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Issue 243 March 2010 Free www.gcn.ie

KANK YOU & GOODNIGHT

The reigning Alternative Miss Ireland bids you adieu

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Global Keratin 12 week blowdrys available in salon now. Drop in and speak to our team of experts. GCN Special offer

two retail products to the value of e35 with every global keratin blowdry

The ultimate fashion Accessory: Your hair. Take Control of your style in 2010. 30% discount exclusively available to all GCN readers on presentation of this ad /Mon to Wed only/ Haircuts, Colours and blowdrys excluding global keratin 12 week blowdry Terms & Conditions apply

Dame Street, PH: 01 6708 745/7 Photo: Kip Carroll www.kipcarroll.com, Hair Stylist: Sean Magee@toni&Guy Dame Street, Model: Asheena@ Morgan the agency. Terms & Conditions This offer is available on Monday – Wednesday appointments only and is not valid on blow dry only appointments or product purchases. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. No cash alternative will be given. This offer is only valid at TONI&GUY, 52 Dame Street, Dublin 2. The discount will only be given on presentation of the original page from GCN Magazine.

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23/02/2010 16:34


the first word

INFLUENTIAL PARTS OF THE MEDIA BELIEVE THAT GAY RELATIONSHIPS ARE VALUELESS

O

n February 18, I had the pleasure of going head-to-head with Brenda Power on the Today FM show, The Last Word. We were debating the decision by the British Press Complaints Commission (PCC) that Jan Moir’s infamous Daily Mail column in the wake of Stephen Gately’s death did not break the PCC’s rules for editors. Citing freedom of expression for commentators and columnists, the PCC said that a judgement against the Daily Mail for publishing Moir’s column would endorse a ‘slide to censorship’. A number of points arise from Brenda Power’s various bats from different corners against my central point that Moir’s column, which said Gately’s death represented ‘another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships’, was as offensive as a column attacking interracial marriage. Power’s first argument was to dismiss the 22,000 complaints the PCC received after Moir’s article was published, because she thinks the nature of networking sites like Twitter and Facebook helps to whip up fake storms of controversy. Power, of course, is no stranger to what she regards as ersatz outrage, after the massive negative reaction to her own comments about gay marriage in the Sunday Times last year. In characterising 22,000 complaints against Moir as the trolling of an angry cyber-mob, does she really believe that the majority of those complaints were motivated, less by genuine feelings of hurt and anger, and more by a nasty desire to get a journalist fired? Power went on to say that another editor might give Moir a pay raise because she elicited such a massive reaction. After all, that’s the job of an opinion writer, isn’t it? It hardly inspires confidence in the motivations of columnists. It also dismisses other columnists (and their editors) as hacks who fan the flames of controversy to sell papers, making use of the mob reaction Power mentions. I believe that there are many opinion writers who have less cynical motivations, like trying to change society for the better, for instance. Power’s next comment bemoaned the fact that Moir had been dubbed homophobic by the cyber-mob. Homophobia, she said, was like a pothole at the end of the garden that anyone could fall into. I absolutely agree. Homophobia is a difficult thing for heterosexual people to understand and because of this they can inadvertently make (or publish) homophobic comments. After all, they’re unlikely to have ever been the target of homophobia themselves; they don’t have any experience of what it is like to be gay or lesbian; and they have grown up in a world where casual homophobia is acceptable. How can

they conceive how the tacit acceptance of antigay rhetoric affects the lives of individuals who are born gay? That’s why straights sometimes fall into the pothole Power worries about. To paraphrase Wilde, to fall in once or twice could be regarded as misfortune; to do it repeatedly looks like carelessness. To continue with the pothole conceit, once upon a time it was understood that people sometimes fell into a pothole at the end of the garden called racism. Some of them said they weren’t racist, but then went on falling into the pothole, which they felt was excusable because they told everyone they weren’t racist. Some of them threw themselves in deliberately, some of them tripped accidentally. But there came a time when we understood that even dangling a foot over the pothole was unacceptable. We copped on to the fact that racist comments, casual or otherwise, deliberate or inadvertent, were just wrong and could damage individual lives. Jan Moir’s homophobia was not inadvertent; it seems unlikely she didn’t consider that her opinion would cause anger and hurt. Among the 22,000 people who complained to the PCC was Stephen Gately’s bereaved partner, Andrew Cowles, who read that his civil partnership was part of a ‘myth’ of happyever-afters for same-sex couples and that his husband’s death was ‘unnatural’ and ‘lonely’. In not properly addressing his complaint, or that of the 22,000 who took the time to write to the PCC, that body (of which Daily Mail editor, Paul Dacre is a member), made an error and its decision surely told everyone that complaining to it about offensive reporting is a waste of time. Toward the end of the piece on The Last Word, Matt Cooper asked me if a heterosexual celebrity had died in similar circumstances, wouldn’t I expect it to be similarly plastered all over the papers? Of course I would. But I don’t believe for one minute it would be used as an opportunity to define heterosexual marriage as a ‘happy-ever-after myth’, because that would be offensive to all heterosexual people, not just the celebrities involved. Stars like Britney Spears get married for 48 hours, or Katie Price marries a celebrity, divorces and marries another celebrity all within the space of one year, and no commentator ever challenges the sanctity of heterosexual marriage. A gay celebrity dies in tragic circumstances of natural causes, and it’s okay to imply that it shows same sex marriage is unnatural. It’s not just absurd, it also reveals that influential parts of the media believe gay relationships are valueless; an opinion the British PCC accepts.

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“GCN has been an integral part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) community for 22 years and does what no other magazine does: it devotes itself to LGBT issues at home and abroad. It is Irish and not-for-profit, which means it will always be focused on our community first. Over the years, it has been instrumental in publicising our people, places, groups, events and concerns, including Noise and the same-sex marriage campaign. We do need it, so please help to keep it alive!�

Forever Noise, LGBT Activists and GCN Readers

F

Forever GCN is not for profit, run by a voluntary organisation, and is a registered charity, no.12070

GCN needs your support to continue publishing through these difficult times. Log on to www.gcn.ie/forever and donate whatever you can afford, or send your cheque/postal order to Unit 2, Scarlet Row, Essex St West, Dublin 2.

FOREVER Help GCN, help your community, help yourself.

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WE got mail

Dr Nuala Kilcoyne RIP Last January the Gay Men’s Health Service (GMHS) team lost a dear friend and colleague. Dr Nuala McLean (nee Kilcoyne) died peacefully at home, lovingly cared for by her husband, Peter and especially her daughter, Loraine, who looked after her through the many months of her illness. In January 1993, Dr Nuala Kilcoyne (as she was more commonly known) started with the GMHS. Up to last April 2009, she worked tirelessly as the only doctor at the Tuesday evening clinics and with two other doctors on Wednesdays. Apart from annual leave she hardly missed a clinic in all those 16-plus years, providing a service to many thousands of men. Nuala was as an inspiration to many for her hard work, humour, kindness and resilience. You could never tell her age, yet she was in her late 50s when she began working at the GMHS clinic for gay and bisexual men, the only one of its kind in Ireland at the time, months before homosexuality was decriminalised. She jumped in and loved her work and learned a lot from our clients. In return Nuala was loved by the team and by the men attending the clinic for her forthright manner and mischevious sense of fun. She really enjoyed the GMHS get-togethers, especially when we ended up in a gay bar/club. Her presence, demands and laughter will be sorely missed and condolences are offered to her husband Peter and daughter Loraine and family members, on behalf of the HSE senior management, the GMHS team (current and past), and clients of the clinic. GCN’s former and much missed Health and HIV Editor, Noel Walsh, might agree when we say, “Come On Nuala”.

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.

GCN Forever Dear Editor, When I read that GCN is in financial trouble, I was shocked and I wanted to express my gratitude for all that the publishers of GCN have done for me over the past ten years. GCN has been a lifeline to me. Even going into the library over the years to collect my copy has changed my life. There was a time when I would have been afraid that people there would guess that I am gay, but in having the magazine there, both they and I have learned a lot about accepting and being accepted for who you are. GCN has not only created a safe space for me to come out and an opportunity for me to meet other gay people who pick up the magazine in my local community, but it also kept me connected to all of the other gay people in Ireland. I read the magazine from cover to cover every month and it makes me feel part of the gay community, even though I am very isolated from the places where gay people usually meet. I will be donating to GCN and I hope that it will help the magazine survive. It would be awful to lose it. Not only for me, but for all the other people who rely on it too. Yours, Enda, Buncrana, Co. Donegal

GCN Discovery Dear Editor, When I went into the college today I was delighted to see a stack of GCN’s in an appropriate visible area. I am a mature (very mature) student in Tallaght IT and since I started there in Oct I have never seen any sign of anything gay, anywhere here. I have seen signs of Islam and the Catholic Church every day. Today was a first. I couldn’t believe it. I was talking to somebody and out of the corner of my eye I saw a photo of Rory O’Neill. It took me a few seconds to realise - that’s GCN! Sadly, it felt like a huge political statement to pick up a copy and put it in my bag. Yours,Constance Whyte

OSLO APPRECIATION Dear Editor, My friend and I have just returned from a few wonderful days in Oslo. It was our lucky prize provided by the organisers of Mr Gay Ireland. Through GCN, I would like to thank them for this great opportunity and for the work they put into organising the event. I would also like to express my support for GCN. As a late outcomer I would have been lost without it. Yours, Eddie Parsons

Gay Ireland Research Dear Editor, I am currently researching the 1982 Fairview Park murder of Declan Flynn and the 1983 Stop Violence Against Gays and Women March as

part of a larger book project on Irish gay culture. I am interested in interviewing participants in the march. I am also looking for other cultural responses or documents about these events. I am aware of Aodhan Madden’s play, Sea Urchins, which responded to the Flynn murder, but would be interested any other materials that responded to those events. I also appreciate any recommendations. I may be reached c/o the Centre for Irish Studies, Distillery Road, NUIG, Galway, or by email at quarefellas@gmail.com Yours, Ed Madden IACI-NUIG Research Fellow

Unit 2, Scarlet Row, Essex Street West, Temple Bar, Dublin 8, Ireland. TEL: (01) 671 9076 / 671 0939 / 671 9325 FAX: (01) 671 3549 Email: info@gcn.ie www.gcn.ie Managing Editor: Brian Finnegan editor@gcn.ie Deputy Editor: Ciara McGrattan deputy@gcn.ie Advertising Manager: Conor Wilson conor@gcn.ie Advertising Assistant: Lorna Clancy advertising@gcn.ie Distribution Manager: Lisa Connell distribution@gcn.ie Design & Layout: Fionán Healy production@gcn.ie Fashion Editor: Noel Sutton Contributors: Rory Archer, Conor Behan, Oein DeBhairduin, Declan Buckley, Suzy Byrne, David Carty, Paul Coffey, Sinéad Deegan, Micheal Delaney, Susan Donlon, Brian Drinan, Kieran Grimes, Andrea Horan, Darren Kennedy, Declan Marr, Matt Matheson, Louise Mitchell, Ray O’Neill, Jeanette Rehnstrom Cover Photography: Mary Furlong Photography: Sean Meehan, Jennifer Payne Publishers: National Lesbian and Gay Federation Ltd. NLGF Ltd is a not for profit company limited by guarantee. Reg. Co. No: 322162 CHY No: 12070 NLGF Board: Ailbhe Smyth (Chair), Sean Denyer, Orla Howard, Stephen Jacques, Richard Lucey, Patrick Lynch, Olivia McEvoy, Ciaran O’Hultachain, Neil Ward GCN Advertising Policy Gay Community News (GCN) does not necessarily endorse the quality of services offered by its advertisers. All ad copy must comply with the code of practice of the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland and GCN reserves the right to edit or refuse adverts if they do not comply with this code. GCN does not accept liability for any loss or damage caused by an error or inaccuracy in the printing of any advertisement. The placing of an order or contract will be deemed an acceptance of these conditions. The ideas and opinions expressed in any article or advertisement are not necessarily those of GCN. Don’t make assumptions about somebody’s sexual orientation just because we print their name or picture. Publication of any material is at the discretion of the publishers, who reserve the right to withhold, edit or comment on any such matter. Permission must be obtained prior to the reproduction of material published in GCN. We welcome submissions but cannot guarantee publication. If you are submitting on a professional basis and expect payment, you must clearly state this fact. We do not guarantee return of manuscripts or illustrations; so do keep an original copy. GCN’s list of subscribers is not given, sold, rented or leased to any person or organisation for any reason. © Gay Community News December 2009 The total average distribution of GCN as certified by the Audit Bureau of Circulation for the period Jan – Dec 2009 was 11,043 per issue.

6 www.GCN.ie

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23/02/2010 17:09


PRo:log/community

NEWS

The GCN Forever campaign got off to a strong start on January 29, with the help of advocates Rory O’Neil and Anna Nolan. The campaign seeks to raise funds to help GCN survive as a free community resource through Ireland’s economic downturn. This month, advocates LGBT Noise and Director of the BeLonG To youth project, Michael Barron, have signed on and are urging you to keep GCN going. The GCN Forever fundraising target for 2010 is v48K, based on an average drop in advertising revenue of v4K per issue, which is reflected in

advertising drops across the industry. With your help, we believe this is a very achievable target. For instance, if you can afford v21 a month on Direct Debit, along with another 186 people donating the same, we will have reached our target this year. Plus, if you donate v21 a month or over, because we are a registered charity, your donation will be tax deductible. We need your help and your commitment to saving GCN. Through your kind donations on-line and via cheque, we raised v1,665 this month, which brings our target down to v46,355. Your donation, of any amount, will go towards the printing and publication of GCN, which is a not-for-profit publication and a registered charity. We have several upcoming fundraising events, the first of which is Davina’s Sumo Smackdown at The George on March 4. Management at The George kindly approached us and offered us all proceeds from this night, including door, which is v5 after 10pm. It features some of the best-known faces on the scene sumo wrestling for your pleasure. Also this month, we have Under The Influence, an exhibition at the Front Lounge from March 5 to 18, curated by the very generous and committed Will St Leger. Artists showing at the exhibition, including Jim Fitzpatrick, Adrian + Shane, Emma Haugh and Chris Judge, will donate up to 50 per cent of the

Originators Identification No.(OIN) 3 0 6 6 8 6 Please complete parts 1 to 4 to instruct your Bank to make payments directly from your account. Then return the form to:- National Lesbian & Gay Federation Ltd T/A GCN Unit 2 Scarlet Row, Essex Street West, Temple Bar, Dublin 8. Originators Reference (Max 18 chars) Monthly Amount Once off

Date Commencing

e500 Other Amount

2 Name of account holder 3 Sort Code Account Number 4 Your instructions to the Bank, and your Signature I instruct you to pay Direct Debits from my account at the request of National

Lesbian & Gay Federation Ltd I confirm that the amounts to be debited are variable and may be debited on various dates. I shall duly notify the Bank in writing if I wish to cancel this instruction. I shall also so notify National Lesbian & Gay Federation Ltd of such cancellation.

The Direct Debit Guarantee • • • •

This is a guarantee provided by your own Bank as a member of the Direct Debit Scheme, in which Banks and Originators of Direct Debits participate. If you authorise payment by Direct Debit, then Your Direct Debit Originator will notify you in advance of the amounts to be debited to your account Your Bank will accept and pay such debits, provided that your account has sufficient available funds If it is established that an unauthorised Direct Debit was charged to your account, you are guaranteed a prompt refund by your Bank of the amount so charged. You can cancel the Direct Debit Instruction in good time by writing to your Bank

1 Please write the name & full address of your bank & branch Bank

Signature (s)

Branch

Date

!

GCN 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, log on to our website www.gcn.ie/forever and donate whatever you can afford, or send cheque or postal order for whatever you can afford to GCN, Unit 2, Scarlet Row, Essex Street West, Dublin 2.

!

Direct Debit Instruction (DDI) Instruction to your Bank to pay Direct Debits

cost price of their sold works to GCN Forever. Upcoming events include a special dinner organised by Dundalk Outcomers and the second GCN Big Fat Gay Pub Quiz. As GCN Forever was launched, many readers contacted the office offering their services to help the campaign. This has meant a lot to all at GCN, both on the staff and board of directors, and we will be taking up your offers whenever it is possible. We would like to thank Fionán Healy for his design of the GCN Forever campaign, Emily Quinn, who is taking photographs of the GCN Forever advocates, Claire Weir who photographed Michael Barron for the campaign, and Chris Fildes and Danny Lane, of Fruit Design for their web design for GCN Forever. All of these people have contributed their services free and gratis. We would also like to thank all the advocates of GCN Forever. Their contributions are the glue holding this campaign together.

8 www.GCN.ie

News 243.indd 2

23/02/2010 15:24


Queer & Here by Jeanette Rehnstrom

Mankuba Moleba (20) from South Africa “I was 11 years old the first time I came to Ireland. I was visiting my mum who moved here in 2000 for work. I absolutely love flying and was very excited. I remember it was winter in South Africa and summer here. Everything was so green, and then there were the colours, the smells, the people; it was a new world. Even though I love South Africa, life there does not have the same atmosphere as here. In Ireland people are a lot happier, even if there is nothing in particular to be in a good mood about. Also it is easier to meet people here. I guess that alcohol plays some part in this but have never thought it a problem. Although I don’t drink, I think that alcohol contributes to the general mood a lot. I came out at 13, to myself and friends. I have not told my mother yet. It is not that I am hiding it in any way. I have Pride stuff everywhere and have been on a radio show talking about being gay, which she most likely listened to. However, in a way I think, why should I have to come out as gay when my sisters do not have to come out as straight? It took me about two years before I got comfortable with being out with the people around me, in school etc., but since then I have been out to all and sundry here. We go home for about a month every year. I love Pretoria. It’s got an amazing nightlife. However, I have not even explored the place as much as I would like to, not South Africa in general either. It is often like that, I guess, that you don’t have the same urge to explore the place you come from. I see myself staying here for at least another ten years. I am doing a science degree at the moment but thereafter I will go for my pilot license. My dream, since I was eight, is to work as a long-haul pilot for an airline. I love absolutely everything about airports, the business, sounds and the fact that you constantly rub elbows with people who hours previously were walking the streets of a city at the other end of the world.”

HIV DIAGNOSES ON THE INCREASE In the surveillance report by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDPC) in 2008 there were around 10,000 new reported cases of HIV for men who have sex with men (MSM) in the 30 countries of the EU and European Economic Area (EEA). This amounts to a total of 103,498 diagnosed HIV positive since 1989. Ireland comes somewhere in the middle with 1,118 and the UK was highest with 45,058, followed by Germany 14,531, the Netherlands (8,421) and France (7,259). Those with figures lower than Ireland included Hungary (847), Finland (800), and the Czech Republic (671). Of the 24 countries not in the EU/EEA

there was a recorded total of 5,961 cases (this includes Switzerland [3,334] and there were no figures for Russia). This brings the total to 104,498. Of significance is the reported pattern of younger men (under 30) showing up with HIV. There were no figures of how many MSM tested in the ECDPC report. Significantly, the Gay Men’s Health Service (GMHS) say they saw increase of 27 per cent in the number of MSM testing for HIV at its services between 2007 and 2009. This increased testing may be reflected in other clinics, which might relate to the recently reported increase in HIV diagnoses among MSM in Ireland.

OLDER AND GOLDER Visible Lives is a new research project which aims to explore the lives, experiences and needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Ireland who are 55 and over. The study, commissioned by the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) and funded by Age and Opportunity and the HSE, is being carried out by a team of researchers from Trinity College Dublin. “Understanding what life is like for older LGBT people in Ireland, their hopes and concerns about ageing, is important so that health services, older people’s services and LGBT communities and organisations can best support them,” says Odhrán Allen, Director of Mental Health Strategy at GLEN. A wide range of organisations are working with GLEN on the study, including older people’s groups and a

number of LGBT organisations. “We welcome this collaboration with GLEN as this important study will highlight the needs of older LGBT people, who have often been invisible in Irish life,” says Age and Opportunity Get Vocal Programme Manager, Kate Carbery. A wide-ranging survey will be carried out, followed by interviews with older LGBT people. Details of how to participate will be advertised widely in March but keep an eye on the GLEN website (www.glen.ie) for more details. The study will be completed by the end of the year. For more details Contact Odhrán Allen at (01) 672 8650 or email odhran@glen.ie www.GCN.ie 9

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23/02/2010 15:24


PRo:log/community

Sports Gay

Jill Barry Bootcamp Ireland

“When I discovered Bootcamp Ireland, I liked the idea of getting involved in something physical that worked more muscle groups than your jog or run in the park, and the idea of a group seemed a bit exciting too. I’m pretty hectic and stressed at work so what I like about Bootcamp is that I arrive, switch off my brain and my body does the rest. I’m asthmatic and I have lower back problems, yet I can still partake in Bootcamp because the training is so professional. Yes, there are people there who are fit, but there are people that are unfit and you’re all it together. There are advanced and intermediate classes, and each class is quite diverse. Each class is different too. I’ve rarely has the same instructor twice, which is brilliant because each instructor has their own style. There might be running or circuit training, there might be sit-up sections, upper body, lower body... they basically go through the whole musculature. It really is a total body workout. My initial idea was that after the first eight weeks I was going to have the body I wanted, but Bootcamp becomes a part of your lifestyle. On their website you can create a profile and they let you know about upcoming events that you might be interested in. You can team up with other Bootcampers - it’s a total community element. It’s not just about training. At Bootcamp itself, there’s always someone to chat to and when you’re running around, panting and sweating, you have a good laugh. It takes one hour and you start seeing the difference quickly. And you always feel great afterwards. It’s brilliant!” Bootcamp Ireland is offering E50 off the joining-up fee to new pairs of members. Based on two people joining for an eight week session, normally E150 per person, now E125 per person when you mention GCN. Bootcamp Ireland trains outdoors all year ‘round, call (01) 234 3797 or visit www. bootcampireland. com

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The end of January saw the finalising of the initial debate on the Civil Partnerships Bill and more of the harmony that has characterised the debate so far. All agreed the Bill is well overdue, all agreed it didn’t go far enough, almost all agreed that ‘conscience’ opt-outs allowing service providers to refuse service to ceremonies due to their moral objections should not be included (with a number of exceptions in FG, and that champion of Catholic morality, NUI Senator Ronan Mullen). Both Government and opposition spoke of tweaking the Bill in committee stage , which it has now been referred to. There seems a quiet acceptance of the Government’s concern that the Bill avoid challenge on constitutional grounds - if amendments in committee stage reach too far the fear is that those opposed to the Bill outside the Oireachtas will be able to use it to challenge the law and hold it up for years. Politico can now reveal that this opposition has finally crystallised and is coming out of the woodwork with all guns blazing. A mooted meeting with Green Minister, Eamon Ryan organised by ‘concerned parents’ to discuss the Bill was recently hijacked by conservative religious activists who issued invites to all and

sundry, including other TDs. Instrumental in this was Richard Greene, former councillor, pro-life activist and the man who brought us Cóir during the Lisbon referendum. Emails about the meeting started with the missive: “Now Ireland is yet another Godless province of the EU...” - not a great position from which to initiate lobbying. Meanwhile, the Examiner reported the foundation of the new Catholic League, organised by Anthony Murphy of the Catholic Voice and others. Their aim is to oppose a Bill they say is opposed to “natural moral law”. TDs of all hues can expect some noisy lobbying for the next few months. For those fancying a trip to get away from all this fire and brimstone, Politico suggests Belfast, as this month de-gayer extraordinaire, Mario Bergner is going to the North to help convert those who ask for his help in fighting their inner sin. Politico is booking his tickets now!

UNDER THE INFLUENCE A group exhibition bringing established and emerging visual artists together to support GCN, entitled Under The Influence, will take place at The Front Lounge this month. 20 artists, illustrators and photographers have been selected to produce a piece of work that demonstrates their biggest influence. The exhibition, which opens at The Front Lounge on Friday, March 5, is curated by Butcher Queers creator, Will St Leger. Artists confirmed are: Adrian + Shane, Chris Judge, Tag Barry, Brian Coldrick, Peter Fingleton, Jim Fitzpatrick, Jarlath Gregory, ADW, Fionn Kidney, Gerry Lee, Áine Macken, Turtlehead, Emma Haugh, Ciara Scanlan, Alan Phelan, Dublin Streets, Will St Leger and GCN founder, Tonie Walsh (pictured). Proceeds from sale of works will be donated by the artists to support GCN Forever. Under the Influence opens Friday, March 5 in The Front Lounge at 7pm with a drinks reception, all are welcome. Under the Influence, The Front Lounge, March 5 to 18

23/02/2010 15:33


onetowatch

Very Angry Girls

O

n any given night at a music venue in Limerick, you might come face-toface with the in-your-face musical stylings of Very Angry Girls, or V.A.G for short. Ireland’s first out and proud lesbian punk band, the members of V.A.G., Louise McCormack (20) and Larissa Mirtschink (20) and Sinéad Mitchell (19) met in college and make no bones about their quest for world domination. “There’s plenty of bands out there doing it,” says Louise, “Why shouldn’t we do it too?” The first step on their journey to the top is the release of their debut EP, Less Pants... More Attitude, next month, along with a raft of gigs both on Limerick’s general music and gay scenes. “We’re getting a really good response from the music scene in Limerick,” says Louise. “A lot of bands around the city have asked us to open for them. Our style is punk rock with a little bit of pop. We like to think we’ve got a bit of attitude. They lyrics are meaningful but the music has a lighter, rocky sound.” Youngest member of V.A.G, Sinéad used to read GCN on the school bus. “She’s been out since she was 14,” says Louise. “She used to go to the BeLonG To youth group too.” So, no shying away from the gay spotlight for V.A.G, then. “People on the music scene don’t have any problem with the fact that we’re out, or that our band is spelled V.A.G,” says Louise. “The bands we support are equally supportive of us.” V.A.G play at Freakscene, Cork on March 3, Riddler’s Bar, Limerick on March 20 and Queerbash, Limerick on March 26. Find out more about them and their new EP, Less Pants... More Attitude at www.myspace.com/veryangrygirls

WWW.GCN.IE 11

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PRo:log/stuff

TEN THINGS/FEBRUARY MARCH 3 PUB QUIZ A fundraiser for the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival at Pantibar, kicks off at 8pm. MARCH 11 CALVIN HARRIS The Jedward stage-jacker is back in town kicking it ‘old skool’ at the Forum Nightclub in Waterford. MARCH 13 NEW YOUNG PONY CLUB UK Indie artists (and not the D4 equestrian society of a similar name) do their inimitable thing at Tripod.

MARCH 16 DC COWBOYS Washington-based dance troupe from America’s Got Talent at a very special Paddy’s Day Glitz at Dublin’s Break for The Border. MARCH 18-19 OWEN PALLETT Acclaimed queer singer/songwriter brings his unique brand of delicate, beautiful pop to Whelan’s in Dublin for two nights. MARCH 24 WALLIS BIRD Dublin’s own gorgeous gay gal (pictured) strums and sings for your pleasure at Dublin’s Academy.

MARCH 14 ALTERNATIVE MISS IRELAND Annual alternative beauty pageant with funds going to HIV/Aids charities, hosted by Miss Panti and friends.

MARCH 26-28 BÉAR FÉILE Happenings for the hirsuite across Dublin’s scene, www.bearfeile.com MARCH 28 RUFUS WAINWRIGHT Brother of Martha, son of Loudon and Kate, and all round popular piano-man Rufus plays Dublin’s Grand Canal Theatre.

MARCH 16 X FACTOR LIVE Come see Joe, Stacey, Jedward, Ollie and the others who’s names you’ve already forgotten, at the 02 Arena.

EVENT Ever wanted to see the queens and queers of the scene take each other down? Well, get your ass tto The George for Davina’s Sumo Smackdown, in which the drags, divas and doyennes of Dublin go hell for leather in a wrestling bout that will leave you breathless. The entire night is in support of GCN Forever, which we are supremely thankful to The George and Davina for, and there’ll be plenty of great prizes, sideshows, go-go dancers, drinks promos and superstar guest DJ’s. It’s €5 in on the door from 10pm and all proceeds go to support GCN Forever, keeping Ireland’s gay community magazine in publication throughout the financial downturn.

YAYORNAY

YY YY YY

GCN Forever YAY 98% Ellen on American Idol YAY 78% Marina and the Diamonds YAY 51% Shameless YAY 86% A Single Man YAY 71% Precious YAY 52%

NAY 2% NAY 22% NAY 49% NAY 14% NAY 29% NAY 48%

HOMO TRUTHS By Jeanette Rehnstrom

Bernie Quinn (46) from Dundalk I knew there was something going on, and knew the name of it, but never really gave it a thought. I cut out an ad about lesbian line and kept it for a long time but didn’t call. When I finally called and they answered, I hung up. At 16, I came out to my football team. I’m not sure how I could have been that brave. In a way I didn’t realise, or didn’t think about, the actual dangers that can come with the act of coming out. When in my first proper long-term relationship, my partner and I began looking for a community. It began with organising small meetings in houses but I soon found I needed more. In the early ‘90s I saw an ad for a gay group that met in Drogheda. I went and was very surprised to see that almost all the people there were from Dundalk. The first Louth Pride took place in Dundalk in 1995. It was a very small event, but a great beginning. We had a fantastic response, got really good funding, found a space and set up a drop-in, help-line, training space, management committee and a women’s football team. We created a safe place. Dundalk Outcomers was launched by David Norris in 1998. People arrived from all over Louth, but also from neighbouring counties, especially the more rural border areas, with stories of loneliness and suicide. We’re still in the same place although we’ve changed the building. Recently we started a youth group and it’s quite extraordinary to see how much peer support still is necessary and what an impact it has on people. I love my job running Dundalk Outcomers. I don’t think I could ever be as passionate about another social issue. There are plenty of other people around who have the same commitment and passion, just look at the groups around the country. I really believe that there’s such as thing as a gay community, although some people seem question it’s existence sometimes. Dundalk Outcomers is at The Coach House, 8 Roden Place, Dundalk, Co. Louth For more information on Dundalk Outcomers, visit www. outcomers.org or call (042) 932 9816

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PRo:log/scene

Scene & Herd Drag Wrestling at The George... Alice goes to Partie Monster... AMI lights up the city... The Front Lounge gets a new queen...

Spring is well underway and green shoots are popping up across Dublin’s queer scene. On Georges Street, every Thursday at The George is Davina’s P.J Slumber Party, with prizes for best PJ’s, truth or dare, Mancandy and much more. A special Davina Sumo Smackdown party on Thursday, March 4 in The George will pit drag queens and scenesters against each other in inflatable sumo wrestling suits, all in aid of GCN Forever, the campaign to keep the magazine you’re reading right now alive and well. On March 6, get on down to Abbey Street’s Twisted Pepper for an evening of absurd alternative cabaret and burlesque shenanigans at Sideshow. Organisers promise a night of hilarious striptease, bizarre stunts and saucy song ‘n’ dance routines. If that’s not your bag, you might be beam like a Cheshire Cat to hear that Partie Monster, moving to Wax on South William Street on the same night and has an Alice in Monsterland theme. Expect to fall down a rabbit hole or two. Rugby continues to be the beefy order of the day at The Front Lounge as all Six Nations matches, including Ireland V Wales on March 13, are being screened with Ireland’s gay rugger buggers, The Emerald Warriors in attendance. But that’s not all, folks. A brand new regular drag presence comes in the form of Bailey Ritz. Direct for the West End, she’ll be taking the stage in the Flounge every Sunday from 9pm. One of the best annual nights on Dublin’s gay scene comes rolling along once more on March 15, as AMI blazes its trail at The Olympia

from 8pm (tickets from Olympia Box Office), and if you’re there, you’re sure to want to be at Pantibar later that evening for the official postAMI party. It promises to be as hectic and gorgeous as ever! For Paddy’s Day, The George presents the fantastically named Diddly Idols Party, with Veda and friends paying tribute to the greatest divas of the decade on March 17. Banish the mid-week boredom in The Front Lounge with Tuesday Night Project a whole night of mixed fun with board games, live jukebox (you ask ‘em, they play it) finishing off with April Showers’ Casting Couch. Everybody’s favourite night of alternative eclectism, Áit Ait is back in the basement of Pantibar on March 19. No word of the theme yet, but keep an eye on gcn.ie and we’ll keep you updated. Still solidly entertaining the gays of the capital is PrHomo, happening weekly on Thursdays at Basebar, Wicklow Street from around 10.30pm. SUPERSUPERDISCO, the weekly club for boys, girls and everyone in-between is still rocking the house at Tripod, Harcourt Street on Fridays. Also on Fridays is Sticky Disco in The Marquee at The Purty Kitchen, with various guest DJs and assorted drinks promos to keep the punters happy. The month rounds off on March 26 with Kiss at The Tivoli, the night when girls who like girls come out to play, along with their gay boy mates. As usual, the Kiss Pre-Party will pack the Front Lounge with the cream of Dublin’s lovely lesbians from from 9pm.

A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY It’s a big ruallie buallie across the queer Emerald isle this month! Kicking off with the weekly fixtures, Monday night is Movie Night at Dignity Waterford from 9pm, while over at brand new Cocoon Bar in Limerick the Monday Cure gets underway, with drinks a mere €3.50 all night. Tuesdays are competitive at Dignity Waterford with the weekly WKD Wii games tournament, while over in Cocoon, Limerick it’s Student Night. Fancy yourself as a superstar DJ? Loafers in Cork has an Open DJ Night on Tuesdays. Wednesday is the weekly Buzz Tournament at Riddlers in Limerick, so brush up on your general knowledge and head on down, while over in Cocoon Wednesday is Glee Night, with Glee on the big screen. It’s also Bingo Bonanza night at Dignity Waterford with cash prizes, drinks and shots. Thursday is the night of a thousand Karaokes with Riddlers, Cocoon and Dignity Waterford all giving you the chance to unleash that inner divas (all kick off at 9pm)! The weekend starts with the Variety Show at Riddlers, hosted by Fada starting at 9pm, while at Limerick’s Cocoon, Friday is 80s Night with 2FM DJ Jay J. At Dignity Waterford, it’s Camp Attack with DJ Duggan playing the best 80’s, 90’s, cheese and chart, while at sister venue Dignity Kilkenny it’s Pop Electrik Drag Show with Charmin Elektrik. Saturday is Party Night over at Cocoon with disco music in the bar and the best of everything else in the night club from 11.30pm, while the Dignity Bars do a direct swap, with Pop Electrik in Waterford and Camp Attack in Kilkenny. Finishing off the weekend is Spin and Win with Tyra Wanks and Cher Guevara at Dignity Waterford at 9pm, while it’s the Bingo Bonanza at Dignity Kilkenny, hosted by Charmin Elekrik with super prizes, starting at 9pm. Special events coming up around the country in March include the OutWest Disco in the TF Royal Hotel, Castlebar, Co Mayo, on March 13 from 10.30pm (to avail of special room rates at the hotel call reception at 094 902 3111 and quote Outwest), and the Riddlers’ Paddy’s Day Party on March 17. On that same hallowed day, Sinners are having a Hibernian Hooley at Chambers in Cork and Limerick’s newest lesbian rockers Very Angry Girls will be rockin’ Riddlers on March 20. Also coming up on March 20 is the first GayCork.com Karaoke meet-up. See gaycork.com for more info and if you have any listings you would like included in this section, email editor@gcn.ie WWW.GCN.IE 13

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snapped

To see the full selection of these photos, visit www.gcn.ie

LOVE ACTION NIGHT AT WAR Spy Bar, Dublin, February 12 Photos by Sean Meehan

QUEERID AWARDS Sycamore Club, Dublin, February 19 Photos by Sean Meehan

ALTERNATIVE MISS CORK AFTER-PARTY Ruby’s, Cork, February 14 Photos by Jennifer Payne

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“GCN is part of who we are. When we pick it up we can forget that we once slipped it into our bag in the local library, and that when we read it for the first time (bedroom door locked!) that it opened up a whole new world to us. To me GCN will always be connected to coming out, both my own and that of over thousands of LGBT young people today. It helps turn a sometimes dangerously isolating experience into a positive and hopeful one for so many young people. We need GCN. Long Live GCN!� Michael Barron, BeLonG To National Co-ordinator and GCN Reader

Forever

F

Forever

F GCN is not for profit, run by a voluntary organisation, and is a registered charity, no.12070 GCN needs your support to continue publishing through these difficult times. Log on to www.gcn.ie/forever and donate whatever you can afford, or send your cheque/postal order to Unit 2, Scarlet Row, Essex St West, Dublin 2. Help GCN, help your community, help yourself.

GCN Forever Michael Barron.indd 1

FOREVER

FOREVER 23/02/2010 14:59


PRo:log/sounds

Sound Bytes On MiPod You might feel a bit like everybody is doing their best ‘80s throwback impression these days but leave it to Goldfrapp to put the rest in the shade. Their new single, Rocket, is a sublime piece of synth driven pop with a chorus that will lodge in your head for days. Equally catchy but not quite as earth shattering is Cheryl Cole’s Parachute, another slick, radio-ready slice of R’n’B pop that look sets to continue her never-ending chart reign. Rihanna is in the same boat with the confident and sassy Rude Boy, a surefire smash. A change can always do you good though, and it seems that Aussie hit maker Gabriella Cilmi has taken note for her new release. On A Mission is poles apart from her previous Amy Winehouse-lite incarnation. Full of attitude and utterly enjoyable, it’s a romp that will fill dancefloors and helpfully carve her a new fanbase. For those with an interest in the cooler side of things, the new single from French Canadian electro darling, Uffie, will be right up your street. MCs Can Kiss is a blisteringly piece of jagged hip hop-inspired electronica that serves as a neat reminder of why this girl keeps the blogs buzzing. In a totally different vein is the triumphant second album from Irish singer songwriter Fionn Regan. The Shadow of An Empire is assured, confident and a step up from his well-received debut. Echoing Bob Dylan with its folk vibe, it oozes a charm and personality that is all Regan’s own. Miles above many other releases in the same vein it’s a likely contender for Irish album of the year. It’s a shame Owl City doesn’t make as much of a mark with his album Ocean Eyes. If you’ve heard the hit single, Fireflies, you know what to expect: twee, cheesy but diverting folk meets electro pop. It’s a bit of a mess, rampant with dodgy lyrics and through-the-nose vocals, but there is the occasional interesting moment. Worth a sneaky listen. And finally in what is rapidly becoming our obligatory teenybop inclusion we have a Jonas Brother gone solo! Good God! Nick Jonas & The Adminstration (no, honestly) are a tad more grown up than the Jo Bros. Which means his album, Who I Am, is actually quite boring. Even the most crazed Jonas-loving tween you know would find this one a bit too much. Avoid. Conor Behan

Nuala Dalton. Singer/songwriter

1. Alegrias de Coquinas - Estrella Morente What I love about Estrella Morente’s singing is that it’s very emotional. It’s a quality that gets lost on many modern traditional music recordings, which can be too smooth and polished for my taste. She maintains a beautiful, raw directness in her recordings. 2. The Climb - Joe McElderry I’m not normally an X Factor viewer, but since I’m living in Newcastle I was rooting for Joe McElderry. He seems such a lovely warm person, a gentleman and a nice contrast to other types of pop stars. 3. Life is not Easy - Lee Scratch Perry I went to see Lee Scratch in concert a few years ago. He is getting on in years and doesn’t move about much on stage, but he had the most powerful impact. I was dancing with all the enthusiasts at the front, the music was dance-heavy and yet very moving at the same time.

Nuala Dalton’s debut album, Breaking The Spell, is released this month, find out more at www.cdbaby.com

gird your loins, it’s a BAndslam! red Corner: sugababes

green corner: alphabeat

They’ve removed a founding member and lost their musical identity faster than you can say, “falling album sales,” but still The Sugababes attempt to shake the negative hype off with their new album Sweet 7 (Island). More American R’n’B then their last retro pop effort, it throws up some enjoyable numbers, not least the singles About A Girl and Wear My Kiss. Overall it’s a mixed bag with some dull ballads and vocals from new girl Jade clearly patched in at the last minute, which makes for a jarring listen. It’s likeable, but it feels like there could have been so much more. 6/10

Danish pop whiz kids Alphabeat are in fine form on their second release, The Beat Is (Fascination). Taking its cue from ‘90s dance tunes and their knack for irresistible melodies this album serves up a breezy pop confection. There are plenty of fantastic moments, not least hit singles, The Spell and Hole In My Heart, and the catchy chorus of Heart Failure. Though it feels a bit like listening to a pile of Eurovision entries at times, there is still plenty to enjoy. Keeping things the right side of cheesy, Alphabeat serve up an unashamedly fun piece of pop magic. 8/10

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PRo:log/books

Quick and the Read “A perfect work of art,” is how author, Edmund White describes David McConnell’s debut novel, The Silver Hearted (Alyson,€12.99). Garnering (Alyson, comparisons to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness Darkness, this epic episodic novel is anonymously narrated by a young man hired by shadowy investors to protect a fortune in silver coins, at all costs. For assistance, he turns to a beautiful sailor, who endeavours to help him save the money from violent mobsters. This is an odd mix that works well, an adventure story with pirates, sailors and plenty of sex, written in superbly elegant prose. A literary gay swashbuckler; maybe it’s the beginning of a new genre? Heartbreaking, uplifting and ultimately an historic document of creation fuelled, and finally interrupted, by the Aids epidemic, Persistent Voices: Poetry by Writers Lost to AIDS (Alyson, €12.99) is an epic collection as well as a profound insight into how artists respond to life in the shadow of death. Edited by Philip Clark and David Groff, the majority of poets represented here are American, but the emotional impact contained within is universal. Activist, ‘gender-jammer’, performer and celebrated author of Butch is a Noun, S Bear Bergman returns to the shelf this month with a collection of essays about the personal politics of trans life in the 21st Century, The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You (Arsenal Pulp Press, €€15.99). Don’t be fooled by the supremely easy-read nature of this book. There’s no such thing as a simplistic insight as Bergman grapples with myriad issues and encounters as she negotiates life somewhere on the continuum between female

Supported by THE FRONT LOUNGE

in aid of

GCN

and male. Few books discuss queer and trans topics in such a personal and engaging way, and the success of this book is down to Bergman’s particular talent for entertaining storytelling. It deserves to be a fixture on queer-trans reading lists for generations to come. Although it’s 50-year time-span in telling the stories to two gay male generations may echo Denis Kehoe’s Irish gay epic, Nights Nation Rupert Beneath The Nation, Smith’s Man’s World (Arcadia, €13.99) uses personal record rather than a thirdperson narrator to weave its complicated structure. In modern-day London, Robert lives in a world populated by sex, drugs and shopping that couldn’t have been imagined by Michael, a gay man grappling with an underground homosexual world 50 years earlier. Through a series of blogs and diary entries their worlds collide and each finds more in common that you might expect. Man’s World is a funny, sexy and moving story about how much the world has changed, and not.

MiBook Nicola Rourke, Creative Writing Teacher

The book currently sharing my bed is Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber. Originally published in 1943, it’s a ‘dark fantasy’ novel dripping with suspense... put your ear close enough and you’ll hear a voice whisper, ‘Read me’! The action begins when Norman Saylor, a professor of sociology, discovers his wife Tansy is a practicing sorceress. Norman, being a logical male, is appalled and forces her to burn all her charms. It’s only then that things start to go terribly wrong. Leiber strongly suggests that magic is real and all women are indeed witches, but, of course, we always knew that! Nicole Rourke is co-director of the Big Smoke Writing Factory, 7 Lower Hatch Street, Dublin 2, www.bigsmokewritingfactory.com, phone: 086 857 6705

BOOK

“It was the summer that Coltrane died. The summer Jimi Hendrix set his guitar in flames and China exploded the H-bomb. There were riots in Newark and marches against the war in Vietnam.

Curated by

FOREVER

THE FRONT LOUNGE // MARCH 5 -18

It was the summer of love. And the summer of a chance encounter that would change the course of my life.” So begins legendary punk diva, Patti Smith’s memoir of her relationship with iconic gay photographer, Robert Mapplethorpe, Just Kids (Bloomsbury, €21.99). In each other Mapplethorpe and Smith found kindred spirits and pursued their mutual artistic dreams in New York of the early ’70s, fused together with Mapplethorpe’s unforgettable portrait of Smith for the cover of Horses. This intimate, evocative portrait of a friendship at a time of intense artistic development is an elegy to creation, love and growing up.

Adrian + Shane // Gaetan Billault // Tag Barry // Brian Coldrick // Peter Fingleton // Jim Fitzpatrick // Jarlath Gregory // Emma Haugh // Chris Judge // Fionn Kidney // Love Action // Gerry Lee // Áine Macken // Alan Phelan // Ciara Scanlan // Will St Leger // Dublin Streets // ADW // Keith Walsh // Tonie Walsh //

20 artists reveal their influences in a Opens Friday 5th March in The Front Lounge specially mounted exhibition for GCN at 7pm with a drinks reception. All are welcome WWW.GCN.IE 17

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PRo:log/movies

Reel Queer First up this month is Matt Damon’s latest grimy war flick Green Zone (March 12). During the US occupation of Baghdad in 2003, Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller (Damon) and his team of army inspectors are dispatched to find weapons of mass destruction believed to be stockpiled in the Iraqi desert. Rocketing from one booby-trapped and treacherous site to the next, the men search for deadly chemical agents but stumble instead upon an elaborate cover-up that inverts the purpose of their mission. Oh, no! Miller must traverse faulty intelligence and endless ‘hostiles’ (enemy combatants) for answers and WMD’s but it’s pretty much a dead cert that he comes to some bland conclusion about the truth being the most powerful weapon of all. Shocker! Released the same day is Shutter Island (March 12), a tense thriller starring baby-faced supermodelshagger, Leonardo DiCaprio. Set in the ‘50s, DiCaprio plays US Marshall Teddy Daniels who’s sent to investigate the disappearance of a murderous patient from Boston’s Shutter Island mental asylum. Within minutes of arriving, Daniels realises all is not as it seems and it becomes evident that the hospital’s doctors - whose treatments range from the unethical to the downright barbaric - have a hidden agenda for bringing him to the island. As a hurricane cuts off communication with the mainland and

MiMovie Trevor Wright, Actor (below)

Even from an early age, I always related to James Dean’s character in Rebel Without A Cause (1955). Jim Stark was trapped and alone, dealing with his personal struggles in a society that didn’t ‘get’ him. I was an outsider back in my school days and I knew that I wanted to make movies, just like James Dean. As an actor what I’ve learned from Dean is that it’s not how you express it physically, it’s how you feel it internally. And then how you live with it as a character. Deep down, just like Dean’s Stark, who finds love and acceptance in the surrogate family he creates with Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo, I guess I’m just a hopeless romantic as well. Trevor Wright stars in and will attend the Irish premiere of 2001 Maniacs - Field Of Screams at the IFI in Dublin on March 2 at 6.30pm

the puzzling, improbable clues multiply, Teddy begins to doubt everything - his memory, his partner, even his own sanity. Next up is The Blindside (March 26), a heart-warming tale to assist with the spring thaw. Based on real-life events, the movie follows well-to-do suburban family (with Sandra Bullock as Mom and country singer, Tim Mc Graw as Pop) as they adopt an oversized homeless ghetto urchin, Michael (played by newcomer Quinton Aaron) and try to turn his life around. With the family’s help, support and most importantly, love, Michael thrives and realises a natural gift for American Football. Mawkish and saccharine perhaps, but an entertaining ride nonetheless. Also hitting cinemas this month is a remake of the 1981 swords ‘n’ sandals epic Clash Of Titans (March 26). This remake, directed by Louis Letterier (of those awful Transporter movies), tells the classic tale of Perseus (Sam Worthington) who volunteers to lead a dangerous mission to the Underworld to defeat Hades (played by Ralph Fiennes, in all his hammy glory) before he can seize power from Zeus. The original movie, considered a tour de force of stop-motion animation, has aged hideously - even worse than the portrait Madonna has hidden away in her attic. That said, the re-make promises more muscles than 300 and more garbled dialogue than an episode of The Hills. Perfect! Ciara McGrattan

Free screening! GCN is giving away 50 pairs of tickets to a special screening of I Love You Phillip Morris, the hilarious new film starring Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor! Steven Russell (Carrey) leads a seemingly average married life. That is until he has a car accident that leads him to the ultimate epiphany: he’s gay and he’s going to live life to the fullest even if he has to break the law to do it. He turns to fraud to make ends meet and is eventually sent to prison where he meets the love of his life, sensitive, soft-spoken Phillip Morris (McGregor). Steven’s devotion to freeing Phillip from jail and building the perfect life together prompts him to attempt one impossible con after another. So, did Hollywood keep all the good gay flavour in this true story? Why not go along and find out? To get your pair of tickets email editor@gcn.ie now! The screening will take place at Dublin’s Cineworld on March 15 at 6.30pm. I Love You Phillip Morris opens in cinemas on March 17

film From the promo shots that have been in circulation since last summer, the heroine of Tim Burton’s take on Alice in Wonderland (opening March 5), as played by Mia Wasikowska, looks a tad old, considering Lewis Carroll’s Alice was ten. But this version is a little different, more a sequel to the original, in which Alice returns down the rabbit hole as a grown-up and encounters all the characters she did first time around, and then some. Burton has used this device to overcome the meandering nature of the Alice’s literary adventures, which don’t lend themselves easily to the film medium, as the original Disney version of Alice in Wonderland proved. This time around, characters like The Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) and The Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry) are more emotionally three-dimensional, Alice has a dog (trés Wizard of Oz, no?) and the Red Queen (Helena Bohnam Carter) is the best Disney villain since Cruella DeVille. Curiouser and curiouser!

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CLIMATE CHANGE The banning of Pride in Belgrade last September, after a spate of violent incidents leading up to the day of the parade, has had a surprisingly positive effect on public opinion in Serbia. Rory Archer reports. “We’ll see each other in Belgrade,” read a three-metre banner held by a group of Serbian activists marching in Zagreb’s Gay Pride. They were among some 500 participants who paraded through the Croatian capital last June. Like most Pride events in Eastern Europe, Zagreb Pride is no street carnival. Riot police flank the marchers on both sides and there is not a drag queen or shirtless muscle to be seen. This is a political protest first and foremost, but tongue-in-cheek banners (‘Let Croatia be a Catholic country... like Spain!’) and enthusiastic participants make for a colourful parade. Such an event would have been unimaginable in the dark war years of the 1990s when Croatia was ruled by the authoritarian Franjo Tudjman. On Monday, June 2009, massive rainbow flags put up by city authorities flutter over the main square. As the Pride parade passes through, behind a police cordon about 150 protesters jeer: “Kill, kill, kill the gay”. A few neo-fascists break through the police cordon and scuffles occur. For a moment the parade pauses but then proceeds to drown out the protesters with cheering. The marchers continue unfazed to a city park where speeches and performances take place. This is the eighth Gay Pride celebration in the city and while Zagreb is no match for Amsterdam or Cologne, it’s doing well for itself. Yet, only five people are arrested, although according to Croatian law, most of the group should be charged with hate speech. Belgrade, a few hours’ drive east is an entirely different story. Capital of Serbia and the largest city in the region, it lacks the classic beauty of Prague or Budapest but its raucous nightlife and gritty edginess (it’s been called a ‘Balkan New York’) is attracting increasing numbers of visitors. It boasts the largest gay scene in the region but is also notoriously homophobic. Last year activists attempted to challenge the status quo and hold a pride parade in the city centre. Authorities banned the event at the last minute after a string

of violent incidents and threats. Less than a year after the revolution which ousted the war-mongering regime of Slobodan Milosevic in 2000, a group of activists attempted the first Belgrade Pride. The parade was attacked by football hooligans, fascists and ordinary citizens. Police did little to prevent the violence or subsequently punish the perpetrators. Last year the stage was set for a larger and louder attempt. Organisers announced that Belgrade Pride would take place on September 20. A comprehensive anti-discrimination law passed in parliament earlier in 2009 (theoretically) provided for legal equality of citizens, including LGBT people. Belgrade’s hosting of Eurovision 2008 served as a further boost to the gay community. During the Song Contest gay organisations and venues began to liaise with police and despite threats of violence from farright groups incidents did not occur. Neighbouring Bulgaria and Romania have begun holding Pride events in recent years. In Sofia and Bucharest police succeeded in protecting participants and enabling them to exercise their constitutional rights. It seemed (to optimists and courageous activists, at least) that maybe enough had changed in Serbia since 2001 to successfully hold Pride marches. As soon as Pride 2009 was announced opposition from different quarters began. The most violent came from far-right organisations. Serbia has a number of such groups (the most prominent being Obraz and 1389) who have links to the Orthodox Church, football hooligans and certain political parties who share their quasifascist and rabidly homophobic ideology. Most were formed after the end of the Milosevic regime and serve as a reminder that a large section of the Serbian population is unwilling to break with homophobic policies of the recent past. Throughout the summer homophobic graffiti spawned across Belgrade. Many scrawlings bore the symbols of the far-right groups who

In the lead up to Pride, posters began appearing across Belgrade warning Pride participants: “We’re waiting for you”. The response from three Serbian stencil artists used superheroes to reply, “You’re waiting for us?”

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loudly proclaimed that they would prevent Belgrade Pride by violent means. Thousands joined Facebook groups to this effect. A visitor to Belgrade who began a summer trip by popping into the downtown tourist office could see a large ‘death to fags’ graffiti slogan on the wall outside and creepy posters warning potential Pride participants: “We’re waiting for you” throughout the city centre. Despite calls for the removal of the anti-gay graffitti defacing city walls, political reaction was impotent. The mayor of Belgrade declared that “everyone should keep their sexual orientation to themselves instead of parading it”. The influential Serbian Orthodox Church declared Pride a ‘March of Shame’ and ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’, only making occasional weak appeals for non-violence as an afterthought. Liberal Serbian celebrities and public figures on the other hand stood behind Pride and gay rights in a show of support never seen before in the country. Embassies announced plans to send representatives to Pride and support from institutions abroad encouraged Serbian institutions to take a more inclusive stance towards its LGBT citizens. The police and government made increasingly affirmative stances and vowed to protect Pride. In Belgrade a spate of violent incidents occurred in the week leading up to September 20, Pride Sunday. A British tourist was shot outside a club on Wednesday. On Thursday evening a group of French football fans were viciously attacked by hooligans outside an Irish pub in the city centre. One of these, 28 year-old Brice Taton died of his injuries in a Belgrade hospital 12 days later. The link between this murder and Gay Pride, which was to be held three days later, is unclear. What is certain is that football hooligans and other thugs were increasingly active in the city because of the impending gay celebrations. State institutions failed utterly to apprehend the groups and individuals who had been threatening this violence for months. Pride participants understandably feared increasingly for their personal safety. Croatian activist, Cvijeta arrived in with a temporary travel insurance policy. “They can only beat me to the value of €30,000 in hospital fees,” she said. Nevena, a local participant, was worried about bricks being thrown. Ana was concerned about a rumour she heard that police would let the thugs attack marchers for a few minutes before intervening. Exactly 24 hours before Pride was due to begin the Serbian government threw in the towel. Pride was banned. The police were no longer prepared to guarantee the safety of the estimated 500 marchers in the centre of Belgrade. An alternative location across the river was immediately rejected. “We don’t want to walk in some forest - that would not be a Pride parade,” said organiser, Majda Puaca. In any case it would have been logistically impossible to move Pride to that location in such a short space of time. Others

lambasted the state for caving into violence. “This is proof that groups who pursue violence are stronger than legal institutions in Serbia,” said civil rights activist, Goran Mileti. The Swedish ambassador described the situation as “sad and strange”. On Sunday morning all public gatherings were banned in Belgrade and more than one thousand extra police patrolled the city centre. Despite this police presence, some right-wing thugs managed to celebrate their victory at the square where Pride was supposed to be held. The banning of Pride did not prevent more violence - an Australian wedding guest was assaulted in a city park, his attackers assuming he had come to attend Pride. Police arrested 30 of the thugs, including the leaders of neo-fascist groups Obraz and 1389. Despite having broken Serbian criminal law for months by inciting violence against Pride, they were arrested for infringing the temporary ban on public gatherings. So what has been accomplished? Serbian public opinion has moved to support the gay community more than ever and this is no mean feat in a state where polls indicate that up to 70 per cent of the population considers homosexuality an illness. Human rights lawyer, Biljana KovacevicVuco believes that even many homophobes who previously had no tolerance or understanding of the LGBT movement are now on side against the violence and threats that have poisoned Belgrade in recent months. Belgrade residents were appalled by the murder of the young French visitor and the other xenophobic attacks. Thousands gathered in the streets on three separate occasions to protest against violence and a day of mourning was declared. State institutions announced a clampdown on violent groups, the success or failure of which will be seen in the coming months. So far declarations have not been backed up by actions. In other parts of the former Yugoslavia, gay rights are far from the public agenda. Veteran gay rights activist Boris Milicevic points out that while Belgrade boasts a few gay clubs and a handful of café bars, Macedonia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Kosovo and Montenegro have no permanent gay venues and LBGT citizens are virtually invisible in the public sphere. An unexpected call was made last August by the conservative Prime Minister of Albania to legalise gay marriage. Commentators were quick to dismiss it as a ploy by the poor Balkan state to gain brownie points in its European integration. Whatever the cause, it was a welcome (and very surprising) move by the deeply patriarchal Balkan state. For the moment in Serbia, LGBT issues have plunged into the mainstream political agenda. Pride organiser Majda says, “For the first time ever, LGBT activists met the highest ranking state officials, even the prime minister. This shows that they took us seriously, that we rocked their chairs”. While the state capitulated to violence, activists declare, their movement has not.

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23/02/2010 17:27


Bear Necessities As Ireland gets its first bona fide bear festival, Michael Delaney gets to grips with a gay movement that’s sweeping the world.

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lthough it’s sometimes called the Bear Movement, the rise of the bear in gay male culture is less a social movement than a mode of self-identification and affirmation for those men who do not fit into the idealised gay image. “Back in the 1980s when the idea of gay ‘bears’ emerged, it was a rather vague, undifferentiated, and not quite defined notion,” says Les Wright, author of The Bear Book: Readings in the history and evolution of a gay male subculture. ‘Bear’ was more a loose umbrella under which many different kinds of gay men began to forge a new way of connecting. “As ‘gay’ came increasingly to mean ‘white, male, and urban middle-class’, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and queer folk cast about to articulate a new group cohesion. In the 1980s ‘tribe’ was a way to undo the growing divide between gay and queer. And ‘tribe’ captures the essence of the early bear group cohesion, harkening back to 1960s gay liberationist ideas of cohesive community, even all the way back to Walt Whitman and his notion of the sexual adhesion of Calamus lovers. Walt Whitman was a prototype for gay bears.” Bears made their debut with the appearance of specialty erotic publications in America of the late ‘80s, specifically Bear magazine, which was the first to coin the term and was created by Richard Bulger and his partner, Chris Nelson, originally as a photocopied flyer from their apartment in San Francisco. Bulger’s friend, Rick Redewill, founded San Francisco’s Lone Star Saloon in 1989 and from the outset took out full-page ads in every issue of Bear. Bulger and Redewill soon found themselves with a huge success nationally, especially among rural gay Americans, who would travel to San Francisco just to find a unique ‘blue collar’ gay bar, filled with a masculine-identified crowd who were radically different than the stereotypical gay bar image. “The true sense of a Bear is in the attitude,” says Thomas O’Connor, who is on the committee organising Ireland’s first bear festival, Béar

Féile, this month. “While the words ‘big’, ‘hairy’, ‘bearded’ are most associated with bears, there is more to it than that. Being a bear is more than having a perfectly manicured beard and wearing the clothes.” For many, identifying as a bear is a way of broadening the idea of what a gay man is. Throughout the 1990s, in the wake of the Aids epidemic, a new kind of narrow definition of what it meant to be a sexually desirable gay man, excluding all but hairless, muscled bodies. As a result, the idea of cultivating and celebrating bearish bodies became a way of cultivating and celebrating a kind of ‘authentic’ masculinity rather than idealised masculinity. The evolution from the smooth Muscle Mary to the hairless twink in terms of ideal gay beauty has only served to galvanise the bear movement. According to O’Connor, as the bear movement has flourished, the definition of what a bear can be has also expanded beyond its roots. “Bears can be chunky, furry and cuddly, big and huggable,” he says, “but, physically a bear can also be slim and trim, tall and thin, bald or hairless, ginger or grey.” To go with this growing inclusivity a number of new monikers for sub-divisions of the bear movement have sprung up, such as Otters and Wolves, Polar Bears and Grizzlies, Daddies and Cubs, Chubbies and Chasers. “With each physical description comes a new way of looking at the forest,” says O’Connor. “Diversity and at the same time, unity, is what keeps the bear community unique. The strongest attribute of the bear community is inclusion freedom to be who you are, to look how you look, and acceptance from your bear brothers. While it is important to have the support of family and friends, it is equally important to find support from those we can identify with.” It’s not all a teddy bear’s picnic, though. Because of the premium placed by at least some of its members on ‘authentic’ masculinity, bear culture has been accused of being as exclusionary as the mainstream gay culture that bears frequently understand themselves excluded from because of their body type. The rise of a specialty commercial market around the bear community, the lynchpin of which are porn

companies such as Catalina Video and Titan Media, isn’t helping. “The rich diversity of the bear community has become telescoped into a narrow range of images, which nowadays is defining us,” agrees Les Wright. “But it is misleading to mistake those images for the rich diversity of our reality. As gay youth encounter an increasingly stratified and commercialised gay social hierarchy, more nowadays are coming out as bear. They still seek a home community where they can be themselves whoever, however they are.” However, Wright believes that it could be time to re-evaluate what being a bear means in the 21st Century. “As we continue to mature as a community, and a global one at that, maybe it’s time to give more thought to how we might create bear culture broadly, and revisit our roots of ‘inclusivity’,” he says. In Ireland, the bear movement is still in its infancy. The Furry Glen, a club for bears which currently takes place the second last Saturday of the month at Dublin’s Pantibar, has been packing in the hirsute and happy for over half a decade, and it’s very popular, but little else has come on board for the niche until now. Béar Féile, (Irish for Bear Fest) is the first ever Bear weekend gathering or event of it’s kind in Ireland. Béar Féile takes place in Dublin the last weekend in March across three venues, The Purty Kitchen, Pantibar and The Front lounge, with five DJ’s, cabaret acts, including Dream Bears; the first Mr Bear Ireland contest; a ceilí with the Irish gay rugby team, The Emerald Warriors; and buffets and drinks promotions, discounts in The Boilerhouse sauna and other business across the city. “It promises to be a relaxed, friendly and fun weekend and to put Ireland firmly on the bear map,” says O’Connor. “We are hoping to attract Bears and admirers from all over Ireland, Northern Ireland, the UK, the US and Europe to celebrate bear culture, to celebrate diversity, to broaden the perception of the gay community in Ireland and ultimately to have a great party.” Béar Féile, March 26 to 28, Dublin. For full details and online registration, visit www.bearfeile.com

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Photo: Mary Furlong

Killing Kanker With a sprinkle of religion, a drop of economic downturn and a snifter of poppers, the winning Miss Smilin’ Kanker brought last year’s Alternative Miss Ireland back to it’s underground roots. So why is her alter-ego, Ciarán O’Keeffe killing her off asks Brian Finnegan?

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ast year’s Alternative Miss Ireland (AMI) provided gay Ireland with one of the most surprisingly, and it turns out inadvertently, subversive moments in a long, long time. Early in the show, it’s eventual winner arrived on stage (minus backing dancers), looking like a middle-aged rabbit caught in the headlights, and then led the packed Olympia theatre in a rousing sing-along to the hymn, Be Not Afraid. That’s 1,500 mostly gay people singing a paean to the doctrine of a church that roundly rejects and demonises them. It marked a turning point in the evolution of AMI and a high point in the evolution of Ciarán O’Keeffe, the man who created the unforgettable Miss Smilin’ Kanker. “I was hugely surprised by the reaction, by the fact that I wasn’t the only one who had that song welded to my brain,” O’Keeffe says. “I didn’t expect everyone to tap into it in the same way, but then I realised that so many people are like me, that they went to mass regularly when they were growing up, they did sing those songs.” In the moment, when everyone was singing along, the irony was not lost on O’Keeffe, but he didn’t choose Be Not Afraid with any subversion in mind. “I never meant it to be a dig at the Church,” he says. “I just wanted it to be one of those songs that people knew. I was just having fun, rather than setting out to make a big statement.” That Smilin’ Kanker won AMI 2009, in the face of a barrage of competition from superprofessional production numbers, also seemed to be a statement about the show’s origins in Dublin’s cultural underground of the mid-1990’s. “I would hope my winning was to do with bringing AMI back to its roots,” O”Keeffe agrees. “When I first went to AMI and saw people like Shirley Temple Bar, Veda and Siobhán Broadway win, I thought they were amazing creations. But then I stopped going to the show because I thought a lot of the acts had become predictable. In a sense, I wanted to prove a point. I went in thinking about how can you really be alternative? I know I wasn’t the only one thinking the same thing, but for my part, I didn’t wear fake breasts, I didn’t shave my arms and legs, I didn’t wear a wig, I wore basic make-up and didn’t spend any money whatsoever on the act or make a big production of it.” Having interviewed AMI winners for the past six years, O’Keeffe strikes me differently to them all. Maybe it’s the fact that we know each other outside the AMI arena, having worked for a year on a Fás Scheme at GCN together in the early ‘90s, or maybe it’s because he patently lacks the hunger for success I usually see in crowned Alternative Misses. “I didn’t have any need to carry the act beyond AMI,” he confirms when I quiz him about this deviation. “It didn’t matter to me that to be a

successful drag queen, you have to be a lipsynching genius, a talent I could never muster. I was like, if they go with it great, if they don’t, that’s fine too.” So if he could care less whether he won or not, why did O’Keeffe enter the competition in the first place? “I woke up on my 47th birthday and realised I was bored stiff, that I had done everything I could have, within reason,” he says. “I know every gay person has their ‘AMI name’, and I’d always joked about going in for it. So, I thought, yeah, I’ll have a go. “I had no specific plans. I just put on a cardigan and a bit of make-up, sang a hymn with a bottle of poppers and Smilin’ Kanker was born. My friend, Paul Connell and I made a video on his iMac and I sent it to Panti. And Panti, bless her heart, said we could join her on the night.” The name Kanker is a reference to lesions or ulcers (spelled Canker) and is also Dutch for cancer. “I wanted to do something that was kind of black and white, so the name Smilin’ is really pleasant and Kanker is something not pleasant at all. I was hoping that she would be really offputting, yet you would be attracted to her. I think it works because she’s grotesque, yet there’s a real sweetness to her. She’s like your mad aunt, You just want to be nice to her.” Having studied at the New York American Academy of Dramatic Arts in his 20s, O’Keeffe’s is no stranger to performance. He acted for a few years after returning to Ireland, but then realised the actor’s life was not for him. “I ended up working in GCN and then went back to college to study photography, at DIADT, where I lecture in Fine Arts now,” he explains. Appearing on the cover of GCN, which is distributed at his workplace will give him particular pleasure. “When I started working at GCN, you’d almost be going into the office in a burka, hiding yourself in case anyone spotted you. But now I’m on the cover, and all my students and colleagues will be proud of the fact.” In that light, O’Keeffe sees both AMI and GCN as easily absorbed political statements. “AMI is a chance for a really satisfying expression of an aspect of being gay or lesbian. I think when you talk about gay politics, it’s like this big heavy statement, but there are lots of quiet ways to do be political. Even reading GCN is political. I see students and lecturers reading it in the college and there’s something very empowering about that, both for the person who is reading it, and for me observing that.” Political or not, O’Keeffe plans to kill Kanker off after her she hands over the crown at this year’s AMI. “One of the reasons I got out of being an actor was that I didn’t like performing, and while AMI was a different experience because it was quick, I was glad that I could just rehearse a little, go out there, do it, and then it was over. Chasing more success with it seemed like too much like hard work. I don’t know how anyone does it.” Kanker’s last stand will be dignified, her creator

“I was just having fun, rather than setting out to make a big statement.” says, although he’s tempted to sneak a verse of Be Not Afraid into the performance. “I want to do something very simple. The Olympia is such a beautiful venue, so the very act of singing another song there will be an honour.” And before Kanker croaks it, is there any advice for would-be AMI’s waiting in the wings? “I would recommend anybody to go in for it.,”O’Keeffe affirms. “It doesn’t cost anything, and if you go in with an idea of really enjoying it, you’ll rarely have a better time. It certainly beats the night I thought I shagged Brad Pitt.” Alternative Miss Ireland 2010 takes place at Dublin’s Olympia Theatre on Sunday, March 14, tickets from the theatre box office

THE AMI DISH This year’s AMI is gearing up to be one of the best yet. We’ve gone behind the scenes to get some quick gossip about what’s coming your way on March 14. Beloved 2005 winner, Heidi Konnt is pulling out all the stops with a big performance at the show, featuring the cast of the Dublin Theatre Festival queer hit, Silver Stars and the voices of Riverdance, Anúna. Hunk alert! The DC Cowboys, the 23-member, allmale dance company who shot to fame on America’s Got Talent will be burning the stage up with a half naked, sweat-soaked, super-sexy performance, while surprise drag star of last year’s Electric Picnic, La Gateaux Chocolate will not only be performing her very idiosyncratic act, she’ll be judging too. Other members of the judging panel include editor of the infamous Butt magazine, Gert Jonkers and doyenne of the RTÉ newsroom, Anne Doyle. Panti must be wettin’ herself! WWW.GCN.IE 25

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23/02/2010 17:30


Anyone 4 Tennis? As Ireland gears up to host our first ever international gay tennis tournament this month, with 60-plus players from over 10 countries, David Carty goes centre-court.

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irst conceived by friends, Roy Galvin and Frank Kelly over Christmas drinks in 2004, Ireland’s gay tennis network has gone from strength to strength in the intervening years. Since the inaugural Out4Tennis tournament in 2005, the organisation has developed into a regular series of social tennis sessions in various locations around the country, including both men’s and women’s tournaments held throughout the year. In 2009, Out4Tennis joined the Gay and Lesbian Tennis Alliance (GTLA), an international network of clubs holding over 50 different tournaments throughout the calendar year and as a result are hosting their first international event this month, a men’s doubles tournament which will take place in Westwood, Leopardstown. Out4Tennis member, Eugene Renehan, wants to assure lesbian tennis players in Ireland that while this is a men’s tournament, the organisation has aspirations to run a women’s international tournament in the near future. In the meantime, interest in the men’s doubles tournament is high. “Registration began in January and over 60 players from many different countries have signed up to participate,” says Renehan. “There are players coming from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, the UK and America.” Renehan joined Out4Tennis in 2008, having taken the sport up for the first time at a club in his local area. “A number of players who were involved with Out4Tennis encouraged me to attend the Christmas tournament that year,” he explains. “These tournaments cater for all levels, from beginner and social players right up to competitive, and also provide a way of getting to meet a guys or girls with similar interests in the sport.” Eugene admits he was initially sceptical at the idea of a gay sports group. “I decided to go along

nonetheless,” he adds. “To their credit, the people involved were very welcoming and it was a great experience from the outset. I would encourage anyone who is interested to get involved.” Out4Tennis Leinster meets monthly in Dublin, while the southern branch of the network meets regularly in Cork, details of which can be found at the Out in Ireland website. Along with this month’s international tournament, the network organises local tournaments throughout the year, and their website hosts ‘ladders’, social networking for members to keep in touch between events. Currently there are Leinster Men’s and Women’s Ladders and a Munster Men’s Ladder, while Ulster and Connaught Ladders will come on stream in the near future. As Renehan explains, it’s not all about games on Irish turf either: “Along with the home tournaments we have had the opportunity to travel to one of the many tournaments held abroad. Members have travelled to Eindhoven in Holland, Madrid, Manchester, Prague, and

“We would encourage anyone who is interested to come along and support the Irish players.” Milan to name a few cities. A number of players, including myself, will also be part of Team Ireland participating at the Gay Games to be held in Cologne later this year.” Meanwhile back in Dublin, as Out4Tennis gears up to welcome players from all over the world for the second international gay sports tournament in Irish history (following the 2008 Bingham rugby world Cup), a weekend of socialising is planned along with court action. On Friday, March 12, registration for the tournament and a welcoming reception will be held at Pantibar, while the Radisson, Golden Lane is the venue for dinner on the evening of Saturday 13, followed by a night on the town. But the tennis matches is where the real fun will be. “We would encourage anyone who is interested to come along and support the Irish players,” says Renehan. “Or if supporting the foreign athletes is more up our street, that’s okay too!” The Out4Tennis International Men’s Doubles Tournament, Westwood in Leopardstown, Dublin, March 12 to 14, www.outinireland.net

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23/02/2010 15:03


Travel

Girls On Board

Aefa Mullholland spends a week on the high seas enjoying a new concept in holidaying, the lesbian voluntourism cruise.

New Orleans, Sunday, 3.30 pm There’s something about gamboling aboard a 14-deck, floating palace that doesn’t usually propel cruise vacations onto eco-hawks’ wishlists, but new, environmentally-conscious, lesbian tour operator Sweet is changing that. The carbon - for passengers’ flights, pre-departure hotel stays and the cruise has been offset with the planting of 65,000 trees, making this the world’s largest carbon-neutral cruise. At all ports of call passengers can opt for traditional activities and bask, shop, or explore, or they can be a part of meaningful voluntourism projects. Sweet seamlessly blends altruism with parties, comedy, live music, film and networking. This is my kind of saving the planet. The Mississippi. Sunday, 4pm At the Lifeboat Drill, my friend Maggie and I

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check out our shipmates. Every possibility from the lesbian spectrum is on board. Celesbians. The dolphin tattooed. A plethora of fauxhawks. A duo of unironic mullets. This truly is the lesbian Ark. We just heard that Hurricane Ida is strengthening in the Gulf of Mexico. Further down the Mississippi, Sunday, 11pm We made valiant efforts to carouse, but have retreated to our cabin. We watch tankers and blazing refineries blur by as we race to reach The Gulf before the hurricane hits. Gulf of Mexico, Monday, 9.30am It was a rough night, but we skirted the worst of Ida. With waves now ‘just’ 20 feet high, I attempt to shower. This is a mistake. Clutching various bruised bits of anatomy, I visit the buffet. This is also a mistake. As I lurch between the pancake and bacon stations, I am hit with waves of regret and half the decorative melon display. I retreat and look warily at the Gulf churning grey, eight decks below. Costa Maya, Mexico, Tuesday, 3.30pm A boisterous set is having a celebratory barbeque after Sweet’s Uvero Beach clean-up. In 45 minutes 152 volunteers filled over 200 garbage bags. Shannon Wentworth, one of Sweet’s founders, tells us 85 per cent of trash that washes up on Mexican shores is not from Mexico. A couple of women wrestled a TV out of the ocean earlier. One woman alone found 24 flip-flops. Raffles Buffet, Tuesday, 7pm Maggie gallops back to the group, exclaiming, “Meredith Baxter! Meredith Baxter’s at the soft serve ice cream dispenser!” There is a chorus of disbelief. The sitcom mom on a lesbian cruise? It can’t be! We peer soft serve-wards. Meredith Baxter sighting confirmed! Stardust Theatre, Wednesday, 8am Hundreds of women deposit donations of books for one of today’s community projects - the painting and setting up of a library in an underprivileged school in Belize City. Skyscrapers of books pile up.

Belize City, Belize. Wednesday, 9am Leaving central Belize City, colonial buildings soon give way to shacks, occasional white ibis stalks in between. Houses are painted mint green and Pepto Bismol pink, Hallowe’en orange and purple. Newspapers have trumpeted the coming of “lesbian humanitarians,” and in this friendly place it’s easy to forget homosexuality remains illegal, that this is the first sighting many Belizeans have had of out lesbians. The school is drab and dirty. Once rooms are painted and the hallway is adorned with a stenciled alphabet, it’s a different place. Kids pour over donated books. A story is read in each classroom. The Belizeans and the Sweet crew beam. Despite official Belizean views on homosexuality, Sweet also partnered with the First Lady of Belize and local organisation, Lifeline, to “cheer up” the local pediatric ward. Jen Rainin, the other half of the Sweet duo, reported, “It was awfully bleak before we got there. Having spent a lot of time in pediatric wards with my own kids, I know you spend a lot of time walking the halls, looking at the walls.” When Sweet sailed out of Belize, the happy faces of Dora, Spongebob, The Little Mermaid, and Scooby Doo stayed behind. The Gulf of Mexico, Saturday, 10am Other voluntary projects had similar results - from installing computers in Roatan’s e-learning centre, to another beach clean-up, park beautification and reef dive clean-up in Cozumel. Sweet’s first cruise may be a zero impact week in carbon terms, but not in terms of the effect that it’s had on passengers and ports. Sweet (discoversweet.com) has adventures scheduled from a Vegas weekend (May 28-31), a Hawaiian Islands cruise (July 31-August 7) and the all-inclusive Cozumel Palace Resort (September 4-11) to rafting in Idaho (August 16-21). Sweet’s next full charter cruise leaves Miami for Key West and Belize City (April 16-21, 2011)

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23/02/2010 17:08


Grooming

Take Five... Eye Creams

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They all promise to reduce crow’s feet and puffy eyes, but do they really work? Declan Marr presents his five favourite skin products for your peepers.

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1. Olay Regenerist Eye Lifting Serum, €8.99 Not only is the price right, but the ingredients compare to those of expensive anti-aging eye creams. This fragrance-free cream is a concentrated form of an amino-peptide and B3 complex that hydrates to firm and visibly lift skin around the entire eye area. It leaves the skin around your eyes feeling soft and smooth and brightens the eyes. 2. Clinique Repairwear Intensive Eye Cream, €33.99 Designed to strengthen delicate skin and to address signs of ageing such as dark circles, puffiness and deep lines and wrinkles, this is an opaque white cream with a pleasant consistency. It should not be rubbed into the skin but applied with a light tapping motion, assisting drainage of accumulated fluid. On application the

product leaves the skin shiny, but the hydration is good and a little goes a long way. 3. Dermalogica Total Eye Care, SPF15, €28 This gently tinted cream acts like a concealer as well as an intensive eye cream. Optical light diffusers in the tint help diminish the appearance of dark circles, while a chemical-free sunscreen helps to shield against further damage to the delicate skin around the eyes. It’s a really light cream and blends well, so it doesn’t look like make-up. 4. Origins GinZing, €21 Ideal for younger users, this cream contains ginseng and caffeine to perk your eyes up if you’ve been on the tiles into the wee hours. It absorbs quickly and has a tiny bit of a pink tint to it which has a hint of pigment to diminish dark circles.

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5. Estée Lauder Time Zone Anti-Line/ Wrinkle Eye Crème, €25 This anti-aging eye cream has a thing called Sirtuin EX1 Technology, which its makers say helps reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles and restores natural protection to the eye area. You can take manufacturers claims of reducing wrinkles with a pinch of salt, but the good moisturising balance in this cream is preventative, rather than curative.

STEPHEN THOMAS MALE GROOMING INC.

Beauty Bitch

PROFESSIONAL GROOMING EXCLUSIVELY FOR MEN

unison by the 1,500 participants to the rest of the world to stop using fossil fuels. This has encouraged me to assert the Precautionary Principle (impressed?), which is easily summed up in the aphorism: “better safe than sorry,” or “look before you leap.” If you cut down on using potentially harmful cosmetic products that might damage the environment, you’d make this beauty boss very happy. The next time you mince up and down Grafton Street, pop into Robert Chambers Hairdressing Salon and buy some ‘Love, Peace & the Planet’ hair products. They’re mostly organic, they’ll leave you smelling of cranberry, orange and mint. I’ve got two words to say to you: Cop On.

“Would ya stop hittin’ your sister Conor and feckin’ cop on.” This is the example that an online urban dictionary gives of how to use ‘cop on’ in a sentence. Charming! What’s worse is that ‘cop on’ is Irish slang, meaning to acquire common sense. It does my heart proud to read our slang caringly put into a lovely context, which everyone else can read - worldwide. Oh, the wonders of the web. Well, at least it’s better than ‘cop off,’ which is Scouse for you know what. Where am I going with all this small talk, enlightening as it is? For most of December last year, COP15 took place in Copenhagen, the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference, and a resounding “cop on” was being uttered in

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PH: 01 672 9444 WAXING: Advanced & specialised (inc. back sack & crack) FACIALS: Pro skincare (Decleor) MASSAGE: Body therapy, Swedish & Indian Head Massage OTHER SERVICES INCLUDE: Manicures, Pedicures, Tinting etc

20% DICOUNT ON PRESENTATION OF THIS AD 64 Dame street Unit 1, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 www.stephenthomas.ie E: appointments@stephenthomas.ie WWW.GCN.IE 29

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fashion

Take Five... Blazers

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1. Tailored Light Blue Blazer, €329 2. Blue Monday Blazer, €80.16 3. Cotton Sateen Short Blazer, €285 4. Skinny-fit Navy Blazer, €90 5. Green Harris Tweed, €72 Stockists: 1. Tommy Hilfiger, Grafton Street, Dublin 2; 2. River Island, nationwide; 3. Ted Baker, Grafton Street, Dublin 2; 4. Topman, Dublin, Cork, Galway, Tralee, Waterford, Wexford; 5. Urban Outfitters, Fownes Street, Dublin 2. Stylist: Louise Mitchell

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Stockists: 1. BT2, Grafton Street, Dublin 2; 2. American Aparel, Grafton Street, Dublin 2; 3. TK Maxx, nationwide; 4. Topman, nationwide; 5. Dunnes Stores, nationwide. Stylist: Louise Mitchell

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dublinstreets.blogspot.com

With stylist, Darren Kennedy One of the things I always have to force myself to do at this time of year is to give my wardrobe a bit of a spring clean. As a stylist and a hoarder, I find it especially difficult parting with clothes. So this year I’ve decided, as far as my wardrobe is concerned, to keep a new mantra: ‘Something new, in; something old, out’. Simply put, when a new item of clothing enters my closet, a previously-loved item is sent winging its way to a charity shop. Let’s not forget the adage, one girl’s junk, is another girl’s treasure! Bearing this mantra in mind, I recently acquired

a brand-spanking-new pair of grey jeans, so I set about searching for a pair to offload. Buried in the sea of denim I came across a solo pair of tan chinos I’d picked up in Old Navy during a trip to San Francisco about three years ago. I’ve probably only worn them once as they were too long and I never got around to having them taken up. It got me thinking about casual trousers. Like so many men (apart from those who wear office suits), I wear jeans about 90 per cent of the time. So I’ve decided I want to add more variety and, as it happens, it’s the perfect time to do so. This year menswear takes a more relaxed approach to the past decade’s skinny jean obsession. Full-on skinny fades to a slim, straight cut (to the delight of many an Irish man, no doubt!), a preppy throwback to the late 1960’s. Contemporary chinos have drawn inspiration from popular culture, and even die-hard skinny fans can get their fix with the Guy Chino range from Acne. If you’re adventurous enough, why not go all out by adding a splash of colour with a pair of chinos in one of this season’s bright colour palette of blue, yellow, pink, red and lavender? Try rolling them up a little past the ankle during the summer. Trust me, it’s an alternative that will tempt even the most stubborn jeans addict. Darren Kennedy is a TV & radio presenter and resident stylist with 2FM and writes a daily fashion blog www.helpmystyle.ie

STREET SMARTS

WHO’S WEARING WHAT AND WHERE? Name: Katie Culletun Age: 22 Location: South William Street, Dublin 2 Occupation: Hairdresser at Dylan Bradshaw’s Wearing: Shirt from Urban Outfitters, cardigan from Zara, jeans from Topshop, boots from Urban Outfitters. Three words to describe your personal style: Bit o’ everything. If your style was an inanimate object what would it be: A pair of scissors. Last thing you bought: The boots I’m wearing. Next thing you’re going to buy: A new pair of brogues. Best place to shop in Ireland: Topshop. Favourite possession: My new toy watch. Favourite place to eat: Everywhere! Yum. Favourite place to go on a Friday: Bar Pintxo in Temple Bar. WWW.GCN.IE 31

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eating in and out

On the Side ROCKET AND ARTICHOKE SALAD Salad is always great with Risotto. In a large bowl throw approx 160g of rocket. Slice one jar of artichokes and sprinkle over. Mix two tablespoons of olive oil with one tablespoon of good balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle over the salad. Top with some Parmesan shavings and serve right away!

Two Poofs in a Pantry With St Patrick’s Day almost upon us, GCN chefs Brian Drinan and Paul Coffey serve up a traditional Italian dish with an Irish twist.

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

Hi all, here we are and it’s March already. Evenings are getting longer but the cold weather is certainly not gone, so some nice warm comfort food is still called for. We are going to get you guys cooking risotto, which is one of the most simple and satisfying dishes to prepare. It has so many variations, the mind boggles. Seeing as it’s St Patrick’s Day on March 17, we will be serving our Bacon, Leek and Cabbage Risotto (serves 4), a deliciously creamy main course that’s just perfect for when you return from the parade!

WHAT TO PUT IN Three tblsp olive oil Quarter head of cabbage, shredded One leek, sliced , one onion, diced Eight rashers of bacon, cubed Two cloves of garlic, finely chopped Two pints of chicken stock, 250g Arborio rice, 100 mls cream, two sprigs of thyme, 75g grated Parmesan, 25g butter HOW TO MAKE IT 1. Using a large, heavy-based saucepan or a large frying pan, heat the oil and butter and sauté the onion and bacon until golden. 2. Add the leek, garlic, cabbage and thyme and cook for a further five minutes until the cabbage has softened. 3. Add the rice and stir. Add one ladle of the stock and over a low heat stir until all the liquid has been absorbed. Add more liquid and repeat the process until all the stock has been used. This should take approx 20 minutes. 4. Add the cream and half the Parmesan. Pop the lid on and leave to sit for a few minutes. The risotto should not be too dry or too wet, but a nice creamy texture. 5. Season with salt and pepper and serve in warmed bowls with the extra parmesan sprinkled over.

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DILL_GCN:Layout 1

The Big Dish...

18/02/2010

11:47

Page 1

* LUNCH DINNER BRUNCH *

Sinéad Deegan gets a bee in her bonnet about restaurant service, so it’s lucky the food at Olivier’s on Dublin’s Leeson Street is so good.

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ritics and friends have been raving about Oliver’s Eatery at Vaughan’s pub in Terenure and while I’m always happy to travel for a good bite to eat, Dublin 6w is just that bit too far in the wrong direction (like venturing over the Liffey used to be, until the cute Koh boys cured me of that particular affliction). The man behind Olivier’s is Mr Olivier Quenet of La Maison in Castlemarket and now of Olivier’s above O’Brien’s pub on Lesson Street. With its entrance on Sussex Row, located to the side of the lounge bar, the restaurant is immediately inviting and has an old fashioned gentlemen’s club kind of feel, with panelled walls, substantial leather armchairs and brass fixtures. The space itself is a bit awkward - the entrance room houses about four high tables with bar stools. A tip: if you’re making a reservation, ask for a table in the back room by the piano or fire. Now, this is an unusual review as I’ve been four times since it opened. There aren’t many places where I’d be willing to overlook certain aspects of the service or experience, but Olivier’s is an exception. Some of the initial mishaps included: a waiter that pointed my friend in the direction of a coat hook when she asked him to hang a coat, a waiter that didn’t say so much as ‘thank you’ when we came back to pay for a bottle of wine he forgot to charge us for and not forgetting the time I booked a month in advance and was given a high bar-stool table facing the wall. (Putting two non-blondes planning to get hammered at a high table? That’s a serious accident waiting to happen.) Having said that, Mr Olivier produces some serious quality food for a very reasonable price in relaxed, inviting surroundings. There is consistency in flavours and service (now that my least favourite waiter of all time has vanished), and I would be hard pushed to recommend a better option for a night out. The night in question was a Sunday, which is usually a serious day of indecisiveness, but Olivier’s was a unanimous decision. So the two non-blondes, baby and his Guncle (gay uncle)

headed off for early dins. We were greeted and seated by the fire. Having visited before, the menu was only perused briefly and we opted to share the Gallop to start - a dozen oysters served with shallots and red vinegar. These were fresh and succulent and with the vinegar and shallot mix, were sheer heaven for oyster lovers. The starters are mainly shellfish - crab cakes, scallops, prawns, so not the ideal place to take someone with allergies (unless you are trying to kill them off). For the mains we opted for the Slow Braised Irish Lamb Shank with Mashed Potato and Rosemary Jus. I think we finally found what we were looking for... our perfect Sunday dinner dish. Very comforting, full of flavour, filling and fabulous. The other non-blonde had the Pan Fried Pork Chop with Champ and Apple Sauce and while she said she was very happy, and the pork was perfectly cooked, I secretly believe she had food envy. I ordered a side of Seasonal Vegetables, which we had planned to share, but the portions were a tad skimpy (actually, they were perfectly acceptable for one person, we were just being greedy). The night in question had a pianist twinkling the ivories in the corner, who actually turned out to be quite entertaining. The bill came to €55 per person, which included two bottles of chilled Sauvignon and a bottle of sparkling water. I liked it so much we will be toasting the baby’s christening there on AMI Sunday. Expect some drunken fairy godfathers in town that night! Olivier’s, 8-9 Sussex Terrace, Upper Lesson St, Dublin 4, (01) 668 2594

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

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HIV

PREVENTION MEASURES With the continued rise in HIV diagnoses in Ireland, Susan Donlon reports on the progress of Gay Health Network’s three-year prevention strategy.

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s reported in this and the last issue of GCN, the continued rise in HIV diagnoses clearly reminds us not to be complacent. In the last number of years through the Real Lives Reports and Gay Health Forums, Ireland’s Gay Health Network (GHN) and others have highlighted the need for more men to test for HIV, along with promotion of harm reduction activities to men outside Dublin, Cork, and Belfast, and to younger men and men where English is not the first language. Increasing access to safer sex messages, including HIV testing information, gives rise to a need for increased testing facilities, an action already identified in the Governmentpublished document HIV and AIDS Education and Prevention Plan 2008-2012. While the HSE’s Gay Men’s Health Service (GMHS) launched increased services in 2009, expansion of testing facilities in community settings around Ireland is vital if we are to continue to encourage regular STI and HIV testing among men who have sex with men (MSM). Leading the challenge is GHN, an all-Ireland

network of organisations and individuals, who have a shared commitment to promoting HIV prevention and sexual health awareness among MSM, with a particular focus on men living with HIV. The promotion of consistent condom use is to the forefront of our HIV prevention strategy and three-year action plan and this is reviewed every three to four months. On Saturday, February 13, GHN met in Dublin to discuss the progress and introduce actions over the next while. The Rubber Up with Pride campaigns on safer sex and condom distribution will continue. In Dublin the peer action group Johnny (www. johnny.ie) distributes Rubber Up packs (condoms and lube) weekly in venues across the city. There is also an identified need to increase access to condoms and lubricants for those residing outside urban centres and GHN with GMHS are currently exploring the possibility of making free condoms available through its website (www.ghn.ie) in the next few months. The importance of awareness-raising with safer sex messages to MSM cannot be underestimated, to ensure that men can make informed decisions about the sexual risks they may take. The recent

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

Syphilis Awareness survey of 516 MSM, conducted by GHN members groups in Dublin and Cork, reported a 74.4 per cent recall of the campaign literature and advertisements. Notably, those who recalled the campaign literature also had a higher awareness and knowledge of Syphilis infection and transmission routes as did those who had tested for the disease. Significantly, the advertisements in GCN were the most widely seen (87.2 per cent). GCN has always played a pivotal role in the promotion of HIV prevention and sexual health awareness, and GCN’s recently deceased HIV Health Editor, Noel Walsh was an important member of GHN. GHN is now planning the promotion of safer sex messages widely throughout Ireland, through a new mainstreaming sexual health publication for MSM, to be made available in GP surgeries and health centres. A new interactive website is currently being completed to provide easy access to sexual health information. The BeLonG To Youth Service and The Rainbow Project NI are some of the groups developing awareness and involvement of younger MSM. The translation of our most recent publication, Living with HIV+ Sex, into nine languages will commence shortly and will be uploaded onto our website. The GMHS along with GHN is involved in the upcoming European Gay Sex Internet Survey being held in 27 countries this summer. GHN will also commence research on the needs of HIV positive MSM in Ireland shortly, the first research project of this kind in Ireland. Actions on HIV prevention and sexual health awareness continue, and while the recent increase in reported HIV diagnosis may be somewhat related to increased testing among MSM, the HIV prevention messages remain as significant as always: keep informed of the risks of HIV and STI transmission, practice safer sex - use condoms and lubricant consistently., and if you are sexually active, seek regular STI and HIV testing. GHN has received support funding from GMHS HSE, AMI, and Friends for Friends. Email info@ ghn.ie to subscribe to GHN’s quarterly newsletter or visit www.ghn.ie for safer sex information in nine languages

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

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

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

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X9@ www.ghn.ie Safer Sex, HIV Testing, Syphilis, STI’s and PEP Information in this Language for Men who have Sex with Men

Informacje w języku POLSKIM dla mężczyzn, którzy uprawiają seks z innymi mężcyznami, na temat bezpiecznego seksu, testów na HIV, syfilisu, chorób przenoszonych drogą płciową oraz profilaktyki stosowanej w przypadku narażenia się na zakażenie wirusem HIV

Información en Español para Hombres que practican el Sexo con Hombres sobre un Sexo más Seguro, la Prueba del VIH, Sífilis, ETS y PPE

Gnéas níos sábháilte, Tástáil VEID, Sifilis, GGT agus eolas maidir le PEP sa Teanga seo d’Fhir a mbíonn Gnéas acu le Fir

Sexe plus sûr, dépistage du VIH, syphilis, renseignements sur les maladies sexuellement transmissibles et sur la prophylaxie post-exposition en français pour des hommes qui ont des rapports sexuels avec d’autres hommes

Sexo Seguro, Teste de HIV, Sifilis, DST e PEP – Informações nesta lingua (Portugues) para homens que fazem Sexo com homens

本语言版安全性交,人体免疫系统缺损检测, 梅毒, 性传播疾病及接触病毒后预防措施是为发生男 男性交的男性提供

Безопасный секс, тестирование на ВИЧ, сифилис, венерические заболевания, информация о Профилактическом лечении после подвержения риску (PEP) Информация на этом языке для мужчин, имеющих сексуальные контакты с мужчинами

A GHN translation project funded by Social Inclusion, HSE

GHN Play Safe Full page.indd 10 FULL PAGE.indd 1

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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 TUESDAYS 1 The Emerald Warriors training every Tuesday and 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. T: 086 261 8808. E: athyglb@gmail.com 1 LGBT AA group meets weekly in OUThouse at 6.30pm. 1 Johnny (Men’s Gay and Bisexual peer group) meet Outhouse. 7pm. T: 085 747 8383 for details, johnny.group@gmail.com, www. johnnygroup.org. Second Tuesday of every month 1 Bi Irish social group for Bisexuals and friends . 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 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 8:30pm T: (086) 235 2599 for more details. 1 Womens Tennis practice intermediate level on public tuf courts in Dublin. Weds 5.30 & Sat 11.00am. Call: 0863892992 for info 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 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 The Phoenix Tigers, Dublin’s lesbian soccer team train Larkin College. New players all levels welcome. www.phoenixtigers.com 1 N.A. meeting in Outhouse 8pm T: 873 4999 1 Rainbow Recovery AA Meeting, Carmelite Community, Aungier St, D2, 6.30pm, fully accessible 1 First Out is a confidential discussion group for women exploring their sexuality. First Thursday of each month in Outhouse at 7.30pm. T Outhouse: 01 873 4999 1 The Emerald Warriors training every Tuesday and Thursday at 7.30 in Bolbrook, Tallaght. Beginners welcome, no experience necessary, www.ewrfc.ie. 1 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 and women in the theatre space in Outhouse 7.30-9.30pm. For more info: E: outreach@outhouse, T: 01 873 4999

FRIDAYS EAGLE, Gay Wexford social group meets the first Friday of every month in Wexford town from 8 p.m. til late. Text 0860792625 : 6.30-7.30, MonFri or w: www.gaywexford.com, e: info@gaywexford.com 1 Swimmin Wimmin, meets at 7pm for a swim, a chat or just a cuppa T: 087 773 1557 for info 1 Dining Out for gay men 087 286 3349 E: 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 6.00-8.00pm. E: dublinqueerstudiesgroup@hotmail.com 1 Queer Conversations at Dundalk Outcomers. Check www.outcomers.org for updates on speakers and topics. T: 042 932 9816 1

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

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 and ladders as well as overseas tournaments, visit us at www.out4tennis.com 1 G-Swim, men’s swimming group, meet Wednesdays, 8pm outside Markievicz Pool, Townsend St, info@gayswim.org 1 Changing Attitude Ireland. Christian pro-gay network of persons gay/ straight working for full affirmation of LGBT persons in the churches. Visit us at www.changingattitudeireland.org 1 Older Women’s wining, dining networking group. Regular meetings with a view to pursuing mutual social and cultural interests. Email: verity20042000@yahoo.co.uk 1 LGB group for primary teachers in Ireland, North and South. The group has the offical sanction of the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO). Contact lgbt@INTO.ie or T: 087 695 2839. 1 Gay Book Group, first Wednesday of every month at Outhouse. http://groups.google.com/group/dgrg 1 GLUE - Gay and Lesbian Unions Eire. Group lobbying for changes in the Partnership Laws in Ireland. www.glue.ie 1 The Married Men’s Support Group meet once a month. Contact Gay Switchboard Dublin on 01 872 1055 for details. 1 Labour LGBT E: lgbt@labour.ie. www.labour.ie 1 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 1

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gidisupportgroup/ Queer Men’s Night Out. Dinner, movie and a pint. Follow the link on www.nua.cc 1 Kildare Youth Group, for 16-26 year olds http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kildarelgbt 1 Athy GLB Group, meets October 17 at Athy Community Development, Woodstock St, T: 083 304 9363 1 Kildare Group E: Kildarelgbt@gmail.com for details 1 Irish Queers. LGBT activists organising on issues in Ireland and Irish America. NY 212.289.1101 and www.irishqueers.org 1 Gay Bray Social Group for LGB persons in the Bray area. E: gaybray@gmail.com 1 Wet & Wild LGBT outdoor pursuits club, monthly activites, E:wetandwild@gmail.com 1 G Force , Garda LGB Employee Support Network. E: group42732@ yahoo.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.gayhealthnetwork.ie 1 St. James’ GUIDE Clinic T:(01) 416 2315 or (01) 416 2316 1 Transgender Equality Network advice, help and support T: 085 147 7166, E: info@teni.ie or www.teni.ie 1 Drugs/HIV Helpline 1800 459 459 10am-5pm everyday 1 BeLonG To Drugs Outreach. Support for young people around drugs and alcohol T: Gillian (01) 670 6223/087 328 3668, www.belongto.org, e:info@belongto.org 1

HELPLINES Dublin Lesbian Line (01) 872 9911, 7pm-9pm, Mondays and Thursdays, www.dublinlesbianline.ie 1 Gay Switchboard (GSD) (01) 872 1055 Mon–Thurs, 7.30-9.30pm. 1 Dublin Transsexual Peer Support Group. Every second Wednesday. Information, assistance and support for those questioning their gender. Confidentiality is respected. T: Fiona on 087 9207013 or 085 147 7166 1 BeLonG To Youth Project, supporting and resourcing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people aged 14-23 T:01 670 6223; E: info@belongto.org; www.belongto.org 1 Greenbow LGB deaf group E: deafgreenbowlgbt@yahoo.ie www.greenbowdeaf.com 1 Dundalk Outcomers, Louth LGB Helpline (042) 935 2915, For detailed listings, see www.outcomers.org 1 OutLouth 086 324 1579 E:info@outlouth.com www.outlouth.com 1 Transgendered Equality Network T: 085 147 7166, www.teni.ie or E: info@teni.ie 1

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

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

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

1

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

1

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

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

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

1

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

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

HEALTH HELP GUM Clinic at Altnagelvin Hospital, Anderson House, Derry, Mon, Wed & Fri 9.30am-11am Wed 1.30-3pm (028) 7161 1269 1 Women’s Health Clinic at Altnagelvin Hospital, Anderson House Derry, Thurs 9.30am-11am Wed (028) 7161 1269 1 Body Positive NI Room 308 Bryson Hse Bedford St, BT2 7FE 1

1

Tue–Fri 2-4pm T:(028) 9023 5515 E:bodypositive@wydeworld.com AIDS Help North West/Letterkenny Helpline (074) 912 5500

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 Queen’s University Belfast : qub_lgb@hotmail.com 1 Letterkenny Institute of Technology: lgbt-lyit@hotmail.com. 1

PSNI MINORITY LIAISON OFFICERS Third party reporting of incidents can be made to: Rainbow Project Belfast. 2-8 Commercial Court Belfast BT 1 2NB. (028) 90319030 www.rainbow-project.org; 12A Queen Street Derry BT48 7EG T: (028) 712 83030; Cara-Friend Gay Helpline (028) 90322023 or admin@cara-friend.org.uk; Lesbian Line (028) 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 1 Limavady 028 7776 6797 1 Lisburn 028 92 600978 1 Magherafelt 028 7963 3701 1 Newry & Mourne 028 3083 2067 1 Newtownabbey 028 90 259319 1 Nth Down 028 91 474957 1 Omagh 028 8224 6177 1 Strabane 028 71 379803 1

CORK, KERRY & THE SOUTH MONDAYS 1 Phase 2 is a group offering a supportive welcoming space for older (35+) lesbian/bisexual women - 3rd Monday of each month 7.30 - 9.30pm. Tel: (021) 480 8600, E: info@linc.ie 1 Kerry LGBT Resource Night (LGBT speakers etc.), third Mon of the month, contact KGLP, 087 294 7266 TUESDAYS L.Inc Drop-in - women only space - 11am 3pm Tel: (021) 480 8600, E: info@linc.ie

1

WEDNESDAYS L.Inc Drop-in-women only space - 11am 3pm 1 TENI trans support group, meets first Wed of every month at The Other Place, 8pm, Tel: (021) 427 8470, E: christine@teni.ie Tel: (021) 480 8600, E: info@linc.ie 1 South Drop-in Centre Waterford. Every Weds 8-10pm 1

1

Gay cinema night @ The Other Place cinema, 8 South Main Street, 8pm every Wednesday E5/3 Conc. Tel: (021) 427 8470

THURSDAYS L.Inc Drop-in - women only space - 11am 3pm Tel: (021) 480 8600, E: info@linc.ie 1 UNITE Youth Group. A safe, fun, social space for Gay and Bisexual 17 23 year olds at The Other Place, 6-9pm, www.gayyouthcork.com 1 Kerry LGBT Movie Night, first Thurs of month, contact KGLP, 087 294 7266 1

FRIDAYS Cork Gay Men’s Dining Group, 3 Fri of month to dine at local restaurant, 085 270 2396, www.corkdininggroup.com 1 The Friday Meltdown on Cork Campus Radio, 97.4FM with Allan, Caroline and Evan 1

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

1

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

OTHER GROUPS Cork Gay Men’s Dining Group, 085 2702396, www.corkdininggroup.com 1 North Kerry/West Limerick LGBT, Listowel Family Resource Centre each Saturday night, Call Martin, 086 855 6431 1 Kerry Gay & Lesbian Project, contact 087 294 7266, kerrygayandlesbianproject@gmail.com, www.gaykerry.com 1 Kerry running club, kerryfrontrunners@gmail.com 1 MEN (Male Emerging Network), social/support group for gay men, meets monthly www.gaycork.com/men 1 Mna Mna Ladies Choir, T: (021) 480 8600, info@linc.ie 1 Gaycork.com Social Groups, montly social events, info@gaycork.com, www.gaycork.com 1 Positive Positive: confidential support group for HIV GB men in Munster area, T: 085 834 3939, www.posposmunster.com 1 Out4Tennis Cork, for men and women, www.outinireland.net 1

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

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

STUDENT LGBT SOCIETIES University College Cork meet weekly W: www.ucclgbt.com E: lgbt@uccsocieties.ie 1 CIT LGBT soc, meets every Wed at 8pm, www.ciglgb.com, E: lgbt@gmail. com for details 1 Waterford IT (WIT) LGBT Society T: 087 252 7838, www.witlgbt.wetpaint.com 1 Tralee IT: LGBT@students.ittralee.ie or call Ben at 085 754 7110 1

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

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

1

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directory OTHER GROUPS shOUT! LGBT Youth Group, Saturdays, www. lgbtyouthgalwaycom, 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 Gay Clare Group, organises social events and supplies info, www. gayclare.com, 085 721 2674 1 Over The Rainbow Drama Group, Sligo, Merville Community Centre, every Wed 7.30pm, contact Brian: 085 803 3665 1 AZURE - Sligo based social group, holding regular meetings and events, www.azuregay.com 1 Midwest dining group meeting in Tipperary. Contact Joe on 086 898 9626 for more details AMACH!LGBT Galway, w: www.amachlgbt.com, e: info@amachlgbt.com

GALWAY, THE WEST & NORTH WEST

1

MONDAYS 1 Self Defence and Awareness Classes for Women in Limerick. Call Jai Chan on 087 676 1663. TUESDAYS ’I’m Out Here’ informal meet up every Tuesday in Sligo at 10pm. Text 087 986 2400 for details or log onto

1

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) 310 101 E: rainbowlmk@eircom.net

1

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

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

1

1

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

1

HELPLINES Clare Area Lesbian Information Line. To find out what’s going on in Clare Tel: 087 949 4725 E:clarelesinfo4@eircom.net 1 OutWest Gay Helpline: T: 094 937 2479 OUT (For information or a chat in confidence) Wednesday nights 8 - 10pm 1 AIDS West T: (091) 562 213 E: info@aidswest.ie, www.aidswest.ie 1 Rainbow Support Services Limerick. Supporting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transvestite, Transgendered people; their families and friends. Confidential Helpline: (061) 310 101 Business Telephone: (061) 468 611. e-mail: rainbowlmk@eircom.net 1 The Limerick Gay Switchboard and Lesbian Line is available Monday to Friday 9-5, and Tuesday nights 7.30-9.30pm for details 1

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

1

COMMUNITY CENTRES Rainbow Support Services, First floor, Fox’s Bow, William St, Limerick, (061) 31010, 087 931 0252. Supporting the Mid-West Community. 1 Rainbow Centre at 29 Mallow Street Limerick T: (061) 468 611 E: rainbowlmk@eircom.net

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1

Tel: 061 310 101 Tuesday and Thursday 7.30pm-9.30pm. Red Ribbon Project T: (061) 314 354 www.redribbonproject.com Mon-Fri 9.30am-5.30pm, Thursday til 7pm 1 Gay Sligo E: sligout@hotmail.com 1 NW Lesbian Line (071) 914 7905 Tuesdays 8-10pm 1

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

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

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

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

Dining Out Social group for gay men Meet for dinners in Dublin on 2nd Friday and last Saturday of month Phone 087 286 33 49 info@DiningOutIreland.org www.DiningOutIreland.org

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directory OTHER GROUPS shOUT! LGBT Youth Group, Saturdays, www. lgbtyouthgalwaycom, 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 Gay Clare Group, organises social events and supplies info, www. gayclare.com, 085 721 2674 1 Over The Rainbow Drama Group, Sligo, Merville Community Centre, every Wed 7.30pm, contact Brian: 085 803 3665 1 AZURE - Sligo based social group, holding regular meetings and events, www.azuregay.com 1 Midwest dining group meeting in Tipperary. Contact Joe on 086 898 9626 for more details AMACH!LGBT Galway, w: www.amachlgbt.com, e: info@amachlgbt.com

GALWAY, THE WEST & NORTH WEST

1

MONDAYS 1 Self Defence and Awareness Classes for Women in Limerick. Call Jai Chan on 087 676 1663. TUESDAYS ’I’m Out Here’ informal meet up every Tuesday in Sligo at 10pm. Text 087 986 2400 for details or log onto

1

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) 310 101 E: rainbowlmk@eircom.net

1

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

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

1

1

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

1

HELPLINES Clare Area Lesbian Information Line. To find out what’s going on in Clare Tel: 087 949 4725 E:clarelesinfo4@eircom.net 1 OutWest Gay Helpline: T: 094 937 2479 OUT (For information or a chat in confidence) Wednesday nights 8 - 10pm 1 AIDS West T: (091) 562 213 E: info@aidswest.ie, www.aidswest.ie 1 Rainbow Support Services Limerick. Supporting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transvestite, Transgendered people; their families and friends. Confidential Helpline: (061) 310 101 Business Telephone: (061) 468 611. e-mail: rainbowlmk@eircom.net 1 The Limerick Gay Switchboard and Lesbian Line is available Monday to Friday 9-5, and Tuesday nights 7.30-9.30pm for details 1

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

1

COMMUNITY CENTRES Rainbow Support Services, First floor, Fox’s Bow, William St, Limerick, (061) 31010, 087 931 0252. Supporting the Mid-West Community. 1 Rainbow Centre at 29 Mallow Street Limerick T: (061) 468 611 E: rainbowlmk@eircom.net

Ferndale Ferndale

Guesthouse & Restaurant

... is worth a visit and you are most welcome. Friends from far and near

Crumpaun, Keel Achill Island County Mayo, Ireland +353 (0)98 43908  www.ferndale-achill.com achillfinedining@eircom.net

This advertisement is your voucher for a 10% discount on your stay · GCN 03/10

1

Tel: 061 310 101 Tuesday and Thursday 7.30pm-9.30pm. Red Ribbon Project T: (061) 314 354 www.redribbonproject.com Mon-Fri 9.30am-5.30pm, Thursday til 7pm 1 Gay Sligo E: sligout@hotmail.com 1 NW Lesbian Line (071) 914 7905 Tuesdays 8-10pm 1

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

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

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

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

Dining Out Social group for gay men Meet for dinners in Dublin on 2nd Friday and last Saturday of month Phone 087 286 33 49 info@DiningOutIreland.org www.DiningOutIreland.org

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classifieds Lads Bi guy, early 40s, looking for other bi guy, late 50’s South Co. Dublin. Box No. March 001 Genuine romantic gay guy, 33, boyish looks, seeks caring, loving, considerate, single, Dublin-based boyfriend, aged 28-39. Genuine replies only. Ph: 086 372 1978 Male, 40s, tall, fit, alternative, N/S, genuine, seeks loving guy for love, friendship, laughs and smiles, own cottage, south-west region. No texts, calls only: 087 326 6344

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Are you being served? Sauna Club - Relaxation Spa and Gay Sauna, Smithstown Ind Estate, Shannon, Co Clare, Ph: 086 339 6630, email: saunaclub@live.ie, Google/Facebook: ‘saunaclub Shannon’, Quote ‘GCN’ for €10 discount on entry. Male masseur, Fairview, ITEC qualified. Holistic massage, deep tissue massage, Indian head massage. Strictly professional. For appointment Phone Se: 087 232 5942

Good-looking, honest, open, Ukrainian boy, 23 years old, dark hair, green eyes, non-smoker, with university education, good health and nice sporty body. Hobbies are nature, travels, sport, music seeks real friend and relationship. Box No. March 003

Male masseur, Co. Clare via Ennis. Rural location. Private parking, shower facilities. Therapeutic massage Ph: 087 281 3558

Mid 50’s, bi cross-dresser, seeks guys/ couples/groups, taker A and O, can travel and accommodation, Co. Roscommon, Ph: 086 122 3059

Sports & Social Groups Dining out social group for gay men, meet twice a month in Dublin for a meal and a chat. www.diningoutireland.org, email info@ diningoutireland.org, Ph: 087 286 3349

Lassies Gay female, early 50s, enjoys music, reading and walking, seeks similar female 40-60s for friendship/relationship. Leinster area. Box No. March 002

Women’s mini-marathon - in training yet? Join the Dublin Front Runners every Saturday morning in Phoenix Park. Start your training now. All levels welcome. www.dublinfrontrunners.ie

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DIAMOND LIFE If a young Liza Minnelli was starring in a Broadway musical telling Tori Amos’s life story, it might sound like Marina and The Diamonds. Following her utterly funky single, Hollywood, the debut album, The Family Jewels, is overblown pop at its most perfect. To be in with a chance of winning one of five copies, simply email competitions@gcn.ie with ‘Marina’ in the subject box and your details (including phone number) in the main mail.

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relationships

SEX WITH MY GIRLFRIEND IS A ONE-SIDED AFFAIR AND I FEEL UNATTRACTIVE

Dear Ray, My girlfriend and I have been together for two years. We are happy together and feel the relationship is good. However in the bedroom things are not so great. When it comes to sex, I am the giver. She tends to lie there and let it all happen to her, seemingly enjoying it, but putting little effort into giving me satisfaction. She never looks at me when we are making love, in fact she keeps her eyes shut tightly. Part of the sensual experience of sex for me is looking at each other, but no matter how much I tell her or ask her or help her along, she does not respond. I love sex and I love doing sexual things to my girlfriend, however my confidence in my own sexuality is being knocked. The fact that she won’t look at me is leading me to think that my body is not beautiful, that I am not attractive. I’ve never felt this way about myself before and am battling hard not to let it effect me, but the impact is there nonetheless. As hard as I find it to talk about our sex life, even the mere mention of it makes my girlfriend bat the conversation away. She will not engage in communication about it at all. She says she loves me more than anyone she has ever been with. I wonder what her sex life was like with her previous two girlfriends, thinking it may just be me, that I may be the problem. I also love her more than anyone I have ever been with, but I am worried that our lack-lustre sex life might hinder our relationship in the long run. Please can you give me advice as to how I can deal with this problem? Yours, Rachel Dear Rachel, The only way through this situation is to talk about what is happening (or not happening), but your girlfriend refuses to talk, which is a catch 22. Firstly, draw attention to this very fact of her refusal to talk so that on some level at least she has to take responsibility for what is going on. It is not just in bed, she is equally choosing passivity in your communication. Passivity is a way of not taking responsibility, of excusing yourself. The key here is to expose the inherent decision in someone’s choosing to be passive, and therefore get them to take responsibility for this choice. At the moment your girlfriend has nothing to lose from her passivity – it is working for her. She is having pleasure, but without having to take responsibility for her desire or sexuality. Such an attitude may have its source in fear, shame, selfloathing, embarrassment or apathy. It could be something traumatic from her past that has made her afraid of sex or of her own desire, or it could be sheer laziness that she never has to take any responsibility for initiating or reciprocating desire. Rachel, even though you love your girlfriend, you have to draw a line. If she won’t talk about it, make her aware of her choice not to talk about it. In bed, maybe try withholding sex to see if she misses it,

or focus more on your own pleasure, all the time letting her know that if she were interested in initiating and participating, you would be more than willing and ready to reciprocate. This sexual frustration and dissatisfaction will undermine your relationship. If you are not being met sexually by your partner, to the point where you are questioning your own attractiveness and sexuality, then another person who occupies or opens this space for you and shares it, even if it is only with a look, or words, awakens an affirmation of your attractiveness or sexiness which could potentially lead to an affair, emotional or sexual. And if an affair were to happen, the responsibility would not lie only with you. Perhaps you should show this letter to your girlfriend so she can see the effect this is having on you. Let her know that you understand that she doesn’t want to talk about these things, but that not talking about them comes at a price and one day that price will just be too much to pay. It is her decision whether she wants to wait until it is too late or not. All of us deserve a lover who is not afraid to love, desire, long, speak, communicate. Maybe you need to speak about why it is you think you don’t. Ray Ray is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist specialising in individual and relationship counselling. He can be contacted on 086 828 0033

RelationTips Ten Tips to keep the fire burning

1. Passion is a flame that burns brightly but needs a lot of fuel and air to keep burning. 2. Give it fuel by connecting with each other in reality and in fantasy. 3. Give it air, by allowing some space to breathe, by not adding pressure, and in recognising organic ebbs and flows in each other’s desires and sexuality. 4. Lesbian Bed Death is not an urban myth, nor does it only affect women. 5. Lesbian Bed Death is not a deliberate murdering of desire, but more a passive manslaughter through neglectful domesticity. 6. Your most erogenous zone is your mind, open it and share it. With yourself at least. 7. When the temperature slips from cool to cold, there are two people facilitating that decision. 8. Call it like it is. If the Big Freeze is descending, don’t just turn on the electric blanket and hope to sit it out. 9. You cannot keep looking for fuel on your own; it exhausts the body. 10. Once the heart freezes, it is too late.

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scopes

YOUR PLANETARY FORECAST FOR JANUARY WITH OEIN DE BHAIRDÚIN

Star Icons Nina Simone, Born February 21,1933 Intuitive, emotional, imaginative, artistic and musical, Nina Simone (or Eunice Kathleen Waymon) was a typical, outspoken Piscean. Those born under this star have a deeply spiritual nature along with a strong sense of right and wrong, which expressed itself in Simone’s poetic lyrics that often focused on civil rights. Pisceans must learn how to protect themselves from manipulators. Nina, unfortunately, was at the mercy of such people throughout her career, who creamed a fortune from her success while she was left touring into her old age because of financial difficulties. ARIES MARCH 21 TO APRIL 20 With the Sun aspecting your sign, things are starting to develop for you. Mars, your ruler, takes its place within an agreeable domain, so you will be even more active and ambitious than usual - if such a thing were even possible. You know you are destined for better and brighter things, but destiny itself will wait until you get out there and create some noise. Make today the day. TAURUS APRIL 21 TO MAY 21 Now is not the time to worry that your ideas will be rejected by people in positions of power or authority, but it is a worry that you might never get round to letting them know what those ideas are. You will get the chance to prove yourself this month. Seize it with both hands and be ambitious, otherwise you should learn to cope with the weight of your own silence. GEMINI MAY 22 TO JUNE 21 The more other people follow the herd, the more

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LIBRA SEPT 23 TO OCT 23 The entry of Venus into a sign of your agreement will make this month far more dynamic in partnership matters, but be careful you don’t go too far or push too hard as a gentle steady approach is best advised. Thankfully you can get your way without gratuitously offending everyone you meet - although, of course, it’s not as much fun! SCORPIO OCT 24 TO NOV 22 This month will have little to no choice but to show your ruthless side, especially on the work front, where if you don’t let others know where you have drawn the line they will not only overstep it, but also all over you. Either get tough or be prepared for others to make your life a misery. Change is coming and although it may not necessarily be welcome, it’s needed

you must show that you have a mind of your own and that you are not afraid to use it. Some of your ideas and opinions may not be popular or meet with warm approval but thankfully you are able to resist the temptation to be well liked rather then right. Past plans lack self-conviction; learn from the stagnant sense of flow by sticking to your word.

SAGITTARIUS NOV 23 TO DEC 21 Don’t be surprised if you suddenly you feel more confident and dynamic for by the end of the month you will be sailing along with few cares to weigh you down. You know what has to be done and you know it will be tough, but now you have a target to aim for you can’t wait to get started. An old flame may be warming to you, be wary for it may be better to let such old things go.

CANCER JUNE 22 TO JULY 22 The transit of Mars across a sextile angle of your chart’s secondary planet this month will endow you with a burning desire to succeed and accomplish deeds that stand well overdue. The more challenges you face, the more you will achieve and the more you will earn the respect of people in positions of power. Face self-destructive tendencies and overcome them by applying your sharp intuition.

CAPRICORN DEC 22 TO JAN 20 This month the stars counsel that you should make more of an effort to work closely with partners, loved ones and family members. Despite wishing to believe otherwise there is only so far you can go on your own and you currently run the risk of not having enough to reach the target you are aiming for. It’s going to take teamwork, but requests will bring swift aid.

LEO JULY 23 TO AUG 23 Even if you are one of those rare Leos who do not like to take chances, you may very well have a growing sense of adventure over the next few weeks. There is a stirring determination to broaden your horizons and learn more about the world. If you are not traveling now, you soon will be. Be at peace in the depth of any storm, knowing that you are safe.

AQUARIUS JAN 21 TO FEB 18 Now more then ever is the time to be bold and be the very best at whatever path you have chosen to walk. If others see that you are pushing ahead and making the most of your steps, despite the error of a fall now and then, it will inspire them to work harder and aim for higher things too. Be a force for good in the world and luck will turn in your favour.

VIRGO AUG 24 TO SEPT 22 You’re keenly aware that some people are easily fooled, but you are no pushover. The more others try to tell you that your money is safe in their hands this month, the more suspicious you should be. You don’t have to make any dramatic moves but keep your eyes and ears open. Remember your dreams and follow them.

PISCES FEB 19 TO MARCH 20 Mars, planet of ego and energy, aspects your sign this month and because of this it will pay to be a bit more careful about how you use your resources, especially one of the most important resource you have: your time. Focus only on what is important and let the random chaos find its own peace. Make sure to plan wisely.

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

Partnership legislation might be the main thing on the collective queer mind, but there’s a lot more we should be concerned about. In writing about queer life in Ireland over the past 18 years, more recently online, I’ve been interested in how the lives of ordinary queers are lived. Now there is no such thing as ‘ordinary’, but the contacts I have and comments I receive lead me to think that the extraordinary lives around us represent voices too often silenced or unheard. So call this entry: ‘In other news you may have missed’! We live everywhere on the island, work in all sectors of society, care for our families and friends and are cared for, are violent and experience violence. Yet for many in mainstream media, in politics, and amongst ourselves and ‘our’ organisations, the issue that seems to be only one visible is the recognition of our relationships. I’m not denying that there is work funded and underway on highlighting all these other areas of life and seeking to improve policies and responses of others towards the situations that we face and lives that we lead. I can’t deny either that for many the only thing they want to know about is how they protect their partners and demonstrate to those around them that the person they love or relationship they are in is valid. The National Lesbian and Gay Federation’s Burning Issues research highlighted the importance of equality and work for many respondents. This is 12 years after the passing of Employment Equality legislation and even longer still since sexual orientation was included in the

Unfair Dismissals Act. However in the civil service discrimination and negative experiences continue. The Public Sector Executive Union recently reported research amongst members detailing the experiences of staff in agencies throughout the state. Some of it makes for very uncomfortable reading. The comments from respondents on their negative experiences made me wonder what help having relationships recognised might give to the daily lives of many people. Detailing the reaction of a manager to homosexuality, one respondent wrote: “My line manager went on a tirade, comparing gay people to paedophiles. It was extremely upsetting and no action was taken, despite my bringing it to the attention of a more senior manager. The view was that the manager in question had strong religious beliefs and rather than discipline him, we should be more careful in what we discuss. The implication was that the responsibility was on the staff to ‘not upset’ the line manager in question. I was not comfortable in telling the senior manager that I am LGBT, based on that response.” Respondents in this small piece of research detailed the telling of homophobic jokes, being passed over for promotion and the silence surrounding their lives in the workplace. There are many suggestions for action from those that took part in the research. The employers in this case are the government (represented by the Minister for Finance) and the citizens who fund the public sector. Maybe the Minister will respond to the concerns if they are raised. In other news, a local councillor with no ties to the LGBT community called on his colleagues to support the holding of events to mark Pride. This remarkable move to have a local authority formally pass a motion of support and act on it, in addition to moves to make sections of local government and services more responsive to LGBT residents, should surely not be so unique in 2010. Dermot Looney is a councillor in South Dublin County Council and would like to have a Pride event or march in Tallaght indeed he suggests taking the main Dublin Pride event out to Tallaght completely. Something I believe would be truly radical for both the local authority and the Pride organisers in demonstrating that Pride is for everyone where ever we live and whoever we are. I don’t know what the response to Dermot has been since he tabled the motion, but I can bet some people have scoffed, accused him of interfering and even not bothered engaging at all. Some may even wish he had

“For many people living outside the pinkish triangle there are very real issues of invisibility and harassment.” never opened his mouth, as they want to remain hidden and untalked about. For many people living outside the pinkish triangle there are very real issues of invisibility and harassment. Friends of mine living in Dublin West face constant harassment, violence and intimidation and have had great difficulty getting co-operation from their local Gardaí. I don’t know if having a Pride march nearby would make that go away but it would ensure that others in their community could come forward to offer support and make a strong statement that everyone is entitled to respect. Finally, some good news in the move by Cervical Check, the state programme to provide screening for cervical cancer. For years many lesbian women have highlighted the poor response of the medical profession to providing and encouraging us to avail of smears. Now there are clear guidelines which state that all women are at risk of contracting the disease. The guidelines state that transmission of HPV can happen between women, and that many women who have sex with women have also had male sexual partners. Cervical Check are running information sessions on the issue and promoting screening in lesbian and gay venues. It’s 15 years since I first heard this issue raised in Ireland amongst a group of women concerned about health policy. To see the guidelines in black and white and to realise that screeners are being trained and women encouraged to come forward is a huge victory for the women who pushed personally and in groups for this to happen. So, while you follow the passage of the Civil Partnership Bill through the Oireachtas and ponder the changes to come in Irish society (including the fact that Croke Park recently became a venue for civil ceremonies) cast an eye to the other things that will mean a lot to those around you. Talk about the issues with your friends and families and keep asking for change from our organisations, politicians and public and private bodies to insure respect, inclusion for sexual orientation and not alone for the relationship you might be in to be recognised. Suzy Byrne blogs about life and all things in between at mamanpoulet.com

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