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Cork Pride Festival Chairman’s Address

Welcome to the Cork Pride Festival 2014! Whether it’s your first Pride Festival in Cork, or whether you’re a regular Cork Pride Festival goer, we can promise you a fantastic week of fun and fabulousness! This year, the theme of the Cork Pride Festival is “Celebrating our Heroes”. This theme will of course mean different things to different people, and this was one of the factors the Cork Pride Festival Committee were cogniscent of when choosing it. For some, their hero may be their partner, perhaps their parents or even a loyal friend. For others, their hero maybe one of the countless LGBT trailblazers who have paved the way for us to live and love in the most accepting and tolerant time in history. From Michelangelo to David Norris; Alexander the Great to Graham Norton; Buck Angel to Lydia Foy; The Ladies of Llangollen to Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi , and even Ms. Panti Bliss - all of these people have played their part in LGBT history, now it is up to us to play ours...

We find ourselves on the cusp of the dawning of a new period of enlightenment in Irish society with the announcement of a referendum to be held on the matter of full civil marriage equality for LGBT citizens in Spring of 2015. This comes on foot of an overwhelming recommendation by Irelands Constitutional Convention last November to extend equal civil marriage rights to LGBT couples. According to recent Red C opinion polls, there is currently 76% of the population in favour of extending equal marriage rights to LGBT couples, with only 19% opposed, and 5% undecided. We must pull together as a community, and turn out in force to ensure that every LGBT person in Ireland, their family, friends and allies have their voices heard and votes counted, whether they feel marriage is for them or not. It is encouraging that the even the Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said that he will be campaigning for a yes vote. This referendum is about choice, and so it is neither appropriate nor relevant for religious based organisations to attempt to decide our fate for us. This referendum is not about religious ideology; it’s about equality, but most of all it’s about love. This is the civil rights issue of our generation, and we all need to take part in changing the law with Pride.

A huge thank you to all of the supporters of The Cork Pride Festival 2014, without you and your unwavering support, there would simply be no festival. On behalf of the community, I would like to thank our dynamic Cork Pride Festival committee and team of volunteers for all their hard work, enthusiasm and dedication. You have been a pleasure to work alongside. It is encouraging to see more and more people from all quarters of the LGBT community getting involved year on year, creating new ideas and developing the brand - this is your community and your festival! Lastly, thank you to our media partner, the Irish Examiner, all of our advertisers and commercial sponsors who steadfastly help to make this all possible – please support them in return! Wishing everybody a very happy Cork Pride 2014! Let the party commence! Clive Davis Cork Pride Festival Chairman 2014




Clive Davis Cork Pride Festival Chairman’s Address


Jerry Buttimer I Have Come To Recruit You...


Eilish O’ Carroll Pride In Belonging


Julie Goo Pride Experienced


Dil Wickremasinghe Celebrating My Hero, Izzy Kamikaze


Ted O’ Connell Our Place In History


Conor Cusack ‘Coming ‘Home’ To The Truth of Your Real Self ’


Gay Cork Camera Club Meet The Club


Brian Caffin Egg Free Brownies


Pull-Out Map


Steven O’Riordan Mindfulness For Mental And Physical Wellbeing


Michael O’ Sullivan Funk N’Something


Karl Fragley Cork’s LGBT Inclusive Choir


Will Living With HIV


Cork LGBT Pride Event Listings


Vanessa Lacey Far Away Cows Have Long Horns


Giles Reid Gays Of Future Past

Committee Members: Clive Davis Chairman Ted O Connell Assistant Chairman Stephen Spillane Secretary Davey Walton Assistant Secretary Dermot Hickey Treasurer JP McCarthy PR and Marketing Denise Boyle Parade Karla Crowley Community Events Joe Mulrennan Magazine Design & Production Giles Reid Magazine Design & Production Stephanie Fogarty Volunteer Co-ordinator

Committee Officers: Brendan O Reegan Darrin Mattews Darrin Matthews Denis Cronin Eric Mcgarth Ethan Desmond Georgia Smith

Ger Hennessy Kate Moynihan Kevin O Brien Konrad Imy Michael Murphy Natasha Walshe Niamh Walsh Stacey Quinn

Big Thank You To: Kery Mullaly Fundraising & Sponsorship Co-ordinator Vicki, Olly, & Siobhan, Media Manager Social Media Paddy Carty, Evergreen Print Website Design Justin Cronin, Coolgrey Printer Gay Cork Camera Club, Photographs A huge thank you to all the individuals, business and organisations that made this years Cork LGBT Pride Festival possible, you know who you are, and your love, help and support never goes unnoticed.

Content Contributors: Brian Caffin Conor Cusack Dil Wickremasinghe Eilish O Carroll Giles Reid Jerry Buttimer Julie Goo Karl Fragley Michael O’ Sullivan Steven O’ Riordan Ted O’ Connell Vanessa Lacey Will

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Jerry Buttimer has served on Cork City Council, Seanad Eireann and was elected as TD in Cork South Central in 2011. He made history when he came out as the first openly gay Fine Gael TD in 2012. He is Chairman of Fine Gael LGBT, a group founded by him in 2012. Harvey Milk famously once said “I have come to recruit you...” and with those words I choose to woo the people of Cork to Pride and to the forthcoming referendum. Cork Pride is one of the significant public events where the message of equality can be attained by an inclusive city celebrating pride together. This is a day for family friends, allies and Corkonian to hang out their brightest colours and to march with us.

As Chairman of Fine Gael’s LGBT Group, I’m looking forward to a bumper turnout for this year’s Cork Pride and for the Parade, which takes place on Sunday. The Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald TD, in walking in the Dublin parade created history in becoming the first Justice Minister to walk and join thousands in support of the LGBT community. Her presence sent a powerful message that as a government Minister she was willing to walk and public demonstrate her support. For me Pride is a public celebration of being gay and it’s about an ongoing journey towards equality. It’s a remembrance of those who strove for equality and a reminder that there is further progress to be made. Pride is a celebration of diversity for all, I am delighted to have such strong support from across the Fine Gael family this year and I am particularly pleased that all political parties will have walked in pride parades across the country which in many ways is more important this year than ever. This is potentially the last parade before the marriage equality referendum, so sending a strong message in support of equality is essential. 6

I would like to thank my colleagues in Fine Gael for their incredible support for equality and LGBT issues. Since we formed the Fine Gael LGBT Group three years ago, I have been struck by how members of the Party have rallied around, supporting the Group and the campaign for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. I would also like to acknowledge the hard work and perseverance of those who have been involved in the campaign for equal rights for many years. They laid the groundwork, they faced up to difficult opposition and the sometimes tricky court of public opinion. I hope we can continue to encourage a new generation to get involved and become empowered. All of us in the LGBT community are playing a huge role in this regard. We must all continue the quest for full equality. We need supporters and allies like to get involved. Those who do so will find their time and work extremely fulfilling. Deputy Chairperson of the Fine Gael LGBT Group, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy TD, said: “As a married mother of two, I want gay people to have the same rights and the same opportunity for happiness as me and my family. Equality cannot be conditional on gender or sexuality.”

Irish society has come a long way in recent years, and it’s now clear that the vast majority of the public support equal rights for LGBT people. I am committed to the campaign to spread the message that equality is for everyone and I look forward to making the case for marriage equality in the run up to the referendum. We need to win that referendum. It can only be won by active participation, by campaigning. We can’t let it to others. Register to vote, canvass, encourage and inform your family and friends of the issues and of the need for equality. The construction of a winning majority of Ireland is a task we must dedicate ourselves to achieve, we must persuade people to join our coalition of gay and straight to win the referendum. That in my view requires a united approach from all of us in the LGBT Community. So as part of Cork Pride I ask all of us to renew or commitment to work together to bring the people of Ireland with us. The shift in support towards Marriage Equality is a sign that within our communities’ people are waking up. Their lives are being changed positively by the success of civil partnership, by the same sex couples living next door or by their young school children helping to change their parents views. We have, as Ronald Regan once said, “every right to dream heroic dreams.” For me this means: Freedom to be who we are. To one day walk hand in hand with our partners down Main street Respect each other. We must agree to disagree, but at all times treat each other with respect. Acceptance that irrespective of sexuality, colour, religion, social class, ethnicity we accept each other and strive to build a better more equal society. Equal that the love of two people can be embraced, celebrated and recognised by our constitution. Where we as our proclamation says all cherished equally. Thank you for your ongoing support. We must stand up for what we believe in and only together, united, can we achieve the wish to be equal.

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Eilish O’Carroll was born in

Dublin and was the second youngest in a family of 10. In 1999 she took to the stage in the very first of Mrs. Brown’s Boys plays as Winnie McGoogan, her film work includes Snap, Sparrow’s Trap and a short film called Noreen. We are happy to say that in recent years she has decided to make West Cork her home.

Pride in Belonging My very first Cork Pride was as a spectator; You see at that time I wasn’t a real Lesbian, I was just going through a phase, the cause of which I had fairly and squarely rested on the shoulders of an ‘early menopause”. During this phase I returned to Ireland from the UK and found a little hideaway in West Cork. Isolation, loneliness and downright curiosity brought me to the City on that sunny bank holiday weekend. I stood on the sidelines alongside all the straight people and watched as the gay cork community paraded by with their colourful banners and proud smiles.

I envied their courage and openness. I envied their obvious acceptance of who they were. I was drawn to a particular group of women, not sure why; Maybe it was because their chatter and laughter could be heard above the drums and music. Maybe it was their sense of fun as they confidently and proudly walked behind the banner with the initials L.I.N.C (Lesbians in Cork).


Maybe it was because they were drop dead gorgeous to look at. Whatever the reason they made me smile as they marched with the banner and their heads held high.

When it finally came to an end I watched as they celebrated, dancing, singing and embracing each other. I thought to myself, this celebration will probably go on for hours in various venues throughout Cork City.

I envied their togetherness, their shared belonging. I found myself moving along the footpath matching their pace. I felt in some small silent way I was walking with them in this my first Cork Pride. But I was fooling myself. Sure after all I wasn’t a real Lesbian. I’d only come to watch because I had nothing better to do. Well that’s what I told myself at the time.

Sadly, I would not be able to shadow my group of drop dead gorgeous women wherever they planned to go onto. I walked to the car park, my head melting with questions and drove home to my hideaway. Later, as I sat alone, sipping a large brandy, talking to an empty chair, I said out loud, “I just want to belong”.

It wasn’t long before I plucked up the courage to enter the doors of LINC and start my own journey to acceptance.

Since then I have walked several times with confidence and pride in the Cork Pride Parade and celebrated with those drop dead gorgeous women I had shadowed years previously. There is nothing like the feeling of belonging.

Eilish O’Carroll Out and Proud

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Julie Goo is the reigning Munster Slam Poetry Champion, as well as being a singer, writer and occasional D.J. She has just qualified as a primary school teacher.

For me personally, Pride is much more than running around the streets declaring my sexual orientation to the general public.

My first experience of a Gay Pride Festival was at age nineteen, while living in Sydney. Although I found the proud sea of rainbows exhilarating, I had not ‘come out’ yet so it was also deeply frustrating. However, twelve years and one daughter later, I finally celebrated Pride, out and proud, in my homeplace of Cork. When I told my then four year old daughter that we would be in the parade, as opposed to watching it from the sidelines, she nearly burst with excitement. I will never forget how she strut down Pana, holding her rainbow flag, proudly waving at bystanders, never once asking why there was a parade and why we were in it! I found myself bubbling with emotion as perfect strangers lined the streets with smiles plastered across their faces.

I am haunted and inspired by the courageous energy and actions of the many activists who risked their lives in a more repressive time, not too long ago.

I am also acutely aware of the hundreds of millions of LGBT people around the world who are suffering on a daily basis under fascist governments. This harsh awareness and empathy nurtures my inner pride, to be a citizen of a country which has matured into a much more progressive and liberal one over the last few decades. We still have a long way to go, when we look at issues such as marriage equality, but I have no doubt that this will be achieved in the near future.

Happy Pride everyone,

I recently attended Dublin Pride for the first time, and I was gobsmacked to see the city colonised by a rainbow sea of happy gays. The energy was electric and the sun was blazing. I was delighted to march along with the INTO (Irish National Teachers’ Organisation), and we received an overwhelming response from the public. The icing on the cake for me was attending the alternative event ‘Fallopian Tunes’ on the Saturday night. This cabaret catered for the more alternative folk, like myself, who try to avoid dancing to tunes which repeatedly refer to the arrival of the ‘venga bus’ etc. The theme of this years Cork Pride is an interesting one. My heroes are those who have a global conscience. Those people whose selfless work aims to create a more just and equal society for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, or ethnic background. Mary Robinson is one woman who I deeply admire. With regards the gay community in Ireland, I would have to take my hat off to the courage that the likes of Dónal Óg Cusack and Eileen Gamble have shown. Both of these people came out in environments where everyone is assumed and almost expected to be hetrosexual. Dónal Óg, as a G.A.A. player, and Eileen as a primary school teacher.

Julie Goo,

Munster Slam Champion, Writer, Singer, D.J. and Primary School Teacher

and next year we will be celebrating Marriage Equality!


Dil Wickremasinghe - social justice and mental health Broadcaster of Global Village, Newstalk 106-108 FM, Saturday 7-9pm and Co-Founder of Insight Matters – Inspiring change in self and society through personal development, psychotherapy and counselling. I will never forget that day as long as I live! It was like Ireland took me under her wing and said “never mind the past, you are here now and we like you just the way you are!”

Celebrating my hero – - Izzy Kamikaze Since 2006, I’ve been fortunate to work in Irish media as a Journalist and Broadcaster for Newstalk 106-108. Many often make the assumption that being vocal comes naturally to me. That was not always the case as there were times in my life I had no voice and lived in the margins and constantly felt like I was the “other”. I was born into a family in crisis and my parents separated when I was 12. I became a victim of sexual abuse. I failed my Junior Cert, I got expelled from school and then at the age of 16 I realised I was a lesbian and just when I needed my parents the most, they called me an abomination and kicked me out of the family home. I hit rock bottom at 17; I had no education, no family support… I was homeless.

Twitter: Email: Websites:

I was 19 when a girl I was dating introduced me to the world of radio and I knew immediately this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Sadly this was short lived because within a year I was fired when my boss found out I was gay! I emigrated at the age of 21, a decision that ultimately saved my life. I ran as far as my legs could carry me. At the age of 25, in June 2000, I moved to Dublin with no idea what I was going to do. Quite serendipitously my arrival coincided with Dublin Pride and within 24 hours of stepping foot on Irish soil I found myself marching and dancing down O’Connoll street singing “It’s Raining Men!” The irony! For the first time in my life I didn’t feel alone.

One person made a huge impression on me that day and that was none other than Izzy Kamikaze. She was one of the founding members of Dublin Pride and was one of the speakers at the Civic Offices. The moment she stepped up on to the stage in her black T-shirt, black jeans and black Doc Martins I was captivated! I remember thinking; “finally there’s a fiery, vocal, social justice-loving lesbian I can identify with!” Up until Izzy spoke all the speakers had been mainly male and either drag artists or entertainers so it didn’t take much for Izzy to stand out as a beacon of political activism and courage! Role models like Izzy Kamikazi are essential in our community to inspire the next generation of activists. She inspired me to find my voice and speak up not only for myself but also for those who have yet to find their voice.

@dilw dil@dilw.ie www.insightmatters.ie / www.dilw.ie 13

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Ted O Connell is a native of Cork and is very proud of his native city. He is dad to Megan and Robyn, the two most important women in his life! He and his partner Joe are Cork Pride Committee members which occupies most of their free time during the summer. Ted is also a committee member of Fine Gael LGBT. He is probably best known as proprietor of Loafers, Ireland’s oldest running gay bar.

Our Place in History When we think about heroes there are many people who come to mind. Throughout history there have been numerous people whose actions, teachings and thoughts have made them stand out as exceptional. Internationally, names such as Gandhi, Mandela, Churchill, Luther-King and Kennedy are obvious choices. Millions of unnamed heroes have died on battle fields fighting to protect freedom and liberty. Here at home the obvious choices are of course Tone, O’ Connell, Parnell, Collins and of course the heroes of the 1916 Rising. I highlight just a few and have, no doubt, omitted some glaring examples but I’m sure you get the point. The American author and actress Maya Angelou, who died recently, said that;

“A hero is any person really intent on making this world a better place for all people.” Of course I agree with this but I would take it a step further and say that a hero is also a person who has the courage to overcome adversity and strive for truth. It is in this respect that all of us in the LGBT community are truly heroic, as are 18

our friends and family who have supported us in our ‘coming out’. We have all challenged societies ‘norms’ in order to be true to ourselves and to our community. For most, that experience has been a struggle. For most, it has required a great deal of courage. Sadly, there is still too many who struggle in silence. Across the world right now there appears to be a growing divergence between countries that are increasingly progressive in regard to LGBT human rights on the one hand, and countries that are actively and openly hostile to their LGBT citizens. In extreme cases imprisonment and even death, face people who have been found ‘guilty’ of homosexual acts. Clearly, LGBT individuals in these countries, who are open about their sexuality, are very brave indeed. This year’s Cork LGBT Festival hopes to reach out to people in these countries and show solidarity with them by openly flaunting flags of these oppressive regimes. These flags will feature in the pre-festival publicity and in the parade itself.

But now back to matters closer to home. We, all of us, have an opportunity to be heroes once again. The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, recently announced that the referendum on Marriage Equality will take place in the Spring of 2015, thus confounding some people that thought it was going to be put on the long finger. It is historic that all parties in the Oireachtas are supporting the referendum so you might well think that it is going to be a bit of a cake walk. That, my friends, will be the rock we perish on. Despite opinion-poles indicating widespread support for Marriage Equality, do not underestimate the power and strength of the antiequality lobby once it is mobilised. We saw a small sample of what to expect during the recent People’s Debate with Vincent Browne on TV3. Terms like ‘if you’re not sure, VOTE No’ will gain strength and traction.

So how can we be heroes in this referendum campaign and help send out a message to the world that Ireland stands for inclusiveness and equality?

Firstly, the only way to win over the minds of those who have reservations about marriage equality is to engage in reasoned debate and discussion. You have to be very clear in your own mind why equality is important to you as an individual and for our society as a whole. You will never persuade an opponent of your argument by shouting them down or indeed putting them down. Some people have genuine concerns according to their own conscience and they are fully entitled to do so. That does not necessarily mean they are homophobic. Secondly, start discussions among yourselves, your friends and your families, gay and straight. Please try and avoid terms like Gay Marriage because that can be counterproductive. This referendum is about equality of esteem for all our

citizens. Some people will no doubt put up the argument that ‘sure don’t ye have civil partnership’. Well many people don’t know that there are 100 differences in law between marriage and civil partnership. Thirdly, and this is pretty fundamental, make sure you vote! The sad fact is that many of you reading this are not yet on the electoral register. It is very simple, but it does take a bit of effort. Registration forms are available from most civic offices; City Hall, County Hall. The form then needs to be filled out and signed and stamped by a Garda. The form is then returned to the civic office. And that’s it, you are registered for life. It you are already registered but have changed address, there is a relevant form from the same office. And while you’re at it, make sure your friends are registered too.

Finally, I started off talking about heroes, heroes who changed the world. This referendum really is to make a huge difference to the world we live in, here in Ireland. It will be a struggle; it will take effort on your part. But think of how proud you will be on the day of the vote when you reflect on the part you played in its success.

Thank you for reading heroes!



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Join us on Wednesday July 30th, 7pm for a convivial night of contemporary short films at The Crane Lane. IndieCork festival is a new festival of independent film, music and media. We are delighted to be involved for a second year with Cork Pride, a partner festival.

IndieCork takes place October 12th to 19th 2014, and is Ireland’s only shareholder owned arts festival in Ireland. Cinema that engages with social, political and cultural matters is central to IndieCork, as is the most interesting of independent film and music. IndieCork celebrates the vibrancy of the filmmaking sector and emerging talent. Independent production in the food and craft brewing arenas flows nicely into our interest in all things independent – expect a very special event that brings these pleasures together!

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Conor Cusack (34), native of Cloyne who played Senior Inter County Hurling with Cork and continues to compete and hurl with his club Cloyne. Since speaking openly of his own experiences with depression and being open about his sexuality, he has become a mental health and emotional wellbeing ambassador for the GPA and Cycle Against Suicide and member of the GAA’s new National Health and Wellbeing Committee. Invited to speak at events around Ireland, Europe and America, he continues to spread his message of hope for those that experience difficulties with their mental health and emotional wellbeing

‘Coming ‘Home’ To The Truth of Your Real Self’ When Isaac Newton was trying to discover the mystery of white light, one can only imagine the wonder and excitement he experienced when he placed a prism in it’s path that revealed the vast spectrum of colours contained within. Previously thought of as being an entity of it’s own, he discovered the essence of light was the amalgamation of several different colours. We don’t need a prism to recreate this amazing experience today, nature takes care of it in her own mystical way. Each rainbow is a glimpse into the realm of the invisible world that surrounds us as daylight hits a water droplet to display the secret parquet of colours that dwell within light. Gazing at a rainbow captures the heart and fires the imagination as we amaze at its beauty, wonder and elusiveness.


White light is a powerful symbol within the human species, especially for those whom are members of the Catholic Church. People whom have near death experiences often recall seeing a ‘white light’. Jesus is often represented in paintings and other images with his body luminous from a white light emanating from within. One of the central moments in Christian teachings is the transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor where he begins to shine with white light and become radiant upon the mountain. The teachings describe this as the pivotal point at which human nature meets God. White light doesn’t show favour to any one spectrum of colour over the other. It doesn’t discriminate between the richness of its red or the vibrancy of its yellow. It values and appreciates equally all the different constituents contained within its structure for it knows that without any one of these, it ceases to exist in its purest form and can’t fulfil its duty to bring to life and to view all the majesty and splendour that pertains in this planet we call Earth.

Is there a powerful message contained within the purity of white light and the magnificence of a rainbow for us as human beings. Are they enlightening and informing us that unless we as a species begin to treat equally and without discrimination the vast spectrum of human beings that exist within our planet, beings with different personalities and characteristics to their existence, people of diverse religious faiths, people of no faith, people with different coloured skin, people whose relationships involve members of the opposite sex, same sex or no sex, that unless we can begin to fully understand and cherish our differences and uniqueness as individuals and celebrate and embrace the myriad of common desires that we all share, primary among them to love and be loved, that until that day arrives, then we can never as a species reach the pivotal point at which human nature and human beings can merge their independent spectrums of light and stand out in their own true radiance, dwelling within that flowing beauty of pure white light and achieve fully our boundless potential as spiritual beings.

Whether Jesus Christ was the son of God or just an incredibly evolved human being is a discussion for another day but his constant message throughout his life was ‘to love your neighbour, as yourself ’. Sadly, in the church, they conveniently forgot to teach and affirm the last part of his original message, to love ourselves. It was wise of them to do that because the person that is in love with themselves, not in a narcissistic way where they believe the world revolves around them but in a way that they come in to an awareness of their own innate worth and immense value as a human being, independent of anything they may have achieved or not achieved in their life and the opinions and judgements of others, will not allow themselves to be controlled or dictated to by any religion or organisation. There is nothing more powerful or with a greater capacity for freedom in this world than the human self and this self always wants to be free to live its own life and express all of its vast expansiveness, it’s emotional self, social self, intellectual self, physical self and sexual self to name but a few. For those people whose sexual expression encompasses the loving of a member of the same gender, it can be a difficult and challenging journey before you arrive at a point where you can find joy in your sexuality and fully embrace and live this aspect of your life. Depression forced me on a pilgrimage of exploration through the deep valleys, high mountains and forests of the unknown of my interior life, a journey that continues to this day and will until my last breadth is taken. I’ve come to appreciate and befriend the beautiful complexity of my inner world and realise that the journey and navigating of life is a

path through many forests of the unknown but that hidden within the silent depths of these sacred places are many of the answers I seek to the deeper questions of my life. As I began to emerge from the darkest periods of my depression, an experience that lasted from my early teens through to my mid twenties, and began to come into harmony with my own voice and more solid in my own sense of self, the old cages that had confined me to an un-lived life began to dissolve and new frontiers of possibility and invitations for growth re-awakened within my soul. One of those invitations was in relation to my sexuality. The task of true knowing takes time and is challenging but once a glimpse of your real and authentic self is experienced, once you come to see the defences you have built and the limitations you have accepted in your life to prevent further inner, silent wounds, you realise you will never again be truly satisfied with your old way of being, the emptiness of false living so that those around you will not be upset.

One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice-though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles. “Mend my life!” each voice cried. But you didn’t stop. You knew what you had to do, though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations, though their melancholy was terrible. It was already late enough, and a wild night, and the road full of fallen branches and stones. But little by little,

‘This above all’, says Shakespeare in Hamlet, ‘to thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night, the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man’.

as you left their voices behind,

It’s at this moment that the support of others becomes crucial because being real in what in many ways is an unreal world can be a terrifying experience. At this vulnerable time, a person may only require the presence and kindness and love of a friend to enable them to summon their courage and do whatever it is they have to do.

which you slowly

When I reached this point in my life, I often read the poem by Mary Oliver called ‘The Journey’

the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds, and there was a new voice recognized as your own, that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do-determined to save the only life you could save. 23

Expressing an attraction to a member of the same gender is not ‘coming out’ of the closet, it’s about be-coming true to your own self, answering your sacred and precious self ’s silent whispering and call from deep within, re-aligning your inner and outer worlds to the tune and rhythm and beat of your own drum and returning home to the sanctuary and dignity of your soul where the silence and stillness of an empty church sit side by side with the energy and fire of a rampant volcano. In Ireland, there may not be groups attending events waving banners opposing homosexuality, there may not be gangs stalking the streets and hunting down people attracted to members of the same sex and torturing or killing them like there are in other parts of the world but in definite, subtle ways, there are subliminal messages lingering in the atmosphere of our society and are absorbed and seep into the minds and actions of individuals that being in the minority in terms of the expression of your sexuality means you are somehow ‘less than’ as a human being. The words used by our young people in schools and coaches of sports teams to describe a boy or man as weak, the stereotyping in public forums of what it is to be a ‘gay’ man, Section 37 of the Employment Equality Act which ensures legalised discrimination against people labelled transgender, bisexual, lesbian and gay in the education and healthcare sectors, the inequality under the law for those whom choose to marry, all in their own explicit way combine to espouse and maybe unintentionally, certainly encourage and give fuel to the continued ‘less than’ message. Nearly all of these actions find their sources in the echoes of previous generations where the shackling and repression of the human spirit and self was enforced and liberation and the championing of the uniqueness and differences of each individual was denied.


Sadly, for some individuals that continue to promote this message, they have failed to emerge from their shells of antiquity, continuing to live the life of others, their voices not their own but belonging to an era long gone. ‘Truth alone will endure’ says Gandhi, ‘all the rest will be washed away before the tide of time’.

In Ireland, the saying goes ‘It takes a community to raise a child’ so in various ways, we all carry a portion of shame for the fact that some people within our society feel they have to end their precious life because of whom they choose to love.

Tide and time waits for no man and despite the efforts of some to cling to the past, the truth of ‘all men being created equal’ will always endure. For some, the discovery that they are attracted to a member of the same sex can be a tortuous experience. Maya Angelou once said ‘There is no greater agony than the bearing of an untold story within you’. There is a certain joy in remaining hidden but it is a terrible tragedy if the real you can never be found. For many reasons and ones which are unique to each individual, some people have to de-press their attraction to a fellow man or woman and live lives of quiet desperation, silent misery and dark depression. The agony of their untold stories is carried to their graves, either through natural death or the ending of their lives through suicide. No human being emerges from their mother’s womb feeling fearful and anxious about themselves, feeling frightened about being true to themselves, feeling ‘less than’ as a human being, feeling they have to hide their love. Its society that creates the culture and atmosphere that makes people feel like that and society is only ever a collection of individuals.

The theme of Cork Pride in 2014 is about celebrating heroes. If the word hero encompasses the fact that behind the veil of each human being and hero is the reality that each carries his own flaws and shadows within the beautiful complexity of their interior world, that no human being or hero is ever a finished thing, that because of the vast expansiveness and boundless depth within their souls, we can only ever glimpse or know about a small portion of their life story, then we have many heroes in our midst, some well known public figures and others whose actions and deeds may never garner the headlines but whom touch people’s lives in profound and meaningful ways. David Norris proved to be a beacon of light in a very dark Ireland for many in years gone by and he has passed the torch he carried with such Olympic endeavour in to the capable hands of Jerry Buttimer and John Lyons whose proud voices ring true and loud around the hallowed

halls of power in Dail Eireann. Ruairi Quinn and Alan Shatter, with support from the Fine Gael and Labour parties have furthered the cause of the minority during their terms in office. Eileen Gamble bravely continues to highlight the plight of teachers whom can still lose their jobs because of whom they choose to love and Colm O’Gorman’s reasoned and measured points of view during many a debate in his pursuit of equality for married couples stirs the heart with joy. Rory O’Neill through the power and eloquence of his voice and the force and magic of his personality inspires all whom hear or watch him. The many organisations like The Other Place in Cork, GLEN and Belongto continue to be sanctuaries of support and shelters of love, kindness and hope for many people where they can discover their own courage to be true to themselves. Donal Og is a trailblazer for sportsmen the world over and the warm acceptance from his fellow players and the watershed speech from Dublin footballer Ger Brennan from the steps of the Hogan Stand in Croke Park where he thanked the players girlfriends and boyfriends, sends out a potent message to all people in our society from the most powerful sporting organisation in the country that it’s ok to be gay and certainly ok to be gay in the GAA.

All of these and many more continue to be rainbows in the cloud of discrimination, violence, inequality and intolerance that still engulf our country and world towards individuals in society.

When the artist Gilbert Baker designed the colours for the flag to represent ‘Pride’ back in 1978, he chose well. As discovered by Newton, the colours of the rainbow, fashioned from the forces of nature deep in the universe, combine to produce the brilliant white light that brings life and beauty to all things on our planet. We too have come from the stars and the white light, the oxygen we breathe, the carbon in our muscles, the calcium in our bones, the iron in our blood, all of them were forged from the fiery hearts of long vanished stars. We are pilgrims on a voyage through an earthly plane, spiritual beings whom have stopped off on our cosmic journey to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share.

The prism of life has split us all into different colours and forms but the rainbow and white light teaches us that none are more important or more equal than the other. Somewhere, deep in the caverns of our being, is the memory that we all come from the same source of white light, hetero or homosexual, Christian or Buddhist, male and female, Catholic or Protestant. Our quest surely is to remember and live out that truth during our time on Earth. There is a hunger and deep desire within every human heart that propels us to want to return home to the light of our real selves. If we can, if we can reach the point where all spectrums of our people are valued equally and combine our beautiful complexities of colours together, the white light of truth and love will not only exist in the heavans but will radiate out on this Earth for all of us to bask and dwell in. The ‘Pride’ march is not just a march to represent individuals whom are labelled gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. It’s a march to represent all of humanity and its continued pursuit of equality and harmony for all. I wish you all well on our continued journey together, home to the pure white light and beauty of our real selves.

“The ‘Pride’ march is not just a march to represent individuals whom are labelled gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. It’s a march to represent all of humanity and its continued pursuit of equality and harmony for all.”





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The Gay Cork Camera Club started life in September 2012 on GayCork.com with the sole purpose to teach it’s members how to use their camera to shoot and compose photographs and of course to meet like minded friends along the way.

Slowly things developed & interest grew. As with most groups or clubs, it started as a random gathering of people who had an interest in photography, ranging from beginners who were just dipping their toes to amateurs who were more confident with their camera. The club has grown from strength to strength and now comprises an increased membership with a wide range of abilities, ranging from beginner and amateur to semi-pro & professional. Some of our members have even gone so far as to establish their own photographic businesses.

Peter O’Toole

“Every year I try and push my photography more and more by setting myself small little goals. In 2013 I started selling my photographs online and have had considerable success with it. Earlier this year I sold one of my photos to Samsung for their Galaxy S5 phone adverts. As the photos were on sale online and I don’t see who buys my photos I didn’t know anything about it, until I saw the ad and you can imagine the joy and pride I felt in having achieved something like that. Also in 2013 I started Scene in Cork (www.facebook.com/sceneincork) which is all about capturing the community out and about having a good time. I have no idea what awaits me in 2014/15 but either way I am loving what I do and that’s the main thing. If you want to see more of what I do, check out www.meowcreative.me”

For the first year we used to meet up every Saturday at 2pm in the Other Place Café on South Main Street but this year we have been alot more flexible with the times and days we meet and choosing to meet when works best. This has allowed us to meet up when the weather suited us or for a particular event that might be happening that we wanted to shoot. It’s best to check out our Facebook page for information on the meetings (www.facebook.com/GayCorkCameraClub). The structure of the meetings are very simple. We generally give lessons in the usual camera aspects such as shutter speed, aperture and ISO followed by a group outing where we can put the newly found knowledge to use. This gives the members the chance to practice what they have just learnt and ask any questions if something isn’t clear. We try and plan to go on road trips as often as we can and so far we have been to too many places to list but the highlights were Roaches Point at dawn, shooting the sun rise behind the lighthouse, Garryvoe shooting star trails in front of a camp fire, Fota Wildlife Park shooting tigers and Cork Zombie Walk shooting none other than flesh eating zombies. We also shoot Cork Pride Parade on an annual basis before we put the cameras down and finish the night in Loafers.

Shandon Bells - Peter O’Toole

Tim Caisley

“For me, the Camera Club has given me the confidence to take the risk and set up my own business, predominately focusing on portraiture and it has also given me the abilities to do the promo shots for Ms. Gay Cork’14 & contribute to charity events such as Help Portrait, as well as sponsoring prizes for a couple of events as well.”

Some of our members and founders share their experiences with the club so far below. Have a read and see for yourself how they find the club. If you like what you’re reading, why not come along for a meeting? Drop us a message on Facebook and we can tell you the time and place.

Tiger in Fota - Diane Jefferies 28

Ms Gay Cork ‘14 - Tim Caisley

Diane Jefferies

“I joined the camera club last year as I have a huge passion for photography but I had still a lot to learn. Joining the club has taught me stuff that I didn’t know was possible. I actually thought there was a special app or software I needed for this. With the help of the club it has helped my confidence loads and I get asked to do lots of shoots as a result in the scene such as Funk N’Something, Chambers, Loafers, Pride etc. I even had my photos used in posters for advertising for up and coming events. I get alot of work now outside of the scene also. I am thankful for the Gay Cork Camera Club for teaching me, giving me confidence and the experience I needed.”

Teresa Flynn

Denis O’Brien

“I have always loved taking photographs. Every family event, every time I travel, I’m the one behind the camera. I was in the Other Place Cafe one afternoon and saw on the notice board that there was a gay camera club in Cork. I joined to learn about taking pictures and to meet new people. It’s great so far, even if I’m not always around for the meetings. I’m a complete novice, but love listening to the more expert members of the group discuss various techniques and pieces of equipment I’d never heard of. It’s good too to be able to critically look at a photograph I have taken, so it can be even better next time. I enjoy it. You might too.”

Amandine Duroy

“I really enjoyed the camera club, “As I am new in this camera learning new tricks and settings that world, I was looking for I never knew about. I It was great to a camera club to help me meet new people also. Road trips understand my Canon EOS to shoot scenery was always fun. Vietnam, looking onto the South China Sea - Denis O’Brien and use it properly. I don’t Without the club I would just have want to be the kind of person been a point and shoot photographer so my images probably that has a wonderful device and just press the button. In this would not have been a good standard. I love photography as a group everybody is friendly and ready to help. I am learning hobby and having the club is an extra bonus. I look forward to each features, tools, I have got feedback when I need it and the year ahead. Peter is a great teacher and has great patience”. really good advice for example when I want new a accessory for my camera”.

Hi, My name is Brian and I bake cakes! The majority of my recipes are French inspired as that’s where I’m from, and where the best food in the world is from. No offence, Stew-land! My recipes have been featured on my Tumblr blog Brian Bakes Cakes and on the Insert Title Magazine.

Now this recipe has to be the easiest you have ever seen! “But it is not a summer cake”, I hear? Tough! Cake has no season! I’ll probably give you a summery fruit tart recipe for Christmas… Also, all of my cakes are egg-free, hence they are a bit different, because different is good and less boring! My partner not being able to eat eggs but loving cake, I have had to become creative and come up with recipes of ordinary cakes and make them extra-ordinary! What wouldn’t I do for love! Preparation: 15 minutes Cooking: 30 minutes Level: Very Easy Price: Cheap Ingredients: 2 cups All-purpose Flour 2 cups White Sugar ¾ cup Cocoa Powder 1 tsp Baking Powder 1 tsp of Salt 1 Cup of Water 1 Cup of Vegetable oil 1 tsp Vanilla Extract 200g of Chocolate chips (optional) ½ cup of Walnuts (optional) So here are the directions! You’ll see they are super easy! 1. First preheat the oven to 175 degrees. Open the windows cause it’s about to get hot in here. 2. Turn on Al Green “Lean on me” and warm up some milk. This is a perfect comfort food to also watch in front of Love Actually with a bit of vanilla ice cream. 3. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Pour in water, vegetable oil and vanilla; mix until well blended. Add the chocolate chips and /or the walnuts if desired. Spread the mixture evenly in a baking pan. Round, square, triangular, it does not really matter as long as it is ovenproof. 4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until the top is no longer shiny. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into squares. 5. Dunk into your warm milk. Slurp it, drool and wipe your chin with your sleeve. 30

See that was a very easy recipe! Not much more to add or say about this one apart from the fact that I’d love to hear what recipe was your favourite and which one you have tried baking yourself! Go to my Tumblr or InsertTitle.ie and let us know! Have you even got a photo to show us? Send it to contribute@inserttitle.ie.

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Mindfulness for Mental and Physical Wellbeing

Mindfulness is a mind-body based approach that helps people to change the way they think and feel about their experiences, especially stressful experiences. Mindfulness has been a Buddhist practice for more than 2,500 years but you do not have to be Buddhist to practice mindfulness. It is, simply put, bringing awareness to present moment experiences using techniques like meditation, breathing and yoga. Practicing mindfulness regularly can help us to become more aware of our thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations so that we are not easily overwhelmed by them. Mindfulness has never been more relevant as a means of calming our body and mind so that we can touch peace, joy and happiness with a noticeable and positive impact on our mental and physical well-being. The Buddha said that ‘the secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.’ Therefore, Mindfulness offers us a gentle way of coming home to the present moment so that we can encounter life, cultivating freshness, solidity, spaciousness and clarity of mind. Buddhist Teacher and Psychotherapist, Tara Brach has developed the helpful acronym of R.A.I.N. which helps us to decondition the habitual ways in which we resist our moment-to-moment experiences by: Recognizing what is happening, Allowing life to be just as it is, Investigate our inner experience with kindness and rest in the freedom of Non-Identification. This is the practice of mindfulness. 40

Mindfulness can be practiced in the comfort of your home, during a walk or on your lunch break. The most important thing is to enjoy the practice taking this essential time to be with yourself. You can begin by sitting upright in a comfortable position, your back straight, your body relaxed and begin by bringing attention to your breath. Experience the gentle rise and fall of your abdomen as you breath-in and breath-out. Breathe in and out for a few breaths, placing your hand on your abdomen if there is some anxiety present in you and allow this breath to be there naturally, not controlling it in any way, following the breath as it flows in and out of your body. Rest with this experience.

In Buddhism, the first foundation of mindfulness is of the body which you can experience through the breath. Often we are totally unaware that we are breathing, every moment, being sustained by this life-force. Maintaining an awareness of our breath brings our busy mind back to our body which is anchored here in the present moment. As we continue to practice, our breath becomes deeper so that we can begin to be fully alive in our body.

The second foundation of mindfulness is feelings - that of body sensations and emotions. So as we practice, we allow emotions to come up, anything from fear, anger, joy, happiness or love… as these emotions become alive in us we simply come back to our breathing and observe the emotions without making a judgement call. We allow the feelings to be there and to come and go. If we have a particularly strong feeling that arises more frequently, instead of the tendency to ignore or suppress, we practice observing the feeling with our full awareness, breathing-in and out, acknowledging how we are in the moment and then allowing the feeling to dissipate, bringing our attention back to how we are in our body. The third foundation of mindfulness is that of mind states. Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh often states that ‘our body may be here but our mind can be elsewhere.’ The practice of mindfulness is a practice of bringing the mind back to the body so that we are fully ourselves. When we are not truly present, our mind can go in many directions, so mindfulness is needed to return us to a natural state of rest, where we are calmer and we see things more clearly. Mindfulness teaches us not to label our experiences but rather observe them as they are without judgement.

The fourth foundation of mindfulness brings us to the awareness of things as they are. This helps us to see mental objects as we label them. We can practice returning to our breathing and allow our awareness to sink deeply into the present moment. Holding a flower as the object of our mindfulness, we can look and see that all of the components to make this flower beautiful are here in the present moment. ‘Breathing-in, I enjoy this beautiful flower. Breathing out, I feel very happy.’ The practice of dwelling in the present moment allows us to generate the energy of mindfulness, allowing happiness in us to bloom like a beautiful

flower, right here and now. Next, we can look deeply into the flower and see the beautiful blue sky, the rain and the sunshine that worked together to manifest this flower for us to enjoy. ‘Breathing-in, I see the sunshine in the flower. Breathing out, I feel very happy.’ In this way, we practice seeing the inter-being of things. We see very clearly that nothing can exist by itself alone and practicing like this we can touch the beauty of life all around us - seeing so many conditions that can nurture our own happiness. So the invitation, whether you do mindfulness by yourself or with other people in a class is to touch the present moment deeply so that you are fully alive with whatever is going on. Thich Nhat Hanh says that ‘When you love someone, the best thing you can offer him/her is your presence. How can you love if you are not there?’ So my friends

the invitation is simply to be, fully yourself, firmly rooted in your body, capable of generating a lot of happiness in the present moment by touching peace, joy and happiness in you, moment by moment. I can’t think of a better way to be happy and more fully alive!

Steven O’ Riordan is a practising Buddhist, Mindfulness Facilitator and Life Coach based in Cork City. He offers mindfulness classes and workshops throughout the year inspired by the teachings of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. See: http://www.UnravellingSelf.com for further information.

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CHORAL CON FUSION CORK’S LGBTS INCLUSIVE CHOIR In September 2014 Choral Con Fusion - Cork’s LGBTS Choir will kick off it’s 4th season, which is building up to be it’s biggest yet and that is saying something. In the last 12 months alone Choral Con Fusion has performed in The National Concert Hall, Cork City Hall, St. Anne’s Shandon and The Choral Scrum with two choirs from the US amongst other showcase

performances as well as a sell out gala Christmas Evening at The Triskel. Things are literally going from strength to strength for our little inclusive choir that has grown from very humble beginnings. Three years ago, musical director Joanne Murphy and group co-ordinator Clive Davis decided to set up a small choir, as a musical and social

outlet for members of the LGBT community. The group started with 6 members, then grew to eight and then 12 and is now over 30 members strong. The welcoming and inclusive ethos of the group has led to many members of the straight community joining in the fun too and Choral Con fusion has become one of the world’s first choir groups identifying as LGBTS.

Over the summer we take a break from the musical madness to regroup and plan the forthcoming season. Of course the break is well earned. In June we hosted two of the world’s biggest LGBT choirs in Chambers. One Voice from Minnesota and OurSong from Atlanta joined Choral Con Fusion on the steps of Cork’s Courthouse for a flashmob performance that literally had people falling off their bikes to get a look. Then we all hoofed it into Chambers bar and continued the evening of choral shenanigans to a packed crowd. It was a fabulous way to round off what was an eventful year for us. While we are a choir, our music is very varied. We have sung everything from Radiohead to Oh Holy Night and from Eric Whitacre to The Turtles right through to funky medieval madrigals with a naughty undertone – always good for a giggle. “It’s not just about the music though” says Clive. “After rehearsals we usually head to a nearby bar for a drink or four. Choral Con Fusion is at its’ heart a social group and a great way to meet like-minded people and make new friends”

Planning for the forthcoming season has begun in earnest behind the scenes and the call is out for new singers. As a group we are always welcoming new members and the best times to join are in September or in January, right after the Christmas break. I asked some of the gang why they joined Choral Con Fusion and what it means to them to be part of the group.

Sean Casey told me ….”I joined because I had left my previous choir in Cobh. A friend of mine told me about Choral Con Fusion and as it happens we both decided to join together. We were made to feel instantly welcome and part of the group. I am a member for 2 years now and have made some great friends as well as great music along the way” Tara Ni Dhonnabhain’s reason for joining was slightly more practical ….”I joined because Joanne came into the staff room one morning and said please, please, please we need more women. I’m so glad she did”

Personally, I joined because I wanted to meet people in an open, friendly environment. It’s tricky enough to make new friends when you are in you late thirties and Choral Con Fusion seemed like the perfect fit – music and mates! So there you have it. Unconditional proof that joining Choral Con Fusion is your destiny and seeing as it is your destiny then sure shouldn’t you follow it? Of course you should. Rehearsals run each Wednesday evening at The Other Place on South Main Street and are always followed by a social drink nearby. Sure what else would you be doing of a Wednesday evening I hear you ask?

For more information contact choir@theotherplacecork.com or find us on Facebook. Choral Con Fusion – Cork’s LGBTS Inclusive Choir, come join us …. The more the merrier!


I could write so much more about the meds and the effect taking them can have on your life, but I want to write about the stigma that still surrounds HIV in the year 2014.

LIVING WITH HIV My name is Will, I am a 57 year old gay man and I was diagnosed with HIV on November the 5th 2007.

I will never forget that date, it was the day my life changed. Getting tested was something I did routinely once a year for my own peace of mind. I got tested every March but in 2007 I waited until November, as I had a fair idea the test would be positive. You might ask why I was so sure of the result, well I had been seeing a guy since Christmas 2006 and as the relationship was going really well we decided to get tested and if we were both negative we would stop using condoms.

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I knew we should have gone for the test together but he was living in Dublin and I was in Cork so we got tested separately. I knew this was a mistake as at the time I was working as a volunteer for a gay man’s health group and we always told people they should get tested together. But love is blind and I trusted the guy, this was a mistake as he did not get tested, but told me he had and the result was negative. But to this day I don’t really blame him, I believe we are all responsible for our own sexual health and he did not force me to not use condoms, I knew the risk I was taking. This article is supposed to be about living with HIV, but the first thing people always ask me is how I got it. So I thought I would get that one out of the way. One of the things I hear people say is that HIV is no longer a death sentence and the medications are really great and easy to take. While it is no longer a death sentence no one talks about the side effects that come with taking the meds and the increased risks of getting other illnesses like certain types of cancer and peripheral neuropathy. I mention these as I have been unfortunate enough to get both. HIV is a lifelong chronic illness with a lot of complications. I am not out to scare people but I do want them to be aware that dealing with HIV is not as simple as taking one pill a day. The drugs used to treat HIV are very powerful and even the single pill is a combination of three of these drugs. So the best way to avoid having to deal with all of this is to always practice safe sex.


I feel that a lot of people still view HIV the way they did back in the eighties when the world first became aware of it. Not just the man on the street but to my utter surprise I have come across people in the medical profession who should know better. As this article is about myself I can only talk my own experience. A good place to start is to talk about the different way I was treated when I was told I was positive and when I was told I had cancer. The HIV doctor said I should keep the news of my HIV to myself, or to put it in her own words “I didn’t have to become the poster for HIV”. I did not have to tell my job, family or anyone else. Even though this was said with the best of intensions it made me feel worse than I was already feeling at the time. To be honest I felt like a leper, was this thing so bad that I could tell no one. It couldn’t have been different when I was told I had cancer, was there anyone they could ring for me family, a friend, you don’t have to go through this yourself. I hope you can see what I am trying to convey here I was made to feel that HIV was something I should be ashamed of and I needed to keep it to myself. I want to stress that this was how I felt others may have felt different, I can only write about my experience. I feel the main problem around stigma is lack of knowledge, you never see ads on TV, items on the news or any campaigns that would help people to know more about HIV or even to get tested. Compare this to cancer, you see it on TV, hear it on radio talk shows, this helps people not to be afraid to talk about their cancer. The same cannot be said for HIV, in fact people with HIV are scared and I don’t use that word lightly, that other people will find out that they are positive.

This fear can lead to HIV positive people feeling very isolated and lonely. I hope that by writing about it and talking in public I will help to do away with Stigma.

As a gay man I must talk about the gay community’s treatment of HIV positive people. Again I am talking mainly about my own experience but I have heard from a lot of gay men through my fight against stigma. The first thing you are asked when you say you are positive is how did you get it, when you say through sex you are judged straight away. You must be a slapper, slept around a lot and not cared about safe sex. They never think you might have been in a long term relationship and got it from your partner. I really think they forget HIV is a virus, an illness and it does not matter how you got it. All that matters now is that you have it and how you deal with it. My way is to be open and try to inform people so that they will have real knowledge. Armed with that knowledge they will not be afraid of HIV positive people and hopefully treat them as they would like to be treated themselves if they had it. It’s not all doom and gloom in fact since I found out I was positive I take real good care of myself.

I am in the gym 5 or 6 days a week, I eat healthily, I don’t smoke and I have not had a drink in twenty years.

At present I choose not to be sexually active as I find having to deal with disclosure to a potential sexual partner difficult. Anytime I did this I hated the way I was treated. At least I know my status and my meds have made my viral load undetectable, so having safe sex with me is much safer than having sex with someone who is unaware of their status. I really want to end this article on a positive note, “pun intended”. I am leading a full and happy life today, HIV positive since 2007, cancer in 2010, glad to say I am in remission but my life has totally changed since the day I was told I had HIV. I prefer to say I have HIV rather then I am HIV positive, I mean I don’t say I am cancer, I say I have cancer a small thing but I feel it’s an important thing. I think a major illness of any kind makes you stop and think about your life. I was an out gay man in the Irish army but left when I got cancer. I realized there is so much I want to do. One of these things is going back to college this September to do a BA in Religion and Philosophy, I also want to travel more there is so much of the world I want to see. These are just two things on my bucket list.

If this article helps just one person to realize that having HIV is nothing to be ashamed of, helps them to come out, as it were, about their status I would be more than happy. I am an out gay man who happens to have HIV and cancer but I am not at all concerned about people finding out about this. In fact I hope that my being open and honest about my HIV status will help raise awareness about the subject and help to bring about an end to the stigma people living with HIV have to face on an almost daily basis.

I feel it’s important to stress that having support, like Counselling, and someone to talk to has really helped me to come to terms with the HIV diagnosis. I firmly believe that anyone who is positive seeks support and help which is available as this will help them to lead a happy, productive life and not worry about the Stigma.

Monday 28th July When: 6.00pm Where: Cork City Hall What: Official Launch of Cork

Pride Festival 2014. Join us in Cork City Hall for the official launch of The Cork LGBT Pride Festival 2014, kindly hosted by Cork City Council. Refreshments served. All are welcome.


When: 8.00pm Where: The Imperial Hotel What: Cork Pride Political

Event: “How to Win a Referendum” Winning a referendum is always a challenge and is one which we LGBT people and our allies will face in 2015. As part of the Cork LGBT Pride Festival 2014, GLEN, in collaboration with The Cork Gay Project and LINC are delighted to host “How to win a referendum”. Join us and a panel of politicians and political experts for analysis and Q&A to talk about what we can do together to make that happen.

gayprojectcork ~

When: 9.00pm Where: Loafer’s What: Post Launch Gathering Start the week with a few social drinks after the official Pride Launch.


Tuesday 29th July When: 7.00pm Where: The Other Place What: Sexual Health & HIV

Awareness Join us in The Other Place, for an informal chat about your sexual health. Have you a question to be answered? Have you ever wondered ‘what if?’ Well then come along and chat to the professional who will be available to answer your questions. Remember this is not a subject you should be depending on google, to answer your questions......


When: 8.00pm Where: Loafer’s What: Pride Texas Hold’em Play for not only the pot but also a special Pride trophy. €20 to play, Optional €10 buy in / top up.

Wednesday 30th July When: 7.00pm Where: The Crane Lane What: IndieCork Short Film

Night Join us for a convivial night of contemporary short films at The Crane Lane. IndieCork festival is a new festival of independent film, music and media. We are delighted to be involved for the second year with Cork Pride - a partner festival.


When: 8.00pm Where: Imperial Hotel What: Come Out A discussion on Coming Out hosted by Kate Moynihan (LINC) and Dave Roche (Cork Gay Project) Vanessa Lacey (TENI)


When: 9.30pm Where: Loafer’s What: Bingo Tickety boo; 62 and all of your favorite numbers appear in this special Pride bingo with prizes guaranteed. Get here early if you would like a good seat!


When: 10.00pm Where: Chambers What: Chambers UV Party With Special Guest

Thursday 31st July When: 6.00pm Where: The Other Place What: Vegan Cookery My Goodness vegetarian restaurant presents a vegetarian/vegan cooking demonstration and nutrition workshop come join the “My Goodness” girls to make delicious sugar, dairy and gluten free treats that leave you looking and feeling amazing!


When: 7:30 PM Where: St Anne’s Shandon What: Remembrance Service The Rev. Brian O’Rourke and the Congregation of St Anne’s Shandon invite you to the Annual Pride Remembrance Service. This service gives an opportune time for us to remember family and friends during pride week. All are welcome. If you would like someone to be remembered during the service, please email stanneoffice@gmail.com. Refreshments will be served afterwards in the Parish Rooms. Who ever you are and wherever you are on your journey in faith you are welcome here.


When: 9.00pm Where: Loafer’s What: Pride Pool Competition

Open to all, play with your balls correctly and you’ll walk away with the illustrious Pride Pool Competition trophy. House rules and pricing applies.


Friday 1st August When: 6.30pm – 9.00pm Where: LINC, 11a White St. What: Cork Pride Official BBQ Cork Pride Official BBQ hosted by LINC. Come and celebrate Pride weekend with a barbie in LINC’s brand new garden. Bring your parents, your brothers, your sisters, your friends, all are welcome! No charge! Bring your own booze!


When: 8.00pm Where: The Savoy What: Miss Pride Pageant Think you have what it takes to be crowned Miss Pride Cork, we are delighted to be holding the Miss Pride Pageant here at the Savoy, Hosted by the one and only Veda Beaux Reves. With a Miss Pride Cocktail on arrival. With special guest judges, Davina Devine, Lucy Von Furr, Foxy P Cox & Guests. This will be followed by the Spectacular Club Night The Backdoor Club @10.30pm with DJ Angi & Special Guest TBA, Full Club Show, Performers, Laser & Light Show, and Vodka Guns Admission: €15, to both Miss Pride Pageant and The Backdoor Club, To enter Miss Pride contact Veda at Facebook.com/veda.beauxreves or on twitter using @ladyveda


When: 9.30pm Where: Loafer’s What: Live @ Loafers Shannon Murphy and Guest play live for your entertainment with resident DJ Sinead spinning the disks late into the night.


When: 10.00pm Where: Chambers What: Britains Got Talent Britains Got Talent Special Surprise Guest, Followed by DJ Jules


Saturday 2nd August When: 1.00pm Where: Fitzgerald’s Park, What: Mardyke walk ,Cork

Family Fair Day Novelty sports such as High Heel dash, Lipstick Relay, Handbag Discus plus lots more, Dog show hosted by Creedons Doggie Daycare. Cake Competition, Live Music, Food Fest and Much Much More


When: 8.00pm Where: Chambers What: The Divine Miss-M The Divine Miss-M makes her return to Cork for one night only


When: 9.00pm Where: Chambers What: Grenade

Cork’s very own girl band Grenade prefrom live.


When: 9.30pm Where: Loafer’s What: The Loafers UV Party With the one and only DJ Dermo on the decks, limited stock of complementary UV paint and glow sticks available on the night.


When: 10.00pm Where: Chambers What: Back to Back* 3 DJ’S swapping between both venues, DJ’S will play both venues, so you won’t miss your favourite DJ *Chambers opens 8pm & 2nd Venue (Chambers 2) opens 11pm (2nd Venue – (Chambers 2) is Next to Courthouse Bar, Hanover Street, just at the back of Chambers ) wristband in operation €10 entry, access both venues.

Sunday 3rd August When: 2.00pm Where: Grand Parade What: The 9th Cork Annual

Pride Parade Assembling at 2.00pm with kickoff at 3.00pm, this year’s parade will be lead by Newtalk’s Global Village presenter Dil Wickremasinghe and special guest to be announced. Our festival’s theme is “Celebrating Our Heroes” so show us who your Heroes are. There will be prizes for Best Dressed individual as well as Best Dressed Float. Wear what you dare and express yourself to be in with a chance to win.


When: 4.00pm Where: Chambers What: Variety Show

Sunday Continued.. When: 8.00pm Where: Chambers What: J90 J90, considered as Ireland’s favorite party band take to the stage at 8.00pm


When: 10.00pm Where: Chambers What: Back to Back* 3 DJ’S swapping between both venues, DJ’S will play both venues, so you won’t miss your favourite DJ *Chambers opens 8pm & 2nd Venue (Chambers 2) opens 11pm (2nd Venue – (Chambers 2) is Next to Courthouse Bar, Hanover Street, just at the back of Chambers ) wristband in operation €10 entry, access both venues.

Performance by Kitty & Fabula and the gang from Funk N’Something.


When: 5.00pm Where: Chambers What: Surprise Guest Drag Star


When: 5.00pm Where: Loafer’s What: Annual Post Parade BBQ As always Loafers, hosts the traditional post parade Free BBQ! Vegetarian burgers also DJs playing allday and late into the night.


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FAIR DAY Fitzgeralds Park, Mardyke Walk, Cork.

1pm Saturday Aug 2nd

Dog Show Hosted by Creedons Doggie Daycare

Novelty Sports, Dog Show, Cake Competition, Live Music, Food Fest, and Much Much More #CORKHEROES


Far Away Cows Have Long Horns So for the purpose of this piece I will choose a number of people closer to home that I look up to and without doubt are heroic figures to me. For the day that is in it, my first choice will be the amazing Dr Lydia Foy, Lydia being the extremely courageous person that took on the Irish government over 20 years ago and is still awaiting to be recognised. She raised this issue at a time when Transgender issues were certainly not talked about, at a time when Lesbian and Gay issues were only beginning to gain momentum and change attitudes in Ireland. I was asked by Clive to write a few words in regard to heroes, this is what he got. A couple of months ago I was delivering a training to SIPTU and I was posed a question similar to this one. Nelson Mandela actually got the most votes and rightly so, as he certainly comes to my mind as a person that has made such an enormous contribution to this world and specifically South Africa. I think that there are so many people throughout world history that are given hero status, many of them rightly so, others in my opinion are questionable. I mean recently in the World Cup we had the incident when a footballer carried out a particular vicious attack on another player, this footballer was seen by many as a role model, superstar, as someone to aspire to, especially for young people. Furthermore I feel it is a positive thing to have a figure/s that can motivate you to achieve good things in life and I am all for that. My point is, we do not need to go to the other side of the planet to find people to look up to, maybe it’s an Irish thing that we don’t feel that we are worthy of acclaim. 62

Lydia had to become a public figure and she was totally exposed, there was no Trans organisations to support her in her quest, in fact she had very little support and experienced much negativity.

Her personal life was exposed by the media on many an occasion and she was not portrayed in a positive light, but she never gave up, she knew that there was an injustice and Lydia never gave up and finally the Irish government backed down. For me I am honoured to call Lydia Foy a friend and for me I am so proud to have lived at the same time as such an inspirational figure in Irish history, especially LGBT history.

However I feel that she can be overlooked as we move into a new era, I hope on reflection that people within our communities realise what a heroic figure Dr Lydia Foy has been and how she has positively changed history. My next is a number of people or organisations, once again in Ireland. That of the amazing people that have given up there time to help LGBT people and their families for many years. In regard to Cork there is quite a few, in many respects they have put aside there own personal time, family time, work time and delve themselves into the world of LGBT with the one aim of making life a little better for the future of LGBT people and their families, I mean look around you, do you think all this is possible without their contribution and sacrifices? I certainly do not think so. All round Ireland we have had similar heroic people that have unselfishly given their time on this earth to advance the cause, for myself I thank you for the bottom of my heart, for in my case if my suicide call for help was not answered by one such person/ volunteer in a LGBT helpline then I may not have been writing this piece today, I may have been dead. Finally I will bring this closer to home. When I looked for help 8 years ago and when I was forsaken by many, there was 2 people that stood by me, without conditions (I actually told them in the River Lee Hotel, then Jury’s). Those 2 people suffered personally more than any due to my transition, those 2 remarkable people are my sons. As I watched them grow into young men, I appreciate everyday the support that they gave me, I love to be in their company and to hear the plans for their own futures. Those futures were being used by family to hurt me at that time 8 years ago, the negative predictions from family fell

flat I am glad to say. But this did not happen by chance, it is testimony to their bravery, to their spirit as human beings. I have such a warm feeling in my heart as I write this, my boys are my heroes, they are and always will be my inspirations. The world is in good hands when there is people like them who are in it, the future is bright. So for me, I don’t need to have idyllic figures in the USA, South Africa, UK, Mars or Jupiter, nor do I have to have them in the 1700s or 1942, although saying that I do appreciate the wonderful contribution that others have had on this planet. What I AM saying is that maybe when we look a little closer to ourselves we might see our own heroes and we might begin to appreciate them and the work that they do.

When this realisation is made your own life might light up when you make that realisation that you are living in the same generation, maybe even the same county and maybe in the same home as your own heroes. Far away cows sometimes have long horns but the ones at home actually give a shit about you.

Happy Pride, have a safe and fun day Vanessa

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In today’s day and age I doubt many people haven’t heard of the comic book superhero team X-Men, especially with the impact of the hugely successful movie franchise making characters such as Wolverine and Magneto household names around the world. But what if I asked you this? Did you know that these movies have parallels to the current gay rights struggles we face today? The on-going story arc within the X-Men universe (Comics, Movies & Television) is that of battling fear, hatred and persecution. Sound familiar? As an avid movie goer myself, the storyline within the X-Men franchise resonates so well with me as I can relate to the struggle these characters face just because they are different. Though the X-Men comic was initially created as an allegory for the civil rights movement of the 1960’s the creators of the movie franchise have clarified after many debates that the gay rights metaphors within the movies are in fact intentional. Screenwriter Zach Stentz took to twitter in the wake of such a debate to confirm that, yes indeed, the X-Men franchise is about gay rights. STentz wrote “Um, no offence, but you’re wrong. I helped write the movie, and can tell you the gay rights allegory stuff was all put in there on purpose. Joss Whedon designed the whole “Cure” storyline in the comic books specifically as a gay allegory, and Bryan Singer (Director of X-Men, X2 & X-Men: Days of Future Past) wove his own feelings of outsiderdom as a gay man into the movie series.” In fact some of the metaphors and allegories aren’t even subtle - like the scene in X2 where Iceman "comes out" to his parents and they ask him "Have you tried not being a mutant?" or in X-Men: First Class where Beast is outed as a mutant and says "You didn't ask, so I didn't tell." Then you have the less obvious. Both manifest in adolescence (in the first movie, the first time Rogue realizes she's a mutant is the first time she kisses a boy). Both are controversial social issues that lead to scare-mongering politicians talking about "saving the children". William Stryker, the villain from X2, represents homophobia: He sent his mutant son to Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters hoping it would "Pray Away the Powers" and that his son could be cured, but Xavier responds by pointing out that "mutation is not a disease," which again mirrors arguments about homosexuality. Sir Ian McKellan, an out and proud gay man since 1988, says he signed on to play the character of Magneto after director Bryan Singer pitched the plight of the mutants as an “allegory for the gay community”. He says “I was sold it by Bryan who said, ‘Mutants are like gays. They’re cast out by society for no good reason.” McKellen has also stated that “Marvel told me that the demographic for the readership of the comics is young blacks, young jews, and young gays. These are all young people who feel a little bit like mutants, so they sympathise with [the X-Men]”

Though the X-Men franchise as a whole is more or less that of action and adventure there is this underlying moral to its story, that of being proud of who you are and standing up for your rights. As Storm states in X-Men: The Last Stand “We live in an age of darkness: a world full of fear, hate and intolerance. But in every age, there are those who fight against it.” By Giles Reid 66

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