful lot of masks on people’s faces. I’m not saying these people were hiding, but there’s a kind of anonymity in the photos that you don’t really see in Cork anymore. Cork is a small city and people do know each other, but I think that maybe the fear of being out and gay isn’t there as much as it used to be. This may have something to do with the sterling work done by groups like the Southern Gay Project and Linc, not only in supporting, nurturing and empowering individuals in the city’s LGBT community, but in getting the city itself to do the same. Thanks to the tenacity of these groups, Cork historically became the first city in Ireland to have an LGB Awareness Week this month, with a poster campaign, flyers and events. “You can see it everywhere and it’s definitely promoting the visibility of gay people,” says Kate Brennan Harding. “I’ve always been an ‘out’ person, but in Cork it’s definitely gotten easier to just be who you are.” According to Brian Byrne, the biggest change, however, is the increased diversity on the social circuit. “You see every single age group on the scene,” he says. “In the last four years I’ve seen more ‘older’ people out, like middle-aged men and women come to clubs and stuff. It’s certainly diversified, age-wise.” Laura Harmon, a post-grad student also from UCC, agrees but with a caveat. “Yes, the scene is a bit more diversified but I think it’s still very male dominated. We have a much better scene than we had when I came out first. There was only one bar that I would have went to four years ago, Instinct, but there’s a little more choice now.”

“Cork is a small city and people do know each other, but I think that maybe the fear of being out and gay isn’t there as much as it used to be.” The increased visibility of younger gay people seems to be the biggest indicator of both cultural and societal evolution of Cork’s LGBT population. “Yeah, there’s definitely more younger people,” agrees Laura. “There’s more choice now in terms of where to go, people are coming out younger so there’s more people going out. I think maybe the boundaries of the scene might change in future as well. Maybe we’ll have an even more diversified scene in general with more straight people and maybe we’ll have more straight bars that will become ‘gay-friendly’.” The growing numbers at Cork’s LGBT Pride parade are the real indicators of change for Clive Davis. “Last year about 4,000 people marched,” he estimates. “Every year more and more people and groups want to get involved. The whole community really do get behind it, and so does the city.” “Loads and loads of businesses support Cork Pride now,” says Kate Brennan Harding. “The organising committee has grown too and they put on bigger shows every year. The whole thing has quadrupled in size.” With their eye firmly on this year’s evolutionary theme, the Cork LGBT Pride committee are going to put out a questionnaire at the end of 2011 about what people want from the festival and parade as it evolves. “What I would personally like to see is something

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happening after the parade to harness the energy that has built up during it,” says Clive Davis. “Having said that, none of this can be done because of me, or any one person on a committee .At the end of the day we want more people involved. Without community involvement we’re not going to be able to grow,” “I’d love to have like an open air concert-type at the end of the parade,” says Brennan Harding. “I’ve heard that’s on the cards in the next few years. What’s nice about it, though, is that it’s not as commercial. Cork Pride has a real homely feeling.” No matter who we spoke to for this feature, to a person they all love living in Cork and are deeply proud of the city, something that’s key to the evolution of it’s LGBT community. As Dave Roche of The Southern Gay Project says of the city’s LGB Awareness Week. “The message is really quite simple: lesbians, gay men and bisexuals are the family members, team mates, co-workers and neighbours of residents and visitors to Cork. As such they contribute in no small way to the image of Cork as a vibrant, open and welcoming city which is an attractive place to work, live and visit, no matter what your sexuality.” To find out more about Cork LGBT Pride, visit www.corkpride.com

CORK PRIDE MAY 29 TO JUNE 5 SATURDAY, MAY 28 Pride Film Festival Opening at 7pm in Camden Palace followed by Aimée & Jaguar (Germany, 1999) charting a lesbian love story against the background of Nazi Germany SUNDAY MAY 29 TO MONDAY JUNE 6 Queer as Political Exhibition Feminism and queer politics mix in this exhibition hosted by Cork Feminista at The Other Place SUNDAY MAY 29 LGBT Pride Service ‘Queering Spirituality’ led by Davey Shanahan at the Unitarian Church, Princes Street, 11am Official Pride Launch Speeches, wine and nibbles at The Other Place, 7.30pm Film Festival: Shake It (Denmark, 2011). When Jacob proposes to his boyfriend, he finds falling himself falling in love with someone else – a girl, and not just any girl, Camden Palace, 8pm MONDAY MAY 30 Film Festival: Gendernauts (Germany, 1999). Monika Treut explores the worlds and thoughts of several female to male transgendered individuals, Camden Palace, 8pm TUESDAY MAY 31 Civil Partnership Talk Solicitor Veronica Foley answers questions on the general effects of the new Civil Partnership Act, The Other Place, 7pm The Lonely Princess Puppet show for all the queer family from Glitter-na-gig, The Other Place, 8pm Film Festival: Saints and Sinners (USA, 2004) Documentary following a devout Catholic gay couple who decide that nothing but a church wedding will do for them, Camden Palace, 8pm WEDNESDAY JUNE 1 Trans Talk Female to male trans man, Darrin Mathews hosts a workshop open to anyone interested in what it is to be transgender, The Other Place, 3pm Belly Dancing Family event featuring Ashenkoti belly dance group, The Other Place, 8pm Pride Ceílí Live music, dancing and craic at Realt Dearg, 8pm Film Festival: Brother to Brother (US, 2004). Drama looking back on the Harlem Renaissance from the perspective of an elderly, black writer who meets a gay teenager in a homeless shelther, Camden Palace, 8pm TUESDAY JUNE 2 Bisexuality Workshop Explore issues affecting people who identify as bisexual with Aoife Fitzgibbon-O’Riordan, The Other Place, 3pm LinC Youth Lesbian Rap Fresh new act from the Linc youth group, The Other Place Café, 8pm

Memorial Service Performances from Mná Mná and Choral Con Fusion celebrating those who are no longer with us to celebrate Pride, St Anne’s of Shandon, 8pm Witless Musical stylings from Loretta Sweeney and Donnacha Cunnane who make up the duo, Witless at The Other Place, 9.30pm Film Festival: Trembling Before G-d (Israel, 2001) Documentary following gay Orthodox Jews who struggle to reconcile their faith and their sexual orientation, Camden Palace, 8pm FRIDAY JUNE 3 Linc BBQ Great food and music at Linc, 6pm to 8.30pm. This is a mixed event, all are welcome Queer as Political Night coinciding with the Queer as Political exhibition with DJ Teresa Jackson and hip hop performer Lady Grew, The Other Place, 8pm The Stonewall Riots and Queer Liberation. Talk by Seán Óg Garland, a gay rights and civil rights activist, about the birth of gay the gay movement, Solidarity Books, 7pm Film Festival: Fremde Haut (Germany, 2005). When Fariba’s application for asylum in turned down she has to return to Iran, where she has been persecuted for being lesbian, Camden Palace, 8pm SATURDAY JUNE 4 Family Day Lots of children’s activities, including Munchies’ Ball, the kid-friendly disco, The Other Place Time, 2pm The Hunt Returns The second annual fun treasure hunt across Cork city, hosted by the MeetnGreet team, The Other Place, 5.30pm Sports Day Five-a-side football, high-heel dash, tops and bottoms race, lipstick and much, much more at Mardyke Green, 2.30pm SUNDAY JUNE 5 Body Painting Workshop with a group of body painters (seven models needed!), The Other Place, 10am, admission €10 Pride Breakfast & Brunch The Linc brunch kicks off at 10am, while The Other Place breakfast kicks off at noon Climb Carrauntoohil Scale Ireland’s highest summit with the Cork Gay Hillwalkers group to help raise the rainbow flag at 3pm, registration before June 3 at hillwalkers@corkpride.com Cork Pride Parade Get your glad rags on and get ready to show Cork how many happy LGBT people there are, taking off at 3pm from Grand Parade Chill out Sunday Relax after the parade with good food, good music and good company at The Other Place, 4pm For a round-up of what’s happening for Cork Pride on the Scene, see Page 25 of this issue. For more information on Cork Pride, visit www.corkpride.ie

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readersevent

Over the Rainbow In 1978 Gilbert Baker designed and created a flag made with six stripes representing the six colours of the rainbow as a symbol of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) movement. Slowly the flag took hold, and today it is flown in Pride marches worldwide, becoming a symbol of hope, pride and acceptance for the LGBT Community around the world. Join ABSOLUT Vodka, as it celebrates PRIDE 2011 with an exclusive evening featuring Rainbow Flag creator and ABSOLUT COLORS designer Gilbert Baker on Wednesday, June 22. 50 GCN readers and their guests will be given the opportunity to enjoy ABSOLUT Colors cocktails and join Gilbert Baker on his first ever visit to Ireland. Gilbert will talk about his inspiration for, and the importance of, the Rainbow Flag, his work with Harvey Milk and his collaboration with ABSOLUT in designing its limited edition ABSOLUT COLORS bottle to mark the 30th anniversary of the Rainbow Flag. To attend this exclusive night, please email info@ gcn.ie marking the subject box, ABSOLUT Pride. An Evening of ABSOLUT PRIDE with GILBERT BAKER, June 22,Winter Garden of the National Gallery of Ireland, 6pm

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AMONGSTMEN

As she gears up to play Ireland’s brand new queer music event this June, intriguingly titled Frighten The Horses, ex-Le Tigre girl JD Sampson talks to Brian Finnegan about gender, Gaga, and growing up to become MEN. Photo by Paul Rowley.

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hen JD Samson was three years old her mother wanted to take her to see a gender counsellor because of the way she moved. “My mother told me this recently,” JD says on the phone from a cottage in upstate New York, where she and bandmate Michael O’Neill have sequestered themselves to write new material. “It’s really interesting to me because I didn’t realise that it was that apparent to outsiders when I was so young.” The ‘it’ JD is referring to, of course, is her androgyny. As a woman she looks for all the world like a hot, geeky gay boy; as a child she thought she was a boy. “I remember not wanting to put my shirt on in the summer and things like that,” she tells me. “I went along in my life being a tomboy and when I was old enough to make my own decisions over what I wore and what my hair would be like I immediately went for an androgynous look. I never wore girl’s clothes again.” For those of you who don’t know of JD Samson yet, she first came to the fore ten years ago as one third of Le Tigre, part of a movement of post-postpunk bands who used new bedroom technology to make music that shouted out radical-queer messages. Le Tigre had feminist politics written all over them too, and their popularity across the world sewed hardy seeds in ground that sprouted the likes of Gossip, Peaches and Scissors Sisters. Now that Le Tigre are no more JD has teamed up with the aforementioned Michael O’Neill, Ginger Brooks Takahashi and Emily Roysdon as the core members of MEN, an art/performance collective that blend the queer politic of Le Tigre with über-catchy pop tunes, big live performances and music videos that feature JD as a mustachioed girl-boy sporting metaphoric erections among other things. It’s only after we’ve talked for about 20 minutes that JD mentions her mother’s early feelings about her androgyny. To begin with, although JD speaks at length, there’s a sense that she’s just answering questions rather than engaging in meaningful conversation. Then, halfway through our chat I

“We’re people who are interested in music that makes us think or reflects what is happening in the world right now.”

ask her what she thinks about the likes of Katy Perry and Lady Gaga using queer posturing to sell themselves to the mainstream. I’m greeted with a small sigh and she says, “People ask me this question all the time.” It’s one of those forks an interview where the exchange can take one turn or the other. Luckily with JD, it’s the key that opens the floodgates. “I have no inclination to say anything bad about Lady Gaga or Katy Perry,” she adds. “They’re making their work for a reason and I’m making my work for a reason and I don’t really see us in the same category. The truth is that I am always happy when there is visibility. When The L Word first came on people complained that it was critical of lesbian attitudes but I was like, it’s still a TV show on Showtime and it’s about lesbians. You can find things to be critical about queer representations in mainstream culture all the time, particularly in pop music, but I think they often open doors to more equality for queers. The fact that Lady Gaga is having a contest right now for which charity to give her money to and all of them are queer organisations is really awesome.” Suddenly it’s hard to get a word in edgewise, but I manage to say that I think people ask JD about Gaga all the time because they might see JD as authentically queer and Gaga as queer appropriation. “I don’t think that appropriating queer culture is going to make someone more popular right now,” says JD. “Is being friends with queers going to actually sell more music?” I argue that straight artists have been appropriating queer culture to sell music for a long time, from Bowie to Madonna, and JD takes a moment to muse. “That’s cool to think about and really exciting to me,” she says eventually. “I also know that Lady Gaga wrote Born This Way with someone who is queer and when I hear that song I think of him more than I do of her. What you have to remember about the music industry is that a lot of people don’t write their own songs and a lot of people don’t even lead their own careers. There are whole teams deciding what is going to make sense for that artist. “For Katy Perry and I Kissed A Girl, that was a really smart move. She was edgy enough to deliver

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it and square enough to become a major pop star on the back of it. With Lady Gaga, she’s writing with the right people and if anything I’m jealous that I didn’t get to make that song happen.” Going on the vocal hooks, slick production and boundary-leaping image projected by MEN, it looks like making that song happen is only a matter of time for JD. Along with Le Tigre bandmate Johanna Fateman she dabbled in mainstream pop production on Christina Aguilera’s 2010 Bionic album and over the past three years MEN have been playing all over America and Europe, packing out venues with fans of their dance-punk stylings, and touring with the likes of Gossip and Peaches. While JD sees Gossip and Scissors Sisters as queer bands, she’s at a slight loss when it comes to how MEN should be categorised. When I ask her if being identified as a queer band places limitations on MEN, she replies, “We’ve talked about this as a band, about how gay we want to be. We go through different stages. Sometimes our outfits or videos say, ‘Hi, we’re gay’, but I think it’s important to just be ourselves and not sell ourselves as one thing or another. If people just want to consider us a queer band, then we are – that’s fine. If people want to think about our music and the messages that are not just queer, that’s fine too. It’s so hard to know how to brand yourself.” It’s a concern that many music acts have in an industry where the consumption of music has changed vastly, relying for the most part on TV franchises and brand alignment. The stark and sometimes confrontational politic of MEN’s lyrics places them in a difficult niche, a place where the fast-tracking, mouse-tapping consumer is asked to take time out to actually think. “It’s less of a forced issue that we are political,” JD counters, but then she goes on to demolish that argument. “We’re not the kind of people who like to sing about holding hands with someone and how good that feels. We’re people who are interested in music that makes us think or reflects what is happening in the world right now.” What’s wrong with being political in a culture that’s increasingly two-dimensional? These days it’s a unique selling point and in a way, JD has been doing it ever since she was the child her mother wanted to send to a gender counsellor. “My body is a visible place of being gender queer,” she says as our interview comes to a close. “I think it’s been less about talking about it but rather living it so that it exists. I believe that we should all be allowed to be whatever we are, that we don’t really have to have a conversation about it. This is who I am. This is my life.” MEN will perform at Frighten the Horses a not-for-profit one-night festival of alternative queer music and artist-curated visuals at Block T, 1-6 Haymarket, Smithfield, Dublin 7 on June 11 at 8pm. Tickets E10 in advance from 9 Crow Street (opposite Urban Outfitters) or email: manecontact@gmail.com For further info and updates see frightenthehorses.tumblr.com

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“A huge number of trans people do choose to leave one job as one gender and enter another job as another.”

Work In Progress In an historic ruling by the Equality Tribunal last month, transgender woman Louise Hannon was awarded in excess of €35,000 for discrimination endured at her job. But while a significant legal battle has been won, does transphobia in the workplace rage on? Gerard Skehan talks to some transgender employees, including Hannon herself, to find out.

“The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a rollercoaster,” says Louise Hannon, who still seems surprised by the level of media interest in her ground-breaking and successful court action against First Direct Logistics in which she alleged she had been constructively dismissed when she revealed her gender identity to her employer and sought to live to it at work.

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The 50-year-old Dublin resident says she never set out to attract such publicity; she simply wanted to raise awareness of the problems faced by people transitioning in the workplace. “It’s like the attitude society had to gay people 20 years ago,” she says. “There are so few of us out there, that there is a lot of ignorance. There is this persistent attitude of ‘why do you want to change?’ It’s very hard for some people to get their heads around.” Hannon’s case represents the first time the Employment Equality Acts have been successfully used to provide protection from discrimination for transgender people. It all started, Hannon explains, when she told her boss she was considering leaving. “I took him to my computer and showed him a photo of Louise and said ‘that’s me’. I said I wanted to leave because I didn’t think haulage was the best place to transition”. But Hannon was persuaded to stay on and she subsequently started attending work as Louise. However, when she arrived in the office as a woman after changing her name by deed poll in March 2007, she was told she would have to work the phones in her male identity from home and that she would have to revert to a male identity when meeting clients. She was also forbidden from using the women’s toilet at work and was repeatedly called by her male name. Hannon says she found it particularly difficult working from home as her leads dried up when she was out of the office environment. “I kept saying I wanted to come back. But I was always told there wasn’t room for me. Eventually the manager said I wasn’t getting in enough business. He said he’d let me go if I didn’t get more.” Hannon’s experiences are by no means exceptional, but there are plenty employers out there who have dealt more sensitively with their transgender employees. Sean Meehan is a 27-year-old female to male trans man from Dublin. Like many people about to embark on gender transitioning, he thought it would be easier to quit his old job and start afresh. He handed in his notice at his old job and applied successfully for the position of stock controller with FCUK clothes shop.

“Work is one of the most worrying things with people undergoing transition,” he says. “I thought it would be easier on everyone, especially with personal pronouns – he instead of she, him instead of her. For me, starting a new job and being called my new name was fantastic. The people in my new job were so respectful, I feel very lucky to get the job I got.” Meehan is particularly grateful to the assistant manager who took a very straightforward approach to educating herself about her new employee. “She went and looked up ‘transgender’ online. She knew exactly what she was talking about from then on. Before I arrived at work she said to other employees they should ask her if they had any queries. I thought this was fantastic. She was very supportive.” Unlike Meehan, Deirdre O’Byrne decided to continue working in her old job in IT throughout her transitioning period. In her early 40s, O’Byrne has been undergoing transition since 2009. “A huge number of trans people do choose to leave one job as one gender and enter another job as another,” she says. “It’s a way of drawing a line. But I decided I’d been working with my colleagues for a long time and they respected the work I do. They were going to find out anyway so I decided I might as well give them a chance.” Her confident move paid off and she describes the process of transitioning at work as “relatively straightforward”. When she did start reporting to work as Deirdre, there was an adjustment period, “They had to deal with a change of name, of presentation. But it was completely fine. My line manager was very supportive and the CEO quoted all sorts of gurus about how you have to live life true to yourself. He said if there’s any trouble whatsoever it would be dealt with an iron fist.” O’Byrne feels that certain sectors, particularly IT, are leading the way in terms of employment policy for transgender people. “I do think there are a lot of trans women who work in IT. The first company to introduce a transgender policy was Apple and there is a long history of trans people in the sector. “I was at a Pride event where Microsoft and HP were represented. I have to say my jaw was on the floor when I saw their transgender

policies. They were nearly better than some LGBT organisations’.” O’Byrne’s admiration for the transgender policies of multinational IT companies is echoed by Hannon. She believes their policies are a useful template for smaller businesses. “There are big companies in Ireland like Google and Hewlett Packard that other employers should take a look at,” she says. “The bottom line is – and this is borne out in the success of these multinationals – an environment that supports inclusion and diversity fares a lot better. They worry about being profitable, not other distractions. This kind of policy could apply to Ireland too.” Asked about the significance of her court action, Hannon says it highlights the lack of transgender awareness that exists in the workplace. “I think the workplace can be very hostile to trans people. This is because the information simply isn’t there for employers.” Hannon would like to see a standardised protocol put in place. This is also an ambition of the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI), who are hoping to work with the unions to put trans-friendly guidelines in place. Vanessa Lacey, development worker with TENI believes the Hannon case has shone a much-needed spotlight on the issue. “Louise’s case is going to have remarkable consequences,” she says. “It means that employers can’t discriminate on gender grounds anymore. It also means they have to put policies in place for dealing with people in transition.” TENI Chairperson, Martine Cuypers is also hopeful that a legislative framework for gender recognition will be put in place. She has called on Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton to draft and enact such legislation as quickly as possible. “TENI urgently calls on the government to fulfill its commitment to extend the protections of the equality legislation to transgender people through the explicit inclusion of ‘Gender Identity and Gender Expression’ as protections under the gender ground,” she says. To find out more about Transgender Equality Network Ireland, visit www.teni.ie

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True Blood As the UK revises its ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood, Brian Byrne asks if the Irish Blood Transfusion Service’s continued lifetime ban is good sense or blind discrimination.

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espite the woman’s sky blue scrubs, mechanical smile and decidedly officious hairdo, she couldn’t help but blush as she told me I could never give blood. I, on the other hand, wasn’t in the least bit fazed. I had known it was coming. I knew it long before the donation van pulled into my college campus; before I stepped inside and filled out the questionnaire; before I was asked if I had ever slept with another man and replied with a nod, a smile, and a firm “yes”. So why did I attempt to donate in the first place? Today, the blood ban for men who have sex with men (MSM) is enforced in 35 countries. 26 of these, including Ireland, impose a lifetime ban – or in bureaucratic jargon, an “indefinite deferral period”. The ban was introduced in the early 1980s during the height of the Aids epidemic. The disease was newly discovered, people didn’t know much about it and as a result they were frightened. Aids was seen almost exclusively as disease that affected gay men, and so it is easy to understand the rationale behind imposing such a ban and cutting the perceived infected minority out of the equation. But three decades later, despite groundbreaking advances in biochemistry and microbiology, this archaic ban remains firmly in place. Is this justifiable? With the recent announcement of the UK government’s tentative plans to lift the ban the answer would appear to be an easy one. The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS), however, remains adamant that the MSM blood ban is in place for a reason and that lifting it, even in favour of a ten-year deferral period such as the UK is proposing, is out of the question. IBTS Medical and Scientific Director, Dr Ian Franklin says: “Recent publications on the safety of this measure suggest that it is too early to be confident that this is a safe measure for HIV, for other infections that cannot be tested for,

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or that are currently undiscovered.” Though all donated blood is tested for known pathogens, a window period exists between the time of infection with HIV and the ability for it to be found in the blood. This window period can last anywhere between three to six months, though the average is 22 days. The IBTS, and blood services internationally, attempt to overcome this by using a questionnaire. Common sense would suggest this is far from a foolproof system. If gay or bisexual man decides to lie on the questionnaire he will be unrestricted by any such ban. Proof of its ineffectuality comes in figures released by the National Blood Service (NBS), the UK equivalent of the IBTS, who estimate that nearly one in ten sexually active gay men donate blood despite the ban. Last year the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) of the Health Service Executive (HSE) reported figures that added several notches to the IBTS’s argument. They found that the year-on-year increase in the number of MSM’s found to be HIV-positive had risen by a staggering 42.3 percent. The majority of these men were Irish by birth and under the age of 30. Further incriminating evidence comes from abroad. According to Dr Franklin, “In Spain, there has been a recent transmission of HIV by a donor found later to have admitted to MSM behaviour. This is alarming.” Spain only recently introduced new screening criteria in place of the lifetime ban. The blood ban has for years sparked outrage from those who believe it to be discriminatory, homophobic and unequal. On the IBTS website, www.giveblood.ie, potential donors can take a quiz which informs them of their eligibility to give blood. The quiz never asks if the person filling it out has ever had oral or anal sex with another man, unprotected or otherwise. While IBTS representative Miranda O’

Donovan argues that the quiz is “not definitive,” and only deals with “the most common reasons why donors and potential donors are deferred,” such reasoning is not broadcasted. Consequently, the ideology of many frustrated MSMs who take the quiz is intensified. A major reasoning behind the belief that the ban is discriminatory is the shorter deferral periods imposed on other high-risk candidates. Those who have had sex with an individual known to have HIV or with a prostitute are banned for one year, a period far outside the maximum amount of time it could take for HIV to be discovered in the blood. Why, then, are MSMs given a lifetime ban?

a universal policy around individual sexual habits - and not sexuality - would be more appropriate,” he says. “We accept the high instance of new diagnosis among MSMs but this could also reflect a heightened sense of sexual health awareness among this group. Do MSMs test more?” Roche says “proper research and screening” is the way forward, as he believes it “would not only be a more equitable approach but would also give the wider population more confidence in the service.” I thought trying and failing to donate blood would help me write this article. I thought I’d alight on an inexcusable flaw that

“If gay or bisexual man decides to lie on the IBTS questionnaire, the ban makes no difference whatsoever.” Says Dr. Franklin: “The exclusion of men who have sex with men from donation is based not only on risk factors for HIV – although that remains important – but on other blood-borne agents known to be associated with MSM behaviour.” Tiernan Brady, Director of Gay Health Strategy at the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), does not believe the ban is discriminatory. “The decision in relation to blood has to be taken on scientific grounds,” he says. “It’s not a political decision and it shouldn’t be one. For us this isn’t an equality issue. It’s not about discrimination. The most important thing we must have is a safe blood supply and that people have confidence in that blood supply.” David Roche from the Cork Gay Project disagrees. “A policy of proper screening and

everyone before me had somehow failed to see, something to help me in my attempt to resolve this difficult debate. But it was never going to be that easy. The IBTS continues to impose the MSM blood ban for a legitimate reason. It is not done to discriminate against or seek to stigmatise a minority, even though the ban actually does those things. The MSM blood ban is backed up by incontrovertible evidence which states that more Irish men are carrying HIV or Aids, yet the ban is likely to be ineffective because of its reliance on the conscience of a blood donor rather than testing his blood. It’s a difficult argument to come down on one side or the other with, but perhaps Dave Roche sums it up the larger feeling in the gay community when he says, “Any ban based on a notion of what it means to be homosexual is intrinsically homophobic.”

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Dave Thomas and his partner Patrick Bracken are the first gay male couple to apply to foster children together and succeed. But it was a long journey filled with both and expected and unexpected obstacles that threatened to throw them off course, they tell Brian Finnegan.

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n Ireland you can apply to be a foster carer as a single person, whether you are gay or straight. Heterosexual couples can, of course, apply too, but until now there has been no case of a gay male couple applying together and getting through the rigorous assessment that leads to approval from the Health Services Executive (HSE). Dave Thomas (45) and Paddy Bracken (30), however, have bucked that trend and are now Ireland’s first fully approved couple of gay male foster parents. However, their journey towards this momentous development began nearly six years ago and it was fraught with obstacles. They began their journey towards fostering because Dave felt “a deep, human longing to care for a child”. “Originally we thought about adopting,” he says, “but it’s not possible for a gay couple to adopt here. I could have applied to adopt as a single man but Patrick would have had no legal relationship to the child.” When Dave suggested fostering instead, Paddy was not too keen. “I wanted a child of my own,” he says. “It took about two years and much talking about it before I warmed to the idea of fostering.” “There are two ways to go, either directly through the HSE or through a private agency,” Dave explains. “We decided to go with a private agency because they had a better support package than the HSE. They had a 24-hour phoneline, intensive training and support groups.” Considering what was to come later in the process, it is ironic that their first application to the agency was turned down after a series of assessment interviews because Dave had never verbally come out as gay to his parents. “My parents knew I was gay. Paddy is part of my family life, but it was something that we just hadn’t spoken about,” he says. “The agency felt that they would be colluding in the fact that I was in the closet. I was told that the application would not be processed until I told my parents I was gay. “Do they ask heterosexual couples to tell their parents they’re straight? I felt it was a discriminatory so I told the agency I was going to get a solicitor to see where we stood. Within a week our application began to be processed again.” There followed several months of intensive interviews. “They go through your own life, your parents’ marriage, your grandparents’ marriages, your extended family. Even our dog was assessed to see if it was friendly or might snap at someone,” says Paddy. Adopting through an agency means that you are more likely to get an older child from a highly dysfunctional background, one the HSE finds more difficult to place. Asked why they went for this option, Dave laughs, “Maybe we’re just gluttons for punishment.” But then he turns serious. “We honestly felt we had something to offer children in difficulty. We’re talking about

children that come from extremely problematic backgrounds – starvation, sexual abuse, extreme physical abuse, and abandonment... It’s quite horrific. If these kids don’t have a home they’re put in residential units. Some of those are fine, but they’re institutions. We could offer a home.” At the end of the interview process, Dave and Paddy went before an independent panel for the first layer of approval. “They said that any questions they had were fully answered and that they would be recommending to the HSE that we would be passed as general foster parents,” says Dave. “I burst into tears,” says Paddy. “The reality dawned on me that we could be taking care of a child in our house, that this could become part of our life. The people on the panel were all jumping up looking for tissues!” It seemed like all systems go until a few weeks later when word came that the HSE internal panel had unanimously turned Dave and Paddy down for fostering. “That caught everyone off guard,” says Paddy. “According to the agency there were no strong enough reasons for us to be turned down on the HSE’s written report. For example one of the reasons was: “David and Patrick do not have parenting skills”. Plenty of heterosexual couples who don’t have children are approved as foster parents. Plenty of single people without children are approved.” At the time Dave and Paddy had no idea that they were the first gay couple to go through the process in Ireland. “Looking back our personal belief is that the panel had issues with the fact that we were a gay couple and were trying to find reasons to turn us down,” Dave says. “We suggested to the agency that we go down the legal route but then the HSE came back and said in a roundabout way, ‘Let’s forget you went through the process and start again’. The agency said to go along with it because if you go down the legal route you might win the war but you will loose the battle.” The couple’s forms went back to the HSE panel who meet once a month, but then month after month went by and they never seemed to get the time in the meeting to discuss the application. “We were pushing it and pushing it until I got a call from the agency,” says Dave. “They said the HSE panel asked them to put some questions to us that they were really uncomfortable with, questions they would never be told to ask a heterosexual couple. A high percentage of them were about our sex life, like had we ever cheated on each other. Had we ever brought other men into the house for sex? Had we ever had more than one sexual partner at the same time?” Although their gut feelings were that they shouldn’t answer the questions, Dave and Patrick thought back to the reason they applied in the first place.

“We weren’t in it to wave the rainbow flag, we were in it because we wanted to be foster parents.” “We weren’t in it to wave the rainbow flag, we were in it because we wanted to be foster parents,” says Patrick. With the questions answered, the HSE panel said they’d look again at the application at their next meeting. It didn’t happen. Nor did it happen the next month. Skip to a year and a half later... “In December 2008 the phone rang and we were told that we had been approved, not as general foster carers but as foster carers with restrictions,” says Dave. “Those restrictions were that we could only have a child for a maximum of 28 days in our house and they had to be aged between seven and 12. We believe that the reason these restrictions were put in place was to make it more difficult for us. The HSE knew that the agency we were with generally only got kids from the higher age range in need of long-term care. At that point they had run out of reasons to reject us.” Nevertheless, by the end of the following month Dave and Paddy got their first foster child. “It was a baptism of fire,” says Paddy. “He was an extremely disturbed, extremely violent child, but looking back on it I wouldn’t change a thing. It was a healthy dose of reality and prepared us for taking care of future children that would come into our care.” Over the following year they had 16 placements, with some children coming to stay with them for a second or third time. In 2010 one of these children came back for seven months, the HSE temporarily dropping their restrictions. And then, just as the first public civil partnership was taking place last April, Dave and Paddy got the news that the restrictions have been lifted and they are now fully approved general foster parents. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster ride,” says Dave. “There have been lows, but amazing highs too, particularly when we’ve seen a change in the children who have come into our house. It’s made us stronger and brought us closer together too.” Patrick would advise any gay couple interested in fostering to take the first steps. “Once you go through the assessment process you’ll know whether it’s for you or not. If it is, then you won’t regret one minute of it.”

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Civil Partnership There will be a record of a union of two people there forever more.” The reception was held in the Radisson Stillorgan, St Helen’s, where as Marion says, “The staff couldn’t have been more helpful.” “We had one of the best days weather-wise so far this year, so it was just magnificent,” says Sandra. “Both our witnesses spoke at the reception,” adds Marion. “Mine was my best friend, Sandra’s was her mother. My father hates speaking, so we didn’t ask him to go through it again after having had to do it for my sister’s wedding!” “I found the whole day really affirming,” says Sandra. “I suddenly got nervous that morning. We had picked out a poem that we were going to read out together in the church. It was exposing a very personal part of who I am and our relationship in public. But it turned out be lovely to say what Marion means to me in front of our family and friends, and what our commitment means to us. “The next day, I kept looking at Marion and thinking, ‘She’s my next of kin’. If anything happens to me next week, next month, next year, or over the rest of my life, Marion is my next of kin. There will never be any question over that.” If you have had a civil partnership and would like to be interviewed for ‘Vows’, contact the editor at editor@gcn.ie

Reception DJ

Vows: Sandra and Marion Irwin-Gowran It’s been 12 years since Sandra got down on bended knee and proposed to Marion, but in the meantime they always knew the time would come when they could tie the knot legally in Ireland. “I had been to a civil partnership ceremony in Norway about two years previously,” says Marion. “It gave me the feeling that it was possible,” The two met on a blind date in January 1999 at Bingo! in The George and began seeing each other very quickly after that, but it wasn’t until the following summer that Marion knew it was the real deal. “I had always wanted to walk the Wicklow Way,” she says. “Neither of us had walked the length of ourselves, never mind the length of the Wicklow Way. It was agonising and we were together morning, noon and night, but there wasn’t a cross word. For me, that was it - I knew for sure. Anyone who could endure me for eight days and 100km in agonising heat, it had to mean something.” Marion gave birth to their son Caelum in 2007 and Sandra is currently pregnant, due in this month. “We had Caelum with a gay couple who are our good friends,” says Sandra. “We’re having this baby with the same couple. As far as Caelum is concerned he has two daddies as well as two mothers and he sees them every week, even though we are the primary parents. It’s a happy arrangement, working out great.” Although they had already committed to each

other over a decade ago, both Sandra and Marion were surprised by the emotion involved in their civil partnership. “Neither of us are ‘Bridezillas’,” laughs Marion. “The significance was not lost on us, though, particularly when we went down the registry office to register in January, as you have to do three months before the ceremony. I found it very emotional.” On the big day itself Marion cried all the way up the aisle of Dublin’s Unitarian Church to the strains of Shaz Oye singing the Etta James classic, At Last. “I didn’t stop crying after that,” she says. “I was crying all day!” “It meant I couldn’t be the one crying,” adds Sandra. “I turned around to her half-way through the ceremony and said, ‘Eh, which one of us is pregnant and hormonal here?’” At the civil partnership registration itself, after the ceremony in the Unitarian Church, was when the magnitude of what the couple were doing hit home to Marion. “When the registrar started talking about the law, it really struck me that this was real - it wasn’t pretend,” she says. “I was thinking about the historic part of it, that in the census this will be recorded for any of our family who want to look us up in 100 years.

“We aim to get people on the dancefloor with big smiles on their faces,” says Sarah Dunleavy of Rhythm Wedding DJ’s who are a hot pick for the dancefloor at your civil partnership reception for several reasons, not least that the company is gay-owned. “We are the only DJ company in Ireland that has over 55,000 songs to choose from,” Sarah adds. “We will have a consultation with the couple and they can select what genre or era of music they want, and the songs they will be happy with.” It’s not only the couple that get to choose the music, though - Rhythm Wedding DJ’s seek to make their dance set as interactive as possible for the guests. “We place request cards on each table. Guests can fill them out and give them to me and they’re guaranteed to dance to their favourite tracks.” Rhythm Wedding DJ’s come with all our own equipment, lighting, PA, so you don’t have to worry about anything except having a good time. And what’s more, Rhythm Wedding DJ’s are offering one lucky couple the chance to win a three-hour DJ set at their civil partnership reception. To be in with a chance to win go to the Rhythm Wedding DJ’s facebook page at RhythmDJsMusic, click on ‘like’ and write the song you most like dancing to on their Wall. Find out more at www.rhythmweddingdjs.com

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18/05/2011 12:08


Legally Bound

Over the past few months GCN has been getting calls with questions about the legal ins and outs of Civil Partnership. Here O’Brien Ronayne Solicitors answer the key questions.

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he purpose of the Civil Partnership Act is to establish a statutory civil partnership registration scheme for same-sex couples along with defining the rights and obligations which flow from this registration to include maintenance, protection of shared homes, Succession Act Rights and pensions. The Act also establishes a redress scheme for opposite sex and same sex cohabiting couples who are not married or registered in a civil partnership. The purpose of this redress scheme is to protect a financially vulnerable party at the end of a longterm cohabiting relationship. The Act has been in operation now for just over five months and the following is a brief attempt to answer some of the questions that arise on a day-to-day basis. We have to give the standard health warning that people should seek specific legal advice on their own situation but, in general, where people register a Civil Partnership, it imposes on them all the same rights and responsibilities which marriage imposes on an individual, for example, the right and responsibility to support and maintain each other financially and all the family law rights which derive from this, e.g. the right to apply for maintenance etc., full inheritance and

Succession Act rights and entitlement to pension benefits, where appropriate. Partners would also be considered to be the next of kin of each other, which would be of assistance in cases of illness etc. The act allows for the recognition of foreign civil partnerships where they comply with Irish law, to the extent that the relationship is exclusive in nature, is permanent, has been registered under the law of the other county and the general rights and obligations flowing from a foreign relationship are, in the opinion of the Irish government, sufficient for that relationship to comply with the Irish definition of civil partnership. To date Civil Partnerships in 27 different jurisdictions, including the United Kingdom, have now been recognised by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. Like marriage, the registration of a civil partnership revokes previous Wills. Therefore, it is important that post-registration, a new Will is entered into. With regard to succession, similar rights to those which accrue to spouses to a share in the estate of a deceased, apply to civil partners however, these rights can be renounced. Pre-nuptial agreements are, on grounds of public policy, not enforceable, per se, in Irish Law; our opinion is that the same would apply to pre-registration agreements. It seems to us at the best the court might consider a pre-registration agreement to be a factor to be taken into consideration if there was a dispute between the partners. The best we can suggest is that it may be better to have one in place than not, however no guarantee can be given that a Court would uphold the provisions of such an agreement. With regard to taxation, The Civil Partnership Act, does not, itself, contain any taxation provisions. The intention is that the civil partner

would be treated as a spouse for all taxation purposes. This, for example, would provide for major tax breaks if one partner inherits from the other on death. With regard to the succession rules that apply, as mentioned previously, these are similar to those that apply with regard to spouses though, frankly, the civil partner is not in quite as strong a position as a spouse might be. In brief, a civil partner similar to a husband or wife is now entitled to a legal right share of half of the estate of their deceased partner where there are no children of the deceased partner. However, where there are children, the civil partner is entitled to a legal right share of one third of the estate, subject to a possible claim which might be brought by a child of the deceased. It goes without saying that the individual or couple considering registering their partnership whether either one or both have children should consider matters clearly and, if necessary, take appropriate legal or taxation advice. With regard to other issues that arise, under the Adoption Acts, in general, a child may be adopted by married couples, or single individuals. There is currently no provision to allow civil partners to jointly adopt children. However, an individual can proceed with an adoption, unfortunately, their partner, in these circumstances, would have no legal connection to the child. This is an issue which may, and indeed, should ultimately be addressed. Since the January 2011, the Social Welfare code recognises civil partners and cohabitants, along with married couples. The Department of Social Welfare’s website gives clear details as to the implications of the Civil Partnership on Social Welfare entitlement. Some of the miscellaneous rights which consequent on registration of a partnership are rights under the domestic violence legislation and the right of civil partners to sue for damages where their partner has been killed. You should also note that a partnership can be dissolved under the act (in a procedure similar to a divorce), however the qualifying period of separation at two years is shorter than that required for a divorce. In such circumstances, the court has significant powers to make orders regarding the transfer of property, Pension Adjustment Orders, financial compensation and maintenance orders etc. The provisions in this regard mirror broadly the rights which accrue to spouses on divorce. With regard to registration of the partnership, the Civil Registration Act 2004 requires that three months notice be given to the Registrar of Marriages in the area in which the couple reside. The ceremony itself is identical to the civil marriage ceremony and can be performed at a Registry Office or in a location which has been certified for civil marriage/partnership (many hotels are so registered). It goes without saying that you can’t enter into a civil partnership if you are currently married or registered in a civil partnership with another party. O’Brien Ronayne Solicitors, 5a Main Rd, Tallaght, Dublin 24, (01) 424 6200, info@obr.ie

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18/05/2011 18:52


fashion

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Take Five... Shades

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1. Cream Frames, €10.50 2. Foldable Clear frames, €6.99 3. Red Aviators, €1.50 4. Blue Funky Frames, €1.50 5. Black Frames, Brown Lense, €20 Stockists: 1. River Island, Dublin, Limerick and Cork; 2. Nu Look, Jervis Street Shopping Centre, Dublin; 3 & 4. Penny’s nationwide; 5. Topman, Dublin, Cork, Galway and Wexford. Stylist: Noel Sutton

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18/05/2011 12:14


With stylist, Darren Kennedy As far as trends go this season, colour blocking stole a march on perhaps every other, and leading the way on the catwalk was Jil Sander. Raf Simons’ fifth anniversary designing Jil Sander’s menswear featured clashing combo’s including hot pink with vibrant orange, and canary yellow with cobalt blue. This profusion of intense shades was layered to create looks not for the colour-shy or indeed the faint hearted. If the thoughts of wearing a bright orange shirt with some hot pink pants sounds like it will only serve to make your eyes water then fear not. The easiest way to wear this trend is to carefully select one bold colour at a time and temper it with more neutral or darker colour shades. Try this for a while and you might surprise yourself at how quick you get into it. Every season there is always one colour that is thrown into the fashion spotlight. This summer that honour goes to green. Banish thoughts of looking like a leprechaun as our national colour takes centre stage. Any hue will work from bright apple green to shades of emerald that was favoured at the house of Louis Vuitton. You’ll notice green in abundance on the highstreet from H&M, Acne and Topshop to even more slightly traditional labels like Fred Perry. I’m already on the hunt for the perfect pair of green chinos! Darren Kennedy is a TV Presenter and founder of online magazine www.helpmystyle.ie

Tucked away from the rest of the world

The perfect setting for the most unforgettable experience An exclusive private estate for your special day

Ballymagarvey Village Balrath, County Meath www.ballymagarvey.ie T. 041 982 5959 WWW.GCN.IE 39

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18/05/2011 12:15


Grooming

SCENT OF A MAN Research has found that a gay man will sexually respond to another man’s body odour much in the same way as women do, so why do we cover up with strong scents all the time? Noel Sutton tells you how to let your body do the talking without turning the boys off.

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survey carried out recently found that gay men respond differently from straight men when exposed to a suspected sexual stimulus found in male sweat. “When homosexual men smelled the odour of male sweat - more specifically, a chemical in the male hormone testosterone – their brains responded similarly to those of women,” suggested researcher Stefan Lovgren. So, if gay men are more attracted to the smell of male sweat, why have we become obsessed with covering up with aftershaves and colognes? As consumers we are constantly bombarded with a million products to mask our body odours and smell of ‘freshly picked cotton’ instead. But you can get the smell of the product you choose to work with your own personal body odour to maximize your potential in the field. DEODORANT VS ANTIPERSPIRANT Not many people know this, but there is a difference between an antiperspirant and deodorant. Antiperspirants contain ingredients like aluminium compound to literally stop sweating from occurring. Deodorants on the other hand, contain a fragrance to cover the odour of sweat and ingredients to make the skin less inviting for the bacteria that cause the smell everyone worries about. Some brands of men’s deodorant are unscented, making them a perfect choice for women too. Many people have heard the story about the body becoming immune to effects of

a product after using the same one for a while. While this may be true for some products, there is no evidence to support it when it comes to deodorants. If you tend to have an issue with excessive armpit sweat, you may very well be advised to try one of several clinical-strength deodorants on the market. But if not, it’s better to go with a fragrance-free antiperspirant. You won’t smell of nasty sweat, but your natural body smell won’t be interfered with either. COLOGNE VS PERFUME Fragrances use essential oils to craft their scents. Perfume comes in several intensities. Eau de Perfume, for example, has approximately 15 percent essential oils, while Eau de Toilette has approximately 10 percent essential oils. Cologne has about five percent essential oils and body splash and aftershave contain approximately two percent essential oils. Perfume is strong and generally designed to be applied sparingly, while cologne, aftershave and body spray can be applied more liberally. These differences give you many options when shopping for fragrances. To let your own body smell work along with artificial scents, it’s better to use cologne. Choose your cologne carefully, though. Try to make sure it works with your smell rather than against it. TOP PRODUCT Eccentric Molecule is the most talked about unisex fragrance at the moment, boasting a big celeb fan club it promises “less of an aroma and more of an affect”. Available from Harvey Nichols €75

Beauty Bitch Waves crash on a sandy beach, a mother and daughter walk hand in hand, gusts of wind blowing in their hair, knitted woolly polo necks giving them all the warmth they need. The daughter turns her pretty little windswept face to her mother and asks, “Do you douche? To which Mom earnestly replies, “I sure do.” This is an ad for Massengill, a line of douches, which you’d definitely never see on Mad Men. Oh, the ads of yesteryear! Speaking of which, before I shamelessly plug my next beauty accessory that I received for free, I found its long lost relative amongst the pages of Vintage Fashion and Beauty Ads (www. taschen.com), next to an advert introducing the world of 1978 to the first cologne exclusively for gay men (I kid you not). I wonder what gay smells like? Answers on a postcard please. Anyway, 33 years ago, the so-called Male Bag was having maximum impact in America. It held five facial products inside a zippered carrying case. Interestingly, the Male Bag contained a Lash Tint and a Lip Toner to provide subtle accents. Back to 2011 and a more updated man bag from ASAP Skin Products, which contains Facial Cleansing Gel, some Face Defence Moisturiser and an Exfoliating Facial Scrub. Not a tint or toner in sight. Who needs subtle accents anyway? Check out www.asapskinproducts.com

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18/05/2011 12:51


Your special day deserves our special attention

Complimentary Civil Ceremony Suite dressed for the occasion Use of Charleville Castle Estate for your special photographs Sumptuous wedding menus Luxurious accommodation

Call Catherine or Donna to make an appointment and enjoy dinner with our compliments Tullamore, Co. Offaly • Tel: 057 934 6666 sales@tullamorecourthotel.ie www.tullamorecourthotel.ie

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17/05/2011 14:28


eating in and out

On The Side: Serve this tasty potato salad with your barbecued chicken. Cut some cooked new potatoes into bite-sized chunks. Add some mayonnaise, wholegrain mustard, sliced spring onions, grated emmental cheese, chopped cooked bacon or ham and loads of freshly chopped parsley. Season to taste. Yum!

Two Poofs in a Pantry

The summer’s here and with it comes barebecue season. Our sweet and sticky Bourbon BBQ Chicken is perfect for al fresco eating, say GCN superchefs Brian Drinan and Paul Coffey.

Add some sunshine into your weekend meal with this gorgeously sticky barbecued chicken dish. It’s such an easy recipe and definitely beats the plain old burger or sausage on the grill. Barbecues are a fun and informal way to

entertain, providing the weather is clement, and serving up a meal this way is relatively low maintenance, once you keep the menu to a minimum. A few classic salads (see our side dish), some good crusty bread and a nicely chilled glass of wine or two should make it a summer dinner to remember. This recipe serves four. WHAT TO PUT IN 100mls of bourbon Two tblsp maple syrup One tblsp Dijon mustard Four chicken breasts, skin on Two tblsp oil Four cloves of garlic, finely chopped

Sea salt Black pepper HOW TO MAKE IT 1. Mix together the bourbon, maple syrup, mustard and garlic, and put to one side. 2. Combine the oil, salt and pepper and brush the chicken on all sides. 3. Place on the pre-heated barbecue and cook for five minutes each side. Then cook for a further 15 minutes, brushing occasionally with the bourbon glaze. 4. Make sure that chicken is cooked through and that any juices are running clear before serving in a large dish with salads on the side.

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18/05/2011 12:11


DILL_GCN:Layout 1

The Big Dish... A night at Limerick’s Glasshouse restaurant ended in a surreal situation for Sinéad Deegan, but luckily the food and ambience were top notch.

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t’s probably not appropriate to review your own wedding food, but hats off to Ted from Wildeside Catering for feeding Michelin Star quality food to 200 hungry diners. Every dish oozed with flavour, was exquisitely presented and expertly served. No mean feat when the kitchen is in a marshy field in County Limerick. The post-mortem was held the next day at the Glasshouse Restaurant, located in Limerick City Centre on the banks of the Shannon River. The Glasshouse has been in operation for almost a year and is owned and run by Limerick man, David Corbett (who owned and ran the famous Green Onion for years). The Glasshouse incorporates two distinct dining areas. The dining room, on the first floor, is spacious with high ceilings, beautifully restored parquet flooring, comfortable banquette seating and stunning panoramic river views. The ground floor houses a lounge/bar where the atmosphere is more relaxed and small plates and cocktails are usually served. We joined our guests late, so we ate as they drank cocktails in the ground floor lounge. We had the option to eat from the set menu (€25), a la carte or small plates. We choose a la carte and a bottle of La Linda Malbec. The newly acquired husband had Curragchase White Pudding served with an Asian Pear Salad and Crab Apple Jelly. The juicy, crisp pear accented the hearty oatmealy taste of the pudding and the crab apple jelly provided just the right spark for this richly sweet and salty dish. I had the warm St Tola Goat Cheese

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* LUNCH DINNER BRUNCH *

Salad served with Organic Leaves, Avocado, Strawberries, Candied Pecans and Honey Balsamic Dressing. The goat’s cheese had a light caramel taste with a slightly dry finish. The leaves, avocado and strawberries were bathed in the sweet moistness of the honey balsamic dressing. The crunchy candied peaches were the crispy cherry on top of this simple but divinely tasty salad. Hubbie had the Chorizo Rigatoni for his main. I’ve been unable to stomach chorizo since my au pair gave me food poisoning last summer with her Godawful chorizo tortilla (I was sick for two weeks, but on the plus side lost over a stone). He said the “the chorizo was a bit greasy but the tomato sauce had a lovely chilli and garlic kick and the basil pulled the sauce and pasta together.” He ate most of it, leaving some of the chorizo on the side. I don’t usually eat chicken in restaurants when it’s something easy enough to cook at home, but fancied something hearty after weeks of ‘trying to fit into the dress’ eating, so I went for Chicken Breast Roasted on the Bone and Stuffed with a Juicy Aromatic Sage and Apple Stuffing. Served with sweet roasted root vegetables, creamy colcannon and a red wine jus, it was just what the doctor ordered after weeks of starvation. We declined deserts and finished dinner with very impressive Espresso Martinis. The tunes kicked in and the party stepped up a notch and I saw lights flashing behind me. Surely the gay hadn’t brought his disco ball and lights to the restaurant? No the blue flashing came from a fleet of police cars and fire engines – someone was trying to jump off the Shannon Bridge. Luckily it all ended peacefully, it was just some young fella messing on the way home and not a real jumper. A right and proper ending to a right and proper meal, even if it was a tad on the surreal side. Dinner for two including wine and espresso martinis - €95, including tip. The Glasshouse Restaurant, River Point, Limerick, (061) 469000, www.glasshouserestaurant.ie

* OPEN SEVEN DAYS * 47 Ranelagh, Dublin 6 T. 01 497 80 10 www.dillingers.ie

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Food 258.indd 3

18/05/2011 13:10


HIV

WORD UP? In a world where medications have ensured HIV-positive people who have access to them will have a normal lifeexpectancy, is the word ‘Aids’ reduntant and stigmatising?

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n the 1990s, Irish AIDS Day traditionally fell on the third Saturday of May. In the early noughties, it was decided by HIV organisations that a static day should be given and June 15 was chosen as the day to recognise HIV and the impact it has had on Ireland. It is also a day to remember those who lost their fight against Aids-related illnesses. Initially known as GRID (Gay Related Immune Deficiency) or the ‘Gay Cancer’, the illness eventually became known as Aids (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) in July 1982. The first recorded death of Aids in Ireland occurred in the Mater Hospital this same year. HIV testing began in Ireland in September 1985. Since records began here, there has been a cumulative total of 5,805 HIV infections. These numbers only account for those who went for an HIV test and got their results – they do not reflect

HIV coverage in GCN is supported by the true number of people living with HIV here in Ireland. There have been 1,066 cases of Aids recorded and 414 Aids-related deaths. The advancement in HIV medication to date is such that there were only two recorded Aidsrelated deaths in 2009. This begs the question as to whether the word ‘Aids’ is redundant when referring to a national day of recognition. This is not to dismiss the importance of Aids globally. In developing countries, there are many people dying of Aids-related illnesses due to lack of medication, resources, education, and strategic thinking. Historically, Irish Aids Day was about raising awareness of the illness that was claiming many lives. People showed their solidarity with people affected by Aids by wearing a red ribbon. Aids agencies held various events, street collections, and occasionally the media would mark the day with negative interviews or articles which portrayed the person with Aids as a victim (sometimes even a deserving one). When we see the word ‘Aids’, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Do we see a person returning to education or employment? Do we see a person starting a family or buying a ticket to travel the world? Unlikely. Yet, advancements in medication has made it possible for most people to live a fulfilled life despite their diagnosis. HIV is now seen as a manageable condition as opposed to a life-threatening illness. However, HIV continues to impact on our everyday lives psychologically and socially. The stigma attached to the condition can lead to rejection, isolation, and a lack of self-worth. Nobody wants to experience those feelings. Things have changed a lot since 1982. In light of these changes should we be consider renaming our national day to Irish HIV Day? Or should we still keep it Irish Aids Day? Maybe changing the name would encourage a change in attitude to mirror the advancements made. Irish Aids Day is on June 15. This article was written by Positive Now, a group of men and women living with HIV. To contact Positive Now, email positivenow@gcn.ie

+ POSITIVE THINKING WITH JIMMY GOULDING

Through Pride marches each year and other summer events we proudly get together and celebrate. We remember just how far Ireland has come in relation to our community. June also marks Irish Aids Day, a day to remember those living with HIV and those who have passed away from Aids-related illnesses. When the first Irish cases of Aids were reported, homosexuality was still illegal here and gay life was more covert. The resulting lack of information meant that Aids was seen as a plague affecting only ‘queers’ and ‘junkies’ and a disease (with no hint of irony) that could be caught by anyone who was simply in the vicinity of someone living with HIV. The stigma around HIV and Aids is still alive and well. But things are changing slowly and it is great today to see Pride and Irish Aids Day taking place in the same month. Pride and other events, such as Alternative Miss Ireland, show solidarity by openly supporting HIV organisations. This Irish Aids Day, wear a red ribbon to support someone you know living with HIV or in memory of someone who has passed away from a Aids-related illness. To those living with HIV and to those who have lost someone, it means a lot. Finally, this June, I salute the LGBT community on its persistence in being loud, proud, and heard.

THE PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT COURSES The Gay Men’s Health service (GMHS) and Outhouse are pleased to announce the re-introduction of the Personal Development Courses (PDC) from May 2011. The PDC is for gay and bisexual men and is free of charge. It is series 6 of weekly workshops held on Tuesday evenings at Outhouse. THE AIM OF THE COURSE IS: • To help you become more aware of yourself. • To improve self esteem and assertiveness. • To meet new people and expand your social network. • To learn practical ways of dealing with day to day situations. • Personal development is all about making positive changes in your life and improving your health and well-being. • It can be both fun and challenging and helps you learn coping skills for everyday situations. Take the next step, contact us, to find out more or to book your place. T: 01 873 4932 E: info@outhouse.ie GMHS and Outhouse, 105 Capel Street, Dublin 1. www.gmhs.ie for services www.Man2Man.ie for information on sexual health. 44 WWW.GCN.IE GMHS Clinic 190 x 59mm.indd 9

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directory Dublin & the East Mondays 1 Dundalk Outcomers Women’s Night 8-10pm. T: 042 932 9816 or www.outcomers.org 1 Iris (LGBT mental health support group) OUThouse, first Monday of every Month from 6.30pm.E: outreach@outhouse.ie, T: 01873 4999 1 Bear Coffee NIght 7.30-9.30pm in Cafe 105 in Outhouse. E:outreach@outhouse.ie or 018734999 1 Clowns - Learn how to juggle and be a circus performer, every Monday 7.30-9.30pm. E: outreach@outhouse, T: 01 873 4999 LGBT Alcoholics Anonymous 6.30pm, Friends Meeting Place, Temple Bar Tuesdays 1 The Emerald Warriors training every Tuesday & Thursday at 7.30 in Bolbrook, Tallaght. Beginners welcome, no experience necessary, www.ewrfc.ie. 1 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. 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 . For info email E:dublinbisexualgroup@gmail.com 1 GIG (Gay International Group), multicultural group for women and men Outhouse 7.30-9.30pm E: outreach@outhouse, T: 018734999 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 Wednesdays Friendly Gay Book Club meet at Outhouse 8pm on the first Wednesday of every month 1 The Phoenix Tigers, Dublin’s lesbian soccer team train Larkin College. 8-9.30pm. New players all levels welcome. E: phoenixtigersirl@gmail.com Drop-in for LGBT young people ated 14-23, every Wed afternoon, 3pm, 13 Parliament St, D1 (01) 670 6223, www.belongto.org 1 Over 18’s BeLonG To Youth Group, meets every second Wed at 7pm, 13 Parliament St, D1, (01) 670 6223, www.belongto.org 1 Individuality, youth group for trans people aged 14-23, every second Wed at 6pm, 13 Parliament St, D1, (01) 670 6223, www.belongto.org 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 9pm E: amachwicklow@gmail,com 1 Transgendered Peer Support group, bi-montly from 7.30-9.30. For info: E: outreach@outhouse, T: 018734999 1 Garda Advice, second Weds of the month from 7-9pm. Free and confidential service. For info: E: outreach@outhouse, T: 018734999 1 GOLD Chat and Chew for the older LGBT community in Cafe 105, Outhouse. Info: E: outreach@outhouse, T: 018734999 LGBT Alcoholics Anonymous @ Friends Meeting House, Temple Bar 1

Thursdays 1 The Lady Birds group for young women aged 14- 23, every second Wed, 6pm, 13 Parliament St, D1, (01) 670 6223, www.belongto.org 1 N.A. meeting in Outhouse 8pm T: 873 4999 1 Rainbow Recovery AA Meeting, Carmelite Community, 56 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. Outhouse: 01 873 4999 1 The Emerald Warriors training every Tuesday & Thursday at 7.30 in Bolbrook, Tallaght. Beginners welcome, no experience necessary,

www.ewrfc.ie. Women’s night 7.30-9.30 Social Group for all women in Cafe 105, Outhouse. For info: E: outreach@outhouse, T: 018734999 1 Acting Out: Drama group for men & women in the theatre space in Outhouse 7.30-9.30pm. For more info: E: outreach@outhouse.com T: 01 873 4999 1

Fridays 1 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, Mon Fri or w: www.gaywexford.com, e: info@gaywexford.com 1 Dining Out for gay men 087 286 3349 E: info@diningoutinireland.org 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 6-8pm. E: dublinqueerstudiesgroup@hotmail.com 1 Queer Conversations at Dundalk Outcomers. Check www.outcomers.org for updates on speakers and topics. T: 042 932 9816 SATURDAYS LGBT Alcoholics Anonymous 7.30, Friends Meeting House, Temple Bar 1 Dublin Front Runners: running club for gay men and women, all levels. Meet every Sat 10am, www.dublinfrontrunners.ie 1 Sunrise LGBT Kildare group, every 2nd Sat, E: sunrise.lgbt@gmail.com P: 085 740 9988, Facebook: sunrise.lgbt.kildare 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 & operatic music, the focus is on musical appreciation. New members are welcome. www.info.dublinmusicgroup.com 1 Open Night in Dundalk Outcomers 8.30 to 10.00pm 1

Sundays A.A. Meets in OUThouse at 6.30pm. 1 BeLonG To group for LGBT young people aged 14-23 in a safe & fun environment. Meets every Sunday at 3.30pm in Outhouse, 105 Capel St, D2, (01) 670 6233, www.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

http://groups.google.com/group/dgrg 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 Irish Shamrocks. Dublin based soccer tean, weekly training, new members welcome. Contact: 0860889273, info@irishshamrocksfc.com, www.irishshamrocksfc.com 1 Transgender Equality Network www.teni.ie, E: info@teni.ie or 085 147 7166 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 .W: facebook.com/kildare.lgbt e: kildarelgbt@gmail.com 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 1 G Force , Garda LGB Employee Support Network. E: group42732@ yahoo.com Film Qlub. LGBT film screenings, first Weds of every month. W: sites. google.com/site/filmqlubdublin. E: filmqlub@gmail.com LGBT Lawyers Association. E: lgbtlawyers@ireland.com 1

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.ghn.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: Gillian (01) 670 6223/087 328 3668, www.belongto.org, e:info@belongto.org 1

HELPLINES National LGBT Helpline, wherever you are, we’re just a phonecall away at 1890 929 539, Monday to Friday, 7pm to 9pm, www.lgbt.ie Gay Switchboard Dublin (GSD) 01 872 1055, Mon-Fri 7-9pm, Sat-Sun 4-6pm, W:gayswitchboard.ie 1 Dublin Lesbian Line Mon and Thurs 7-9pm, (01) 872 9911 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: 01 670 6223; E: info@belongto.org; www.belongto.org 1 Greenbow LGB deaf group E: deafgreenbowlgbt@yahoo.ie www.greenbowdeaf.com 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 LOOK (Loving Our Out Kids)Parents Support Group. Ph: 0872537699, www.lovingouroutkids.org 1

Community Centres OUThouse, 105 Capel Street, Dublin 7 T: (01) 873 4999.www.outhouse.ie. Cafe hours: Mon-Fri 1pm-10pm, Sat 1pm-6pm, closed Sundays 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 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 etc., visit us at www.outinireland.net 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. 1

Student LGBT Societies 1 National Union of Students in Ireland, LGB Rights Campaign - Contact Siobhan McGuire, LGBT Officer, E: lgbt@usi.ie, T: (01) 709 9300, M: 086 781 6393 1 National College of Ireland LGBT Soc, E: nci.lgbt@gmail.com, W: ncilgbt@wordpress.com 1 National College of Art & Design LGBT, ncadlgbt@gmail.com 1 Trinity College Dublin: lgbisoc@csc.tcd.ie:1 University College Dublin : ucdlgbt@gmail.com 1 Dublin City University : dculgbsoc@yahoo.com

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directory Dún Laoghaire IADT : lgbt@iadtsu.ie 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 1 Mary Immaculate College: maryilgbt@hotmail.com 1 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 1 Store Street - Martina McDermott 01 6668000 1 Store Street - Mark O Doherty 01 6668000 1 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 1 Terenure - John Banahan 01 666400 1 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 1 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, find us on facebook.com/Ulster Titans RFC

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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

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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. Find us on facebook.com/Ulster Titans RFC 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 www.outnabout-ni.org.uk E: neil@outnabout-ni.org.uk for details. Cathedral Buildings, 3-6pm

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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

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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

Limavady 028 7776 6797 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 1 1

CORK, KERRY & the SOUTH TUESDAYS 1 LINC Drop-in Mon-Weds 11am 3pm, Thurs 11-8. Tel: (021) 480 8600, E: info@linc.ie Cross Dresser group at The Other Place meets 2nd Tuesday every month. The Other Place DVD and Book library open from 6-8pm WEDNESDAYS LINC Under 23s Youth Group, 8pm, 11a White Street, Cork 1 Cork Transgendered/ Transsexual Group, meets 1st&3rd Wed of every month at The Other Place, 7.30-9.30pm. Contact Darrin: 0851083935 1 SOUTh Drop-in Centre Waterford. 1st and 2nd Weds of the month 1 8-10pm. P: 086 214 7633 1 Gay-friendly Alcoholics Anonymous in Cork City, 8pm, contact Clive at 021 427 8470 for more info 1 Gay cinema night @ The Other Place cinema, 8 South Main Street, 8pm every Wednesday E5/3 Conc. Tel: (021) 427 8470 1 Teni Group meets 1st & 3rd Weds of the month @ The Other Place Choral Con Fusion LGBT meets 6.15-7.45pm @ The Other Place Phoenix Youth Group 6pm-8pm 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 1 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) 9023 8668 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

THURSDAYS Mná Mná choir at LINC, 11A White Street, Cork at 8pm,T: (021) 480 8600, info@linc.ie UNITE Youth Group. A safe, fun, social space for Gay and Bisexual 17 - 23 year olds at The Other Place, 6.30-9pm, www.gayyouthcork.com 1 Kerry LGBT Movie Night, first Thurs of month, contact KGLP, 087 294 7266 1

FRIDAYS The Other Place LGBT community centre, open 2-6pm Women in Recovery Group, every Friday 6pm, LINC ,11A White Street, Cork

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SATURDAYS Knitting Group 3-5pm @ The Other Place. All welcome. Cinema at The Other Place, 4 -5.30pm. Visit theotherplacecork.com SUNDAYS 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

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COMMUNITY CENTRES LINC resource centre for LBT women, 11A White St., Cork. Opening times: Monday-Weds 11-3pm , Thurs 11-8pm, closed Fridays. Lesbian Line 0214318318, Mon8-10pm 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 1

OTHER GROUPS North Kerry/West Limerick LGBT, Listowel Family Resource Centre each Saturday night, Call Bridie, 086 855 6431 1 Kerry Gay & Lesbian Project, contact 087 294 7266, kerrygayandlesbianproject@gmail.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 Gaycork.com Social Groups, monthly social events, info@gaycork.com, www.gaycork.com 1

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directory 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 Cork Transgendered Peer Support Group, Meets 7.30-9.30pm at The Other Place, 8 South Main Street, Cork on 1st and 3rd Weds of every month. Phone Ben/ Darrin: 0851083935 1 Unite Youth Group FOR LGBT young people between 16-24, 6-9pm at The Other Place, 8 Main Street, Cork Waterford Gay Parents group. E: waterfirdgayparents@gmail.com

THURSDAYS 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 10 E: rainbowlmk@eircom.net

HEALTH HELP 1 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

SATURDAYS 1 LGBT Youth Group meets every Saturday. Contact us on (061) 31010 or E: rainbowlmk@eircom.net for further info. 1 shOUT! LGBT Youth Group meets every Saturday 4-6pm, Youth Work Ireland Offices,41-43 Prospect Hill. w: www.lgbtyouthgalway.com, e: shout@youthworkireland.com, p: 0877738529

HELPLINES National LGBT Helpline, wherever you are, help is just a phonecall away at 1890 929 539, Monday to Friday, 7pm to 9pm, www.lgbt.ie 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 1 University College Cork meet weekly W: www.ucclgbt.com E: lgbt@uccsocieties.ie 1 CIT LGBT soc, meets every Wed at 8pm E: lgbt@gmail.com for details 1 Waterford IT LGBT Society T: 087 252 7838, W: witlgbt.wetpaint.com 1 Tralee IT: LGBT@students.ittralee.ie or call Ben at 085 754 7110 Limerick Institute of Technology LGBT soc. E: litisout@gmail.com GARDA LIAISON OFFICERS 1 Cork Bridewell - Karl Griffin 0214943330 1 Waterford - Inspector Padraig Dunne 051 305300 1 Waterford - Garda Sinead Donoghue 051 305 300 BED & BREAKFASTS 1 Æmerson House, 2 Clarence Terrace Summer Hill North, Cork T: 086 834 0891, www.emersonhouse.cork.com Roman House, 3 St.Johns Terrace, Upper John St. Cork T:0851517778, Email:rhbb@eircom.net, Facebook: Roman House B&B

GALWAY, THE WEST & NORTH WEST Mondays 1 Self Defence and Awareness Classes for Women in Limerick. Call Jai Chan on 087 676 1663. TUESDAYS 1 ’I’m Out Here’ informal meet up every Tuesday in Sligo at 10pm. Text 087 986 2400 for details or log onto 1 GoBLeT LGBT social group meets in Ballina, Co Mayo. For more info call or text 089 4454 708

Clare Tel: 087 949 4725 E:clarelesinfo4@eircom.net 1 Clare Womens Network, meets fortnightly E:clarewomen@eircom.net 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 10 Business Telephone: (061) 468 611. e-mail: rainbowlmk@eircom.net. 1 Red Ribbon Project T: (061) 314 354, Helpline : (061) 316661, www.redribbonproject.com Mon 2.15-5pm,Tues-Fri 9.30am-5.00pm, lunch 1.00-2.15 1 Gay Sligo E: sligout@hotmail.com 1 NW Lesbian Line (071) 914 7905 Tuesdays 8-10pm

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FRIDAYS 1 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

COMMUNITY CENTRES 1 Rainbow Support Services, Leamy House, Hartstonge Street, Limerick, (061) 31010, 087 931 0252. Supporting the Mid-West Community.Drop in Mon-Sat 10-4pm, Mon-Sun 6-10pm 1 Rainbow Centre at 29 Mallow Street Limerick T: (061) 468 611 E: rainbowlmk@eircom.net OTHER GROUPS 1 shOUT! LGBT Youth Group, Saturdays, www.lgbtyouthgalway.com, E: shout@youthworkireland.com, Tel: 087 7738529 1 LGBT Youth Group for 14-23s. Safe, confidential, relaxed and fun environment for LGBT young people to meet. Info E: curiousgalway@gmail.com. 1 Over The Rainbow Drama Group, Sligo, Merville Community Centre, every Wed 7.30pm, contact Brian: 085 803 3665 1 Midwest dining group meeting in Tipperary. Contact Joe on 086 898 9626 for more details 1 AMACH!LGBT Galway, w: www.amachlgbt.com, e: info@ amachlgbtcom, T: 0860694747 1 GOSSIP Trans Group: Gender Odyssey Support Centre &Information Project, E: gossipgalway@gmail.com LGBT Diversity: Programme Manager Derek McDonnell. T: 02143905000, E:derek@lgbtdiversity.com TranGroup Limerick: T: 0863952620, W:wix.com/transgrouplimerick/tgl E: tglimerick@gmail.com LGBT Pavee -Gay Traveller Group. W: www.lgbtpavee.com OUTwest, W:outwestireland.ie, E: info@outwestireland.ie, T:087 9725586 HEALTH HELP 1 AIDS West T: (091) 562 213 E: info@aidswest.ie, www.aidswest.ie 1 Red Ribbon Project (061) 314 354 1 LGB Alcoholics Anonymous(Galway & Midlands area) every Saturday, 7.30pm. Call Denis (087 295 6233) or Paddy (087 250 7580) for details. HELPLINES 1 National LGBT Helpline, wherever you are, help is just a phonecall away at 1890 929 539, Monday to Friday, 7pm to 9pm, www.lgbt.ie 1 Clare Area Lesbian Information Line. To find out what’s going on in

Student LGBT Societies 1 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 GMIT LGBT and Equality Society. E: GMITequality@hotmail.com NUI Galway GIGsoc: W: gigsoc.nuigalway.ie, E: gigsoc@gmail.com GARDA LIAISON OFFICERS 1 Clare/Shannon - Garda Paul Clancy, 063 65900 1 Galway - Sergeant Karen Maloney 091 514 721 1 Oranmore - Paul Keane 097 94122 1 Castlebar - John Mahan 094 902222 BED & BREAKFASTS 1 SIDE BY SIDE B& B, Salthill. T: 087 94 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 32 123 1 East Clare ‘Gloccamorra’ B&B, Scarrif (gay owned), overloooking Lough Derg, 06 923172, www.gloccamorra.com

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 Dining Out social group Meath/Cavan area. Last Saturday of every month. P: 0860737582, W: cookiesdiningout.com, E: cookiesdining. coogan@gmail.com LGBTinC, support group for Cavan and surrounded areas. Meets weekly Cavan town. T: 086 2491821, W: lgbtinc.org HELPLINES 1 National LGBT Helpline, wherever you are, help is just a phonecall away at 1890 929 539, Monday to Friday, 7pm to 9pm, www.lgbt.ie GARDA LIAISON OFFICERS 1 Athlone - Garda Pat Keegan 0906 649 2609 1 Athlone - Garda Mary O Connor 0906 649 2609

WALK THIS WAY

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Tipperary gay male, 55, single, possesses own lovely cottage. I’m clean, honest and generous. I am a former manager of hotels, well travelled. I am now in a new career. I’m 6ft, a man’s man. Non-drinking and no to drugs. I like classical music, orchestral and pop. GSOH, possessing a Christian outlook on life, very tolerant, WLTM clean, honest males 35+ for longterm relationship. Former and present hotel guys especially welcome. Box No. May 001

Dublin male qualified masseur offers Indian head massage and body shaving. Shower facilities available, male and female welcome, easy parking, call outs available, Ph:087 219 4386

Sport & Social Groups Dining out social group for gay men meets twice a month in Dublin for a meal and a chat. www. diningoutireland.org, Email info@ diningoutireland.org, Ph: 087 2863349

Classifieds deadline Issue 259 June 2011: June 8 CATEGORY LADS LASSIES HOMES FOR HOMOS HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION ARE YOU BEING SERVED? SPORT & SOCIAL GROUPS GET IN TOUCH! GREETINGS & MESSAGES QUEER FAMILIES WANTED FOR SALE JOBS WANTED JOBS OFFERED BITS N’ PIECES START THE WORDING OF YOUR ADVERTISEMENT HERE - ONE WORD PER BOX - €13 FOR 1-20 WORDS INC. BOX NO.

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Male masseur, Fairview ITEC qualified. Holistic massage, deep tissue massage, Indian head massage. Strictly professional. For appointment Phone Se: 087 232 5942

FORWARD TO: GCN Classifieds, Unit 2 Scarlet Row, Essex Street West, Temple Bar, Dublin 8, Ireland

Holiday Accommodation

TEL: PAYMENT Please debit my credit card: Mastercard Visa I enclose a cheque/PO for: € Card number: Expiry date: CVV2 Number (last 3 digits on the signature panel)

Basic ad cost (maximum 20 words) €13.00 No of words over 20 @ €0.75 each Tick here for Bold Type €2.50 Tick here to have ad Boxed €2.50

€ € € €

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Old house in secure secluded grounds midway between Belfast and Dublin, suit mature/retired gentleman in comfortable surrounds, near seaside, close to village, motorway M1, 9km, train station 15min drive, all inclusive. Minimum stay two months, €1900 p/m. Separate apartment also on site. Bank/other references required. Ph: 087 234 6144

Enjoy mini-breaks, pamper Retreats, walking breaks and personal development retreats in the Burren, Co. Clare www.burrenretreats.com Ph: 065 682 7749

Massage therapies Co. Clare. Contact: 085 161 4951.

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.

NB: All services classifieds charged at single rate of €25 per ad, up to max. 20 words (including tel. no., email).

CALL 01 671 9076 TO PLACE YOUR CLASSIFIED FOR JULY’S ISSUE BEFORE JUNE 8TH. Contact lisa@gcn.ie for business classifieds 48 WWW.GCN.IE

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relationships

I’VE BEEN IN LOVE WITH MY STRAIGHT FRIEND FOR SIX YEARS AND HAVE KISSED HIM, BUT NOW HE SAYS HE WANTS TO MARRY HIS GIRLFRIEND

Dear Ray, I am almost 23 and still have feelings for a guy I met when I was 17. He says he’s straight but at the same time he is very ‘hands on’ with me, always putting his arm around me or his hand on my knee, and once when we were drunk we snogged each other. After it happened he didn’t mention it again and I was too embarrassed to bring it up. In March he started seeing a girl. The other night he told me that he loves this girl and that he would marry her. I can’t tell you how much this has broken my heart. Somewhere in my heart I always thought we would end up together. He is the love of my life. Since he told me about his feelings for his girlfriend I have tried to keep my distance from him but he’s calling me up and texting me all the time, going on about the fact that he hasn’t seen me. He’s missing me and I’m missing him. There is a part of me that doesn’t believe he’s straight at all and that all this girlfriend stuff is just because he can’t accept himself. But I can’t have the conversation with him. I often rehearse it in my head, but when it comes to it I chicken out. I think I’ve been too scared to say anything in case it might drive him away from me. Should I tell him about my feelings? Or should I just cut him out of my life, even though it will be the worst thing that’s ever happened to me? Yours, Evan Dear Evan, Yours is a true romance because romance is always premised on impossibility. You have very deliberately chosen to keep this impossibility – to not speak of your feelings, questions, desire and even when life brings you this opportunity after ‘the kiss’. You chose not to say anything to preserve the romance, the mystery, the magic – the impossibility. I want you to read this next paragraph very carefully. Your friend clearly lives in a romantic world of his own, which makes him the ideal fantasy pairing for you. He met this girl in March and the other night he tells you that he loves her (great!) and that he would marry her (naïve!). He is in the first flushes of a passion and has fallen head first. He too is foolish, romantic and living in fantasy. You both have a lot in common. And then there is this question of your kiss, which of course has enabled you to doubt “he’s straight at all”. He is unlikely to be 100 percent straight, but that doesn’t mean he’s gay either. The only person who has to “accept himself” is you. You must accept the fantasy you have constructed and how it has protected you from taking any real emotional or sexual risks with yourself or with someone else. This illusion, silenced and unspoken, has kept you safe from loss, grief, rejection and possibility, and allowed

you to maintain this half-life of yours. Evan, have the conversation with him; give yourself that gift, that freedom, that future. And you can only tell him of your experience. Never guess or presume what is happening for him, but allow him the freedom, time, chance to say or find that for himself. Any love, friendship, relationship must be grounded on respect and truth, never on concealment or deception. Of course there is a risk of rejection, but better that you risk his rejection of your desire than continuing to reject your own. Be true to your feelings, then act authentically with them. We can only know who the love of our life is/ was as our life closes and our lives can be very long. Perhaps with that wisdom of age and experience we stop establishing a hierarchy and understand that there are different loves for different moments in our lives, and that sometimes these different moments can be shared with the same person, and sometimes with different people. But what is of the greatest importance is that they be shared. Ray Ray is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist specialising in individual and relationship counselling. He can be contacted on 086 828 0033

RelationTips Wisdom in the words of Oscar Wilde 1. “Illusion is the first of all pleasures.” 2.“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” 3. “They spoil every romance by trying to make it last forever.” 4. “When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving one’s self, and one always ends by deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.” 5. “There are only two tragedies in life: One is not getting what you want, and the other is getting it.” 6. “The heart was made to be broken” 7. “A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” 8.“To love one’s self is the beginning of a life-long romance.” 9. “Life is one fool thing after another; whereas love is two fool things after each other.” 10. “Where there is no exaggeration there is no love, and where there is no love there is no understanding.”

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18/05/2011 14:46 14:42 23/02/2011


scopes

YOUR PLANETARY FORECAST FOR MAY WITH OEIN DE BHAIRDÚIN

Star Icons Judy Garland, Born June 10, 1922 Gemini is the sign of communication, and from the day she went on stage at two years of age Frances Gumm was communicating. Her personality, voice and character made her a vaudeville star before signing to MGM at 13, becoming a superstar at 17 with The Wizard of Oz. She was known as a great wit, but was very nervous and tense at work, all big Gemini traits. Her addiction to pills began when she was 15 and it added to her Geminian inconsistency, but like all born under this star, she had a way of charming all those around her with humour and conversation, so they loved her more than they hated her behaviour. Judy died in New York, aged 47, the night before the Stonewall riots. So many gay men loved her, the city was filled with fans who inflated the numbers on Christopher Street, and so Gay Pride began.

GEMINI MAY 22 TO JUNE 21 Although with present situations you may feel that you are being tested deeply, from its challenges you will rise a more fulfilled and empowered person. Feel secure. With Venus in the house of your relationships the influence for the moment is romantic. CANCER JUNE 22 TO JULY 22 A family situation comes to a happy conclusion. Learn to trust and you’ll awaken a far deeper sense of peace. Making strong connections is what it’s all about for you right now.Allow others to come around to your way of thinking without growing frustrated at the speed of progress. Breaking an old routine frees you to create far more fulfilling life in harmony with those around you.

LEO JULY 23 TO AUG 23 Mercury in a conjunction brings words of counsel from an unexpected source. Listen to experience. Leave the past alone. Old wounds won’t heal when you itch at the scar. Live loud.

CAPRICORN DEC 22 TO JAN 20 Unless you keep a clear sense of moderation you may stray far from the goals you hold dear. The month will be a busy one, so make sure to set aside some genuine time to relax, have fun and connect with the past. AQUARIUS JAN 21 TO FEB 18 Having to deal with a past mistake brings fresh insight and some genuine progression. Shake off the selfdoubt. Breaking old routines frees you to create more fulfilling ones. You are close to a fresh new beginning. PISCES FEB 19 TO MARCH 20 The anxiety felt about an upcoming social event is not warranted. It arises from a fear of what you have made of your life. Don’t worry. Pisceans usually make more with what they have then any other sign in the zodiac. ARIES MARCH 21 TO APRIL 20 For the month ahead passion for life is certainly in the air, for life itself. The opportunity will come to step away from the familiar and rejoice in the wild moments of forgotten youth. The time has come to challenge old routines.

LIBRA SEPT 23 TO OCT 23 Someone close has some harsh home truths you need to listen too. With a Neptune aspect in your domain some rebellious thoughts should come to the forefront of your mind. Go with the flow.

TAURUS APRIL 21 TO MAY 21 Keep speaking your mind. It not only helps with frustration but also allows others to know what you can’t accept. Don’t be fearful of change; instead welcome new beginnings.

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SAGITTARIUS NOV 23 TO DEC 21 A deeper sense of balance and insight is drawn forth this month. Ignore pressures from other people. Sit back, relax and let things take their own course

VIRGO AUG 24 TO SEPT 22 Trusting can be scary, but it’s time to take the leap. The stars carry an important and revealing message for you. Things aren’t always as they seem, and some lessons are hard learned but well worth it.

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52 WWW.GCN.IE GMHS Clinic 190 x 59mm.indd 7

SCORPIO OCT 24 TO NOV 22 With many important choices to be made this month, be sure you don’t allow yourself to be talked down. Decisive action on certain issues will ensure success.

Latest News

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epi:log/opinion Anna McCarthy Will St Leger Jens Bittmann Katherine O’Donnell Brian Sheehan Chastity Pro Bono Karl Broderick Patrick Gormley Katherine Zappone & Ann Louise Gilligan Mark O’Halloran Michael Barron Grainne Healy Declan Buckley Ross Golden Bannon

I

have been travelling a lot in the last number of years and usually to the more remote or offbeat of locations – the Balkans and Eastern Europe, Albania, Macedonia, Kosova and Serbia, Cuba (where I had a delicious romance with a man called Ángel-Jesús), or to the Middle East, travelling from Istanbul to Tehran, through Syria and the Lebanon, and then on to the Iranian desert city of Yazd where they weave the most exquisite carpets and are the keepers of the eternal flame of the great Zoroaster. To begin with there never seemed much of a purpose to my rambles besides maybe their very purposelessness and a passion for the pure pleasures of travel itself. When I travel I tend to do so alone. It seems to suit my temperament. Indeed an ex of mine once described travelling solo in a letter he sent me as follows: ”It seems the further you travel or the more you travel alone the less past you have. It seems to ooze out of you like sweat.” That very sense of disappearing or perhaps more precisely the feeling of being less burdened by your past or by your own culture and circumstance seems to allow one to view things in a clear and uncluttered manner and to engage more fully with the cultures you encounter. I took to thinking about the lives of homosexuals and nature of homophobia in those most hostile of territories I was visiting, and in Iran in particular. Before going there I had discovered that the

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history of Persian homosexuality was as rich and varied as that of homosexuality in Greece. In fact the Greeks claimed that it was the Persians who introduced them to all things homo in the first place (yeah, right!). Even the revered Iranian national poet Hafez (1325-1390. A copy of whose collected works, The Divan, is still to be found in most Iranian homes) is famous for the volume and variety of his homoerotic verse and it has been strongly rumoured that the destruction of Persepolis was precipitated by a row between Alexander and Darius III over the Persian ruler having taken a shine to Alexander’s boyfriend. Even Iran in the modern age is not without apparent queer kinks in its fundamentalist façade. Rather surprisingly Iran performs the second highest per capita male to female sex change operations in the world (second only to Thailand), the procedure itself having been sanctioned by the Ayatollah Khomeini in a fatwa he delivered on the subject of ‘intersex’. And yet Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad felt it necessary whilst speaking at Columbia University in 2007 to state that homosexuality in Iran did not exist. Why? Stupidity, I knew, had nothing to do with it. Like many others with an absolutist bent, the idea of homosexuality is far too troubling for Mahmoud or the Iranian theocracy to engage with or acknowledge. Previously the theocracy had treated it as grievous malady or truculent lifestyle choice, an illness brought to their shores by the West or a deeply unpatriotic, anti-Iranian and counter-revolutionary feint. (The Islamic Republic has hanged over 4,000 gay men since the revolution in 1979.) In his 2007 statement Mahmoud was merely going one step further. He was taking his constituency’s aspirations to a sort of unnatural conclusion. He was denying that the ‘problem’ was there in the first place. His thinking in doing this was more than just absurdist denial or cockamamie rhetoric. For him the statement represented a mendacious solution in itself and what he was saying amounted to an act of violence. As he spoke those words Mahmoud could not have cared less about the truth. He was disingenuously laying out

“It was a huge surprise for me when I got to Iran to find that homosexuality was not so hidden after all.” an agenda for his regime that would not countenance homosexuality. Not only would his government continue to harass, imprison and execute homosexual individuals but he would then go one step further by denying their very existence afterwards. His government plan was to refuse the Iranian homosexual both a past and a present at home and then by extension a future. A marginalised community that is denied so forcefully can be anonymously and brutally terrorised. It was therefore a huge surprise for me when I finally got to Iran to find that homosexuality was not so very well hidden after all. I had thought that to make contact with an Iranian homosexual I would have to be connected to some underground network or become some sort of super sleuth. My expectations were way off the mark, however. Iran, it turns out, is one of the cruisiest places on the planet. There was not a town or city that I passed through, no train nor bus I sat on where I was not propositioned openly or flirted with outrageously. In reality I shouldn’t have been so shocked. I was discovering that people are not their governments and that in Iran the populace are way ahead of their rulers. The gay men I met were bravely attempting to live their lives with dignity and hope, each attempting to achieve a sort of personal freedom, fulfilment and love in the shadow of monstrous prejudice. Indeed one of the most important things I have learned on my travels has been that despite persecution, religious hysteria and denial, us gays still survive. For there has never been nor never will be a country where homosexuality does not exist. Homosexuality simply is. It goes beyond political dogma and religious belief, it is universal and cross-cultural and is as natural or unnatural as humanity itself. And that fills me with hope, urging me on to continue travelling.


NnO

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