LGBT Groups Welcome Employment Protection For Gay Teachers


The Government yesterday passed through a report stage bill that will amend Section 37.1 of the Employment Equality Act.

The amendment will allow employees working in religious run organisations, such as schools and hospitals, to be open about their sexuality without fear of dismissal.
INTO LGBT Teachers’ Group welcome the amendment, saying that the change will have a hugely positive effect on teachers.

Speaking outside the Seanad, Chairperson of the INTO LGBT Teachers’ Group Anne Marie Lillis commented, “LGB teachers can be secure in the knowledge that speaking about our families and our relationships, in the same way as our colleagues and that being gay or lesbian will have no bearing on job security or on prospects for promotion. When signed into law this legislation will end the threat of discrimination in primary schools based on sexual orientation.”

Sheila Nunan General Secretary of the INTO added, “The INTO has always advocated for the equal treatment of our members and to remove the weight of discrimination being felt on the grounds of sexual orientation. These amendments will further that aim and ensure that the lives of our teaching colleagues significantly improve. It is a victory for all teachers in our classrooms throughout the country. This is the culmination of the hard work our members of the LGBT Teachers’ Group have done over many years”.

The Bill has to still pass the final stage before being introduced into law. The INTO LGBT Teachers’ Group acknowledged the work of Senator Ivana Bacik, Minister Aodhán O Ríordáin, Senator Averil Power and Senator Katherine Zappone who worked in progressing the Bill.


‘Boulevard’ Star Roberto Aguire On Working With Robin Williams In Last Dramatic Role


“The great thing about Robin is, after you had the chance to meet him, that’s exactly who he was.”


Editor, The Huffington Post

Roberto Aquire and Robbie Williams

It can be a long road to acceptance, particularly when it comes to who you are.

That sentiment is what drives Robin Williams’ character Nolan Mack in the Dito Montiel-directed indie film “Boulevard.” The 60-year-old bank officer has led a lonely life despite his long childless marriage to his wife Joy (Kathy Baker). The couple lack intimacy, not for a lack of love but because Nolan is gay — a fact he has spent most of his life repressing.  

Mexican-American actor Roberto Aguire comes in as Leo, a hustler whom Nolan pays for companionship, not sex, as he tries to come to term with his sexuality. The 27-year-old actor spoke to The Huffington Post ahead of the film’s nationwide release on Friday. Aguire opened up about what it was like to work with Williams in his final dramatic role and why he feels Latino actors shouldn’t be limited by the ‘Latino’ label.


“Boulevard” deals with Nolan trying to come to terms with his sexuality after a lifetime of suppressing it. And you portray Leo, a character that becomes a catalyst for all of this. What drew you into the script the most when you first read it? 

[Screenwriter Douglas Soesbe] has a beautifully fluid way of writing dialogue that almost sounds like poetry. So when I read the script, immediately it captured me. I thought it was a story that had to be told.

 There is so much of this topic, especially right now, that’s prevalent in America. But it’s also very hidden in America. I think if you talk to anybody they know a person or they have an uncle, a brother, a son, a cousin who is in a later stage in their life who is coming to terms with who they really are. I think that story has to be told, it has to be shown that it doesn’t matter if you get to a later stage in your life, you can always make a change. You always deserve to find happiness, so that was the second thing that drew me to the script.


And Leo also kind of suppresses the reality of being in the dangerous world of male prostitution.   

Leo is this beautiful character who is so complex and so complicated within this dangerous world that he lives in. I don’t think he’s a run-of-the-mill hustler [laughs], to put it that way. He kind of sticks out because he has this innate and hidden sensitivity into life, and almost like [a] childlike innocence that when you see him you just want to give him a hug, you just want to tell him that it’s going to be OK. You just want to tell him to get out of that situation.

But for some reason, he’s stuck and he can’t get out — very much like Nolan’s trapped in something that they’re just not happy with. But I think in Leo’s case it manifests itself in a physical danger and an emotional danger that he’s had to shut down in order to deal with.


“Boulevard” was Robin Williams’ final dramatic performance. It’s been almost a year since his death on Aug. 11, 2014. When the news broke many who only knew him through his films mourned him like the loss of a close friend. As someone who had worked closely with him relatively recently, do you recall how you felt the moment you found out?

Yeah, I was in my apartment in Los Angeles and I just remember feeling numb. I think the way you just described the general reaction to his death, which was “the mourning of a close friend,” is a testament to who he was. He had this ability to be able to touch people through every character that he did. Whether it was a dramatic role or a comedic role, after you watch[ed] one of his movies it was like you knew Robin Williams, you knew who he was.

The great thing about Robin is, after you had the chance to meet him, that’s exactly who he was. He was this kind, generous, enormous soul who loved to interact with people — be with people, to show people who he was. I think it speaks so highly of him and his humanity to see the kind of reaction that people had. Everybody around the world just united in this outpouring of love for Robin, and that’s beautiful to see. I think it’s so sad that we all lost such a genius of our time and such a humble and beautiful human being. But it’s beautiful to see how much people loved him, both the people that were close to him and the people that only knew him through his movies.


Robin had a very long and successful career both in comedy and drama. What was your biggest takeaway as a young actor working with such a legend?

So much. [laughs] It’s like a young writer saying, “I sat down with Ernest Hemingway and I learned one thing.” It’s like, no way. There’s so much — just to see the level of dedication was amazing. You’d think that a veteran actor working on a small independent project shooting over 22 days would maybe say, ‘you know what, I can maybe phone it in’ or ‘I can take a step back and cruise through this.’ I mean he could have easily with his talent; I think the movie would have still been great. But he showed up 120 percent in every single scene, there wasn’t a single scene that he wasn’t blowing everyone away with his performance. It didn’t matter how small the scene was or how emotionally trying the scene was.

That’s amazing for a young actor to see, that drive [and] that dedication. I think nowadays there [are] a lot of young actors who are very lazy… celebrity-dom has made them lazy because they don’t have to be much of anything to just get in front of a camera and be a personality. To create a fully formed character full of life, struggle and humanity is tough. It’s not easy, and to see someone like Robin do it so effortlessly yet so meticulously precise[ly], it’s truly inspiring.

Roberto Aquire

As a young Latino actor it can be particularly hard to get your foot into this industry. Many find great roles in indie films, like Gina Rodriguez in “Filly Brown.” Where do you hope this opportunity will take you in your career?

I hope that it just opens more doors. It’s interesting, I think as a Latino actor the biggest challenge is being called Latino because immediately the world has a perception of what that means. A Latino actor can’t play this and a Latino actor can’t play that because they’re Latino. Well, no. And I think Gina Rodriguez is a beautiful example of it. We can play anything we want to play. Just as an Aussie can play an American or a Scot can play a Frenchman or a Peruvian can play the world’s leading neurologist, I think Latinos can play anything. We can be anything that we want to be; we can be any role.

I can tell you the huge difference between a Latino and [puts on a Scottish accent] a person from Scotland is you’ll never think that person from Scotland can’t do anything. I put on a Scottish accent and people are like ‘whaaa happened?!’ But it shouldn’t be mind-blowing. Latinos can do anything. I think that’s the biggest issue we’re facing right now, it’s Latinos being labeled as Latinos and being limited by it, as opposed to being labeled as Latino and being empowered by it. I hope that “Boulevard” is able to open a door for me to say, “I’m a Latino actor and I can be a chameleon, I can be anything you want me to be.”  

 This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. 

The state of publishing in Britain

The Bookseller – Published July 10, 2015. By Kerry Hudson



In an extract of an article by novelist Kerry Hudson, commissioned by Writers’ Centre Norwich for The National Conversation, the Scottish author explores the state of the literary ecology

Imagine four writers. They are talented, they have written brilliant, sales-worthy books. They are respectively BAME, LGBT, working- class, disabled. They go in search of publication. Feedback comes in: “The writing is good but it didn’t speak to me. I don’t know how I’d sell this.” Of course, to love a book it must resonate, represent a society we recognise, have relatable characters. However, the agents and editors who will decide if our writers will be published may not “connect” with these stories.

In Spread the Word’s recent Writing the Future: Black and Asian Writing in the UK report, just 11% of publishers that responded had ties with non-Oxbridge universities or had developed educational programmes for state schools. Additionally, publishers are overwhelmingly London-based, with entry into the profession largely gained through unpaid internships. This is not a system which fosters diversity.

Three of our authors gain representation, but not the BAME writer who—like 53% of BAME writers surveyed in Writing the Future—remains unagented. While our authors sell their books there are commercial concerns: the LGBT writer is asked to “straighten” a few characters; the BAME writer’s editorial notes urge “authenticity”, by which they seem to mean more “urban/African/ethnic” . . . though the writer is sure that the semi-autobiographical novel is “authentically” about them. The disabled and working-class writers are asked to talk about difficult personal experiences during book promotion. One welcomes the opportunity, the other doesn’t wish to be defined by this single trait; publicity column inches will reflect this.

Now our writers are authors, there should be second novels. Unfortunately, our BAME author remains unagentedDiverse Voices and is unable to place his next novel. Our disabled writer suffered from her lack of press coverage. The working-class writer couldn’t sustain the added unpredictability of a tiny income and took a “real” job. The LGBT writer was nominated for two LGBT awards and, though the advance reduced, was able to write without concern that she might alienate the presumed “mainstream” reader.

Four writers. One stays in print. The others, their future stories, are lost. The consequence? Other emerging writers will look, and fail, to find voices like their own, and young people from non-Oxbridge institutions will have no idea that they might contribute to our literary culture. It is stories lost, voices unheard, a book-buying public that has no idea how much spectrum of choice it is being denied.

Without making changes, we risk turning our proud literary legacy into a factory producing monocultural “safe-ish bets” based on previous successes, where books are viewed as “units” to be shifted. Naturally so, this is a business. The bottom line is important.

So consider an industry that could benefit from the potential disposable income of £300bn for the BAME community and approximately £80bn for both the Pink Pound and those with disabilities. Even as we publish more books than ever in the UK, and our market becomes saturated, the fact that we have a such a spectrum of diversity in this country should make our potential to perform well in the area of foreign rights much stronger, because a variety of books about people of different backgrounds will be more attractive globally.

Books are not just a business, they are a fundamental element of evolved society. Writers are often the first to be persecuted by oppressive regimes specifically because words have immense power to influence. We must not relinquish that power by reducing it merely to profit and loss calculations. Let’s make sure a career in publishing is seen as a viable option for people of all backgrounds. If we portray the true multiplicity of society in books, young people will grow up immersed in a British cultural life which fosters a creative environment with inclusivity, innovation and collaboration at its heart. Let’s harness the enormous potential of our diversity, not only to meet our current financial objectives but to fulfil our responsibilities for generations to come.

I don’t believe anyone in publishing is unconcerned by its lack of diversity. But agreeing isn’t enough. Each of us must ask: “What can I do to change this?”


Join the discussion using #NatConv or at


Editorial:  Previously I have written about how dire the state of LGBT publishing is in the UK, indeed I cannot find any details currently of books that are written by LGBT authors, or for LGBT readers in the UK.  An article published in September 2011 on the Malinda Lo – I have the numbers! site gives us some statistics for the period 1969-2011 which makes interesting reading. Please have a look at it, but I am quickly going to produce some of the statistics in picture form here:


lgbtyawhopublishes1 lgbtya2000-11publisher1 lgbtya1969-2011a

How the internet is helping homeless LGBT youth

LGBT Youth-1


A new video, created by Vocativ, shows the impact that the internet can have in helping LGBT young people who have been made homeless in the US.

The short video highlights the stories of a number of residents at the Lost-N-Found shelter in Atlanta, Georgia.


LGBT Youth-SpencerOne of the residents – Matthew – speaks of being thrown out of his home by his preacher father, while trans man Spencer was also ostracised by his religious family.

Matthew recounts how helpful the internet was in helping him find somewhere to go: “I was able to get online and just find… That one chance, that one opportunity. My phone really saved my life.”

The shelter was opened in 2011 by Rick Westbrook, who says that: “social media is wonderful” for those who find themselves without a home.

However, Westbrook also notes the dangers of the internet for vulnerable LGBT youth: “[social media] is also a gateway for a lot of the people that prey on our youth. We have a lot of creeps out there.”

Watch the video below:


Further information about Lost-N-Found can be found here.

Words Ross Semple, @rosssemple
Images Voactiv

100 years on, we can still honour Casement's wish

Martina Devlin

Irish Independent 

9 July 2015

Portrait of Irish patriot, Sir Roger Casement, 1864-1916. GettyJuly 1916. The days were ticking closer to Roger Casement’s execution on a charge of high treason. By now, he was publicly vilified in Britain not just as a revolutionary but as a homosexual, stripped of the knighthood he had earned as a human rights campaigner.

In his cell, his thoughts turned to the haunting majesty of the Glens of Antrim, scene of his boyhood, and he expressed a longing to be buried there.

That desire remains unfulfilled. As commemorations to mark the Easter Rising’s centenary begin on August 1 with a year-long series of events, it’s appropriate to re-open the matter of Casement’s dying wish. Now is the time to make a respectful request on his behalf to the Belfast and London governments.
Let me take you back to those final days in London’s Pentonville Prison. His appeal against conviction was rejected on July 18, and he began writing farewell letters. One of the most poignant went to his cousin, Elizabeth Bannister. “Don’t let my body lie here – get me back to the green hill by Murlough – by the McGarry’s (sic) house looking down on the Moyle – that’s where I’d like to be now and that’s where I’d like to lie.”
Paper was scarce for condemned prisoners, and his writing became progressively smaller as he tried to cram in everything he wanted to say. “God bless you and keep you my dearest, dearest one. You and G. (Gertude, another cousin) have been the best things in my life these awful days… And so au revoir.” He signed it Roddie.
The letter is dated July 25, 1916. Nine days later he was hanged.
His request was ignored. Instead, his body was buried in an unmarked grave in the prison yard. It was treated with contempt, thrown naked into an open grave without a coffin, and covered with quicklime. The quicklime was standard but the rest was not common practice, and showed how he was viewed by the British authorities in whose eyes the former diplomat had betrayed class and country.
Yesterday, I walked by the house where Casement was born in the Dublin suburb of Sandycove, a few minutes from where I live. I pass there regularly, always turning my thoughts towards this cultivated individual whose privileges did not blind him to the human rights abuses heaped on the voiceless and powerless.
He was a combination of North and South, raised by relatives in the Ballymena area after his parents’ death. How fitting it would be now for North and South to join together in a spirit of friendship, showing respect for a public-spirited countryman who campaigned with compassion and conviction against slavery in the Congo and Peru.
Ultimately, Britain treated his remains with respect. But still his bones lie other than where he asked. In 1965, following decades of petitioning, Casement’s grave was opened and he was removed from under the skeletons of two hanged murderers.
Ireland received his body but with conditions attached: he could not be buried north of the border in case either loyalist or nationalist sentiments were stirred. And so today he rests in the Republican plot in Dublin’s Glasnevin.
Surely, after so long, people can be encouraged to see Casement in his totality. A British consul by profession, he became an anti-imperialist, but above all else he was a humanitarian.
He considered Antrim to be his home, and memories of Murlough Bay – an area of outstanding beauty with views across to the Mull of Kintyre – appear to have afforded him some respite as his death approached.
It is a matter for regret that almost a century after he was executed, there is no prospect of his wishes being honoured. Perhaps some might contend that his bones have been disturbed enough. In which case, I suggest a memorial in Murlough Bay.
It could symbolise the reconciliation between North and South after too many decades of mutual misunderstanding.
The McCarry family mentioned in that letter, with a minor misspelling of their name, erected a stone Celtic cross to pay tribute to him in 1928. Sadly, it was vandalised repeatedly by sectarian groups and was finally blown up. But must extremist views hold sway?
Casement represents a number of the multiple strands entwined through this island’s shared history: son of a Northern military father and Southern mother; born Anglican and a convert to Catholicism immediately before facing the hangman; a British Consul knighted for his services to the Crown who became a 1916 revolutionary.
In those July days 99 years ago, supporters lobbied for his sentence to be commuted, even as Casement’s private diaries describing homosexual encounters were circulated – a cynical move to undermine calls for clemency. Arthur Conan Doyle, WB Yeats, George Bernard Shaw and the US Senate made representations on his behalf. It did not change the outcome.
And what difference, you may wonder, would heeding his dying wish make after so much time has elapsed? Quite simply, it’s the right thing to do. It attaches value to his humanitarian record, which stands apart from his republican aims.
Despite the pomp and ceremony of his state funeral, with throngs filing past his coffin and an oration from President Eamon de Valera, what Casement longed for was simpler.
As he finalised his affairs, the remote beauty of the Antrim coast he knew as a boy called to him. He called to it in return – must that cry continue to go unheeded?

Irish Independent


Barely Methodical Troupe's macho circus show is much fun

Editorial:  This troupe was spotted by our roving reported in London, Sean McGouran, and we all know how discerning he can be.  If you see them in a theatre near you, then he heartily recommends that you go and see them.


Barely Methodical Troupe's Bromance-2

Barely Methodical Troupe’s Bromance-2


Jay Z and Kanye West; Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart; Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller: a bromance can be a beautiful thing. And it’s most definitely working for new circus trio Barely Methodical Troupe who, in their first show, take platonic man love to a new acrobatic level.

But does three make a crowd? The company riff on that possibility in this high-fun, low-key piece, which mixes goofy clowning and pared-back-but-astonishing circus skills. Each performer has their own quirky characters: there’s the big, muscleman (Louis Gift); the small cheeky one (Beren D’Amico); and the hopefull odd-one-out (Charlie Wheeller). Over the hour-long ‘Bromance’ we see them vying for each other’s (and our) attention by stupid dancing, kooky double takes and shows of impressive (and sometimes deliberately much less impressive) machismo.

Within all that are some smooth, startling sequences of pure acrobatics which mix free-running, pure contemporary dance and lots of lifts, throws and balancing acts set to music. Wheeller swoops on the cyr wheel – a huge hoop that he stands within and swings around the stage – D’Amico and Gift perform some gobsmackingly low and stomach-churningly high throws. They work hand-to-hand, body to body twisting and turning with grace, agility and much humour.

Recent graduates from The Circus Space in Hoxton, Barely Methodical’s acrobatic skills are clearly strong. But it’s the whole package – the down-to-earth performance style and the peacock prancing – that make ‘Bromance’ one of the most charming circus shows. They are the stupid but sweet guys you knew at school, boys just mucking about, men behaving badly, except here they are genuinely entertaining. Jay Z and Kanye’s love-in may be cute, but Barely Methodical Troupe’s ‘Bromance’ is where the buddy action is really at.


Venue name: Udderbelly
Address: Jubilee Gardens
off Belvedere Rd
Transport: Tube: Waterloo
Price: £15.50-£17.50, £14-£16 concs
Barely Methodical Troupe's Bromance-1

Barely Methodical Troupe’s Bromance-1

Sainsbury's Cover-up

Sainsbury’s criticised for placing ‘modesty cover’ over gay lifestyle magazine but not FHM

Sainsbury Cover-up

Sainsbury’s have been criticised for placing a copy of gay lifestyle magazine Attitude magazine behind a modesty cover, whilst making no effort to conceal FHM.

This apparent bias was highlighted when twitter user Jon Rowles tweeted a picture of the magazine rack in Sainsbury’s Mid City Place branch in Holborn, London, along with the comment, ‘Why I don’t shop @sainsburys anymore. Naked women OK but @AttitudeMag Pride Hero’s cover indecent.’

Furthermore, whilst the FHM cover in question features a bikini-clad woman, everyone on the cover of August’s Attitude magazine (which happens to be their Pride Heroes edition) is fully clothed.




Talking to Pink News, Mr Rowles explained: ‘What struck me was how it made the publication look seedy and somehow shameful, like I had walked into a timewarp and gone back to the early 1990s.’ contacted Sainsbury’s for a comment, and a spokesperson told us: ‘We have previously contacted the distributor of Attitude magazine with a view to remove the modesty cover on this title. The distributor agreed that whilst the cover of this magazine is now generally suitable for display, there could be future issues where it may not be. This is something we regularly review along with taking guidance from the Professional Publishers Association.’

They also explained that on this occasion FHM has been placed on a lower shelf by mistake, and that it should be displayed further back where the cover is less visible

Read more:

Get Inspired: Making rugby inclusive for all

Rugby World Cup Trophy Event

BBC Sport – 8 July 2015Last updated at 16:02

The Rugby World Cup trophy  stopped off at the Sports Wales National Centre in Cardiff recently as part of a 100-day tour across the UK and Ireland. The event, supported by Stonewall Wales, was held to encouraging everyone to get involved in sport. Gay friendly rugby teams were invited to meet the international referee, Nigel Owens and participate in a mini, yet slightly competitive, touch rugby tournament!

Get Inspired went along to meet the teams.

Swansea Vikings, Swansea’s first openly gay and inclusive rugby team, saw around 30 players turn up for training within a few weeks of forming, and only four of those had played rugby regularly before.

The club’s founder, or ‘The Chief’ as he’s most commonly known, Steven Larcombe, explained that the club “was built on a desire for gay men in Swansea to have their own rugby team, regardless of ability, experience or sexuality.” The only other gay inclusive team is in Cardiff.

The Chief, Steven Larcombe (fourth from left) with his fellow Vikings.

The Chief, Steven Larcombe (fourth from left) with his fellow Swansea Vikings.

In just 7 weeks the club recruited 46 new players, established a community of over 180 members, as well as campaigned in a number of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) matters, including sport, equality and inclusiveness.

“I hadn’t actually played rugby since school, and its the same for many others in the team so this is pretty new to everyone. Its an amazing achievement to be only the second gay & inclusive team in Wales, the 11th in the United Kingdom and 64th in the World!”

Cardiff Lions

The Cardiff Lions with the Webb Ellis Trophy as it travels around the UK ahead of the Rugby World Cup in September

Inclusivity is the core value of rugby

Following on from their recent success at the Biannual European gay-inclusive tournament, the Union Cup, the Cardiff Lions’ Gareth Waters and Chairman Christopher Whitton, are amazed with the surge in interest in the last few years.

“We are currently in our 11th year of existence and its growing exponentially. We now have a squad of over 40 players within the club, we play regular fixtures at least once or twice a month, and look forward to sending a team to the Bingham Cup  , the equivalent of the Gay Rugby World Cup in Nashville next summer, so there’s definitely a big interest in LGBT rugby, not just in Wales but around the world.

“Inclusivity is one of the core values of rugby and were just here to promote that. There’s definitely still work to be done but were going the right way!

The Swansea Vikings doing some last minute stretching...

The Cardiff Lions doing some last minute stretching…

“Having the Webb Ellis trophy visit Wales based around the whole idea of inclusivity in rugby is a monumental occasion for LGBT sport. Its for everyone, and that’s what I’ve known since I was about 10 and started playing, it doesn’t matter what your size, strength, skin colour or sexual orientation, everyone can get involved!

Nigel Owens reiterated how important it is to be yourself in rugby.

“I’ve done it, as has Gareth Thomas and a lot of other people. Its about encouraging clubs to make the environment as welcoming and safe as possible, and in showing people who are thinking about it, or wondering if they can participate in sport, that they can.

Nigel Owens and co enjoying a selfie!

Step aside Kim Kardashian, there’s a new selfie king in town!

Although a positive role model within Welsh sport, Nigel sometimes get unhappy with people who portray the rugby community as homophobic, and feels that there is a lot of work to do to ensure that rugby is “acceptable and inclusive for all”.

“It is a safe environment to be in, and I encourage anyone who is interested to do so.”

The biggest challenge

According to Owens, the biggest challenge facing sport, rugby in particular, is what is defined by ‘Banter’, what is acceptable or not, and feels that the boundary lies with the individual and the team themselves.

“People within the environment need to be aware that what’s funny and banterous to one person, may not be to others – just think of what you say, but its important too that we must not lose that sense of humour within the sport. That’s the biggest challenge.

If you would like to give Rugby Union a try, take a look at our dedicated guideto get you started.

Limerick Pride

Limerick Pride



Happy Limerick Pride from GOSHH

July 14th – 19th 2015

GOSHH will be providing a wide range of events during this years Limerick Pride Festival
All events take place at GOSHH, Redwood Place, 18 Davis Street, Limerick.
For more information on these events please contact us on 061 314354 or email



The YAsTuesday July 14th
The YAs – 5.30pm – 7.00pm
LGBT Group for Adults 18-24 Years Old

This is a safe space for you to express yourself and to meet other young people. The group engages in social activities as well exploring LGBT topics.


The OutletTuesday July 14th
The OUTlet – 7.30pm – 9.00pm

LGBT Group for Adults aged 25 & over

The OUTlet is a non-alcoholic social group. It is a confidential, safe space. New Members are welcome!


Pride FlagSaturday July 18th
March with GOSHH at the 2015 Limerick Pride Parade

Meeting at the GOSHH Office at 2pm and we invite you to march behind the GOSHH Banner during the parade.
(The Parade leaves City Hall at 3pm)

The Irish Scene: Gay Guide to Ireland by Mike Parker (Part I)

First published in our paper magazine – upstart


Publisher: Gay Men’s Press (29 May 1996)

Mike Parker compiled the (English) Northern Scene in this series, which I praised in a previous upstart. Yes: I didn’t much like this book.  MIke, who was so efficient shoving a quart (almost a gallon) quantity into a pint pot in his last outing seems to be one of those people who was lyrical when theyh come across the word “celtic” or even just “Irish”.  He also decides that history loms large here, so he gives us some of it.  “Daniel O’Connell, a brilliant young Kerry man…won the County Clare constituency in the 1828 election.  As a Catholic, however, he was barred from taking his seat.  British Prime Minister William Pitt… scrapped the ban”.

In 1828, O’Connell was in his fifties, PItt the Younger had been dead for a quarter of a century.  The Elder Pitt (Lord Chatsworth) had snuffed it in the 1780s.  Mike also appears to be saying the Irish Labour Party only just got into power recently.  Labour has held Cabinet seats since the 1940s, and has been a constant in government for fifteen years (it is being described these days as “the-even the– Party of government”).  There is also some very odd stuff abut the Celtic Twilight/Literary Renaissance (one would have thought that someone visiting Ireland, whether the political entity or the geographical expression, over the past twenty years might have noticed that we have become less provincial and embarrassed about our contribution to ‘art’ (painting and sculpture) and ‘classical’ music, there is a booming industry in art-books and a quite large discography of the latter).  The ‘folk’ and pop/rock end of things hardly needs mentioning.

Mike Parker admits that he has spent his holidays in Ireland in a Guinness-induced haze, which is fair enough – so do I – in fact, I spend my non-hols in a Guinness-induced haze, if I can manage it.  He also says that the outer rim of Ireland is more interesting that the centre, that’s his business, though I quite like the Irish midlands and south east, which he rather gives short drift.  I think Wexford, town and country are very interesting, but I’m not the author.

The problem here, is that Mike has to write more ‘touristy’ stuff than in his English book, as the “scene”, as such, is not really very big (the whole population of the island is less than Greater Manchester, or Merseyside, or the West Midlands).  He deals with the scene very well.

He compares Limerick with Derry (no ‘Londonderrys’ here – not even for the sake of a bit of alliteration), and rather approves of them, but he does not investigate what effect having a university has had on the town(s) and their scene(s).  Mike appears to believe that Limerick is still brooding on KIng Billy’s government reneging on the Treaty of 1691 – I doubt it.  Limerick was the Holy City of Irish Catholicism for over a century.  This came to a climax during De Valera’s period (if the word “climax” is permissible in the same sentence as “De Valera”).  Dev represented County Clare, just down the road from Limerick City, and his long supremacy is characterised in this book as ‘insular’.

The Pope’s Divisions

Catholic Ireland at that time quite often spoke of itself in the same breath as Communist Russia, and was not in the least fazed by the huge disparity in population and power.  Ireland, (which had not been Catholic in the days of Gaeldom), became, not more Catholic than the Pope – but just as Catholic as the pope wanted.  Missionaries spread out from Ireland through Latin America, the British Empire (and most of the other colonial empires) and the Orient, proselytising with a vigour the Bolshevik might have (and probably did) envy.  All of this was cultural vandalism of the first ordr – but to give the Blackcoats their due, they destroyed pagan, Gaelic Ireland’s immemorial culture before they set out.  Whtever this was – it was decidedly not smug insularity….

Part Two to follow