The Rebel Awards 2010

The Nominations opened yesterday for the Rebel Awards 2010.

The Cork Rebel Awards were set up as a collobartion between the Cork Gay Project, Cork Pride & GayCork.com in order to acknolwlege LGBT people and organisations for their contributions, work and support to the Cork LGBT community.

This year they are inviting everyone to nominate people and organisations whom you feel should win an award.

The Categories are as follows:

The ‘Straight-Up’ REBEL Award

This award recognises a non-LGBT individual who has made an outstanding contribution working with and by having a positive influence on the lives and rights of the LGBT community.
The REBEL Award for Men’s Initiative of the Year

This award recognises deserving individuals who have contributed new ideas or projects that have benefited the life of Cork Gay Men.

The REBEL Award for Women’s Initiative of the Year
This award recognises an individual or group who, either through professional or voluntary work, has contributed positively to the lives of lesbian and bisexual women in Cork.

The REBEL Award for an Honorary Corkonian (for people outside Cork)

This award recognises an individual who is either a non-native or non-resident of Cork who, through working with the Cork LGBT Community through various medium, has made such a positive contribution to the community that they are awarded honorary rebel status, a title aspired to by every non-Corkonian.
The REBEL Award for Outstanding Social Group of the Year

Cork is very lucky that we have a diverse network of social groups from activity groups to hobby groups. This award recognises a deserving social group that has shown outstanding organisation that has helped in bringing the community together.
The REBEL Award for LGBT (friendly) Business Award.

This award highlights a business person or company who through their commercial ventures has contributed significantly to the LGBT community in Cork. The contribution may be, but is not confined to, financial contribution. The award may also recognise an employer who supports diversity in their workplace.


The GayCork.com People’s Choice REBEL Award

This award is decided by the members of the online community of GayCork.com. It is for a venue or individual, that the members of GayCork.com feel are deserving of recognition for their contributions to the gay scene and wider gay community in Cork. It is by its nature a diverse award but due to the wide membership of GayCork.com, from Cork city, county, and beyond, the recipient should be in no doubt as to their importance to the entire community of Cork.
The REBEL Award for Outstanding Contribution
The REBEL Award for Lifetime Service to the LGBT Community

Fair play to the committee for organising this. You can nominate your candidates here

Last years winners are listed here.

The awards will take place on Friday the 12th November in the Imperial Hotel on South Mall.

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Monday Links – 10/08/09

Blue Lake Jetty
Image by Chris Gin via Flickr

Well its Monday, its been a hectic week at home for me, no travelling at least, so I have a few things for you to check out.

Tommy, of TrustTommy, had an excellent article in the Times of all places! Fair play!

Irish Web Awards Nominations are open!

Easkey, Co Sligo [pop. 250] went gay for a day!

Some cool cards on CurlyDena’s blog

Gamma has a video of Billy Connolly on Catholicism and Sarah Palin

“Are we European or becoming European?” asks The European Citizen

Joe has a fantastic post on Global Nomads and organising a wedding as one

Bock asks what has Irish Independence given us

Sara points out that I am a geek over a post on Dailyshite

Carmel has an excellent post on the LGBT Community in Israel since the recent killings in Tel Aviv

The North could have ended up in France?? What??

South Koreas Military is a bit odd, what are practising for?

Have a nice day!

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Who Represents Me?

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 10:  Rainbow fla...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Yesterday I was invited to become “a fan” of yet another Irish LGBT group. This time it was EQUALS, which is a direct action group.

Everyone seems to think that every LGBT person supports LGBT Noise, EQUALS, Marriage Equality etc, but we don’t.

Firstly lets look at LGBT Noise. They have the T in their for Transgendered yet I never heard them ever calling for a change in the law in relation to Transgendered issues. So they are a single issue group focused on Gay Marriage.

Secondly all these groups are trying to create awareness and create pressure. Pressure only works where their is some political will. In Ireland in the two major parties, there is no will for Gay Marriage. So in this Government and the next, and maybe the one after their will be no chance of Gay Marriage.

To be honest I don’t want Gay Marriage. And I am not alone. I updated my facebook status to the following

People please stop suggesting that I become a fan of EQUALS cause I wont…

A fairly reasonable request in my opinion. The comments showed plenty of people thought I was wrong to think that. An argument about Gay Marriage ensued and what it actually showed to me was how strong headed Gay Marriage Activists are. They will not tolerate dissent from within the “gay ranks”.

This is why the Gay Marriage cause will not succeed. If the cause itself is not willing be broad and accept criticism, and stop comparing this “struggle” with apartheid and religious discrimination they might actually get somewhere and get the backing of those withe the LGB community not so pushed about gay marriage. (Note I left out the T on purpose)

If the campaign cant convince those it has something in common with, how is it to convince those against it?

Chaining yourself to the Dáil, ripping up Bills may get you some attention, but will it change anything? No.

I think the LGB community need to adopt a strategy like the one adopted by GLEN. They think the bill in general is good, but needs improvement. That’s what I think. This bill glaringly leaves out anything to do with children. That needs to be sorted. Some will argue that Gay Marriage will sort that straight away, but its time to smell the bacon and get real, that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

So with all these LGBT Groups that are out their that claim to represent me, you don’t. I know I am not alone on this. Friends have agreed with me, both straight and gay that they think that Civil Partnerships is the way to go for now. So why don’t we concentrate on getting the Bill we having coming to the Oireachtas the best one we can, rather then trying to argue for something we won’t get.

So those who want Gay Marriage, please think of us who don’t. You could be loosing an ally. Try to engage rather then argue. Then you might get us onside.

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Marriage is an antiquated, failing institution based on inequality and traditional roles.

Protesters in San Francisco campaign for marri...
Image via Wikipedia

The above title is a quote from Mark Simpsons article on Gay Marriage on Comment is Free in today’s Guardian. In his article “Gay people don’t need marriage” he argues that gay marriage “zealots” have gotten carried away and need to look at what the majority agree with. As he points out Civil Unions which giver nearly the same rights as marriage, for example Civil Partnerships in the UK, have the backing of “liberal and conservative, secular and religious, metropolitan and rural America”.

He calls it “side-stepping this endless, unsightly domestic”. And he is right. LGBT Noise can protest all day long and give the Government red cards, but whats the point if marriage is not the answer, and it certainly isnt. They are wasting their breath and causing unnecessary division within the Gay Community and those that are broadly supportive of the gay community. Its time we brought them onside and campaigned for something achievable

Its nice when you find someone who agrees with you

(Hat Tip: The Irish Left Review)

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Is it right that a Political Party Owns LGBT.ie???

Labour Party (Ireland)Image via Wikipedia

I was contacted after a tweet by Mark Coughlan about the ownership of a .ie domain. The Domain in is LGBT.ie and it is, according to the IE Domain Registry owned by the Irish Labour Party and is registered as a “Discretionary Name”

If you visit the site you get redirected to Labours homepage? Now is it right that a political party owns this and redirects it to their site? I don’t think so? I am not saying that as a party political hack (what use would Fine Gael or Fianna Fail have for that site) but as a former Gay Activist (I’ve toned it down an awful lot, most of my activism is by me for me now a days). No political party should own that domain.

While I agree Labour LGBT and the Labour Party in general have been a fantastic supporter of the Gay Community and Gay Rights, but does it give them the right to this domain? I don’t think so!

GLEN or the NGLF or some sort of Gay community or a website to co-ordinate all the other ones should be on that domain. It should not be a redirect to the Labour Home Page!

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PS: You can follow me on Twitter here

Two Months, Too Soon?

Dosent @tywinlannister look cute in a tie?Image by stephen.spillane via FlickrI blogged recently enough about the time I told my boyfriend I loved him. I have also told it to a few people. A comment I hear alot is “Do you think it is too soon for that?” I must admit, it was starting to niggle me from the back of my head. But last night I went out (and didnt drink) and met with a friend from New Jersey. He was with two of his friends from Dublin and we were doing the whole getting to know you, how long have you been with your boyfriend and that.

They told me that they had said that they had told each other they loved each other after less then two months and they moved into together after five months. That happened six years ago they told me! This was a weight off my mind. Here was a good example of gay couple that worked.

Unfortunately, in the gay scene in Cork and among my friends, there isnt a whole lot of long-term relationships, so actually meeting someone who was in the same situation was a great relief to me (and Russell when I rang im later in the night to tell him!). It was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders as now I can say, I know of others who were in the same situation and are still together.

I couldnt be happier then after I met Tom and Eugene and basically told me, what I feel is normal, and is not too fast!

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GALA Awards

Défilé de PASTT à la Gay Pride à Paris en FranceImage via WikipediaI saw an ad for this in this months GCN and there is a thread on GayCork.com about it too. So what are they?

From the blurb

The GALAS are Ireland’s first annual awards celebrating contributions to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) life in Ireland. We want you to tell us who you think deserves to be honoured for their contributions in 2008 at our very special awards ceremony later this year. The nomination process is easy, and you can nominate as many times in as many categories as you like.

The GALA Awards are being run by the the National Lesbian and Gay Federation of Ireland who publish GCN.

There are 11 Categories up for Grabs.
# Person of the Year

The person you feel has most contributed to the advancement of equality and social acceptance of LGBT people in Ireland during 2008.

# Community Organisation of the Year

Across Ireland there are many organisations constantly working towards the advancement of LGBT people, running centres, helplines, support groups, social groups, events and much more. Which organisation do you think deserves to be awarded for their work in 2008?

# Volunteer of the Year

Each year in the LGBT sector, an unprecedented number of people give freely of their time, energy and skills to help other LGBT people in many, many ways. Is there an LGBT volunteer you believe should be honoured for their work in 2008?

# Employer of the Year

Less than 50% of Irish LGBT people feel comfortable to be ‘out’ at work, so we are honouring the employers who are committed to diversity and LGBT inclusion. From corporates to small employers, we would like to award the most inclusive employer of 2008.

# LGBT Businessperson of the Year

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are keen business men and women. This award will go to an out and proud LGBT businessperson, someone who you think deserves to be awarded for his or her endeavours in the business world.

# Most Gay-Friendly Politician of the Year

Behind the scenes in government and in the opposition parties, in the Seanád and in local councils, there are politicians who stand behind the LGBT community and seek equality and social advancement for all. The GALAS seeks to honour gay-friendly politicians and encourage other politicians to work towards a more inclusive, equal society with this award. Who do you think the most gay-friendly politician of 2008 has been?

# Journalist of the Year

Representations of LGBT people in the Irish media range from positive to stereotypical to homophobic. What journalist do you think has represented gay issues and stories in a fair and understanding way in the media in 2008, helping to advance gay rights with their writing or broadcasting?

# Media Representation of the Year

From soap operas to documentaries, from television dramas to movies featuring gay characters and story lines, from sitcoms to news items, from pop stars to radio shows, what was the most arresting, forward thinking and entertaining gay representation in the Irish media and entertainment industry in 2008? You decide.

# Blogger of the Year

The Internet has opened a whole new world for LGBT people to give the world their opinions on politics, the media, society and just about anything they care to write about. Who do you think the best queer blogger of 2008 is?

# Event of the Year

From Pride festivals to cultural events, from sporting tournaments to large-scale social occasions, what do you think the gay event of 2008 was?

# Molly Malone Award for the Irish Gay Icon of the Year

We all love a gay icon, whether they be from the world of entertainment or politics. So who do you think should be crowned the Irish gay icon of the year?

I have an idea who I will be nominating in a few categories and others are drawing a blank. But I am sure something will come to my mind.

It is great to see the blogger category in there! I am really interested in seeing, one, who is nominated and two, who wins and have I heard of them!

So get nominating

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Gay Pride… Revistited.

Last month I wrote a post about Gay Pride, was it Triumphalist or rembering a historical battle for human rights? . The Daily Bohomian yesterday wrote a piece that towards the end touches on Gay Pride and raises some interesting points.

He wrote

I believe that there’s a fine line between showing off to deliberately make people feel intimidated and in showing pride just as there’s a fine line between not understanding gay people and being a thuggish bigot

I think this really sums up the feelings on Gay Pride. It is a very careful balancing act, that I beleive in some places falls they over themselves to be intimidating not just to people who feel ‘uncomfortable’ but also to some gays who like myself are a tad conservative. I dont believe that a Gay Pride Parade should be about men walking down the street in skimpy underwear or Lesbians topless on bikes. Thats not what Pride is about, but it is what it has become.

Pride should be about celebreting diversity, not just within the Gay Community but within wider society. It should aim to educate not intimidate.

For me as a Gay man, without that perfect body, Pride can be quite intimidating and it can effect your self-esteem. This is why I would never go to Pride in Amsterdam or San Francisco. This is why I love Cork Pride. Cork Pride is small, and welcoming. It is open to anyone who wants to join, Gay, Straight, Bisexual, transexual, whatever you describe yourself as. There are fun family events, like last year we went to the beach and had a Sports Day. It was great fun. Thats what Pride should be about, Respect and Fun.

Bohomian also raises an interesting point on where the Gay Community gets ghettoised so people only associated Gays with certain areas, EG London’s Soho.

And Soho has always been a Ghetto in much the same way. The predominance of rainbow flags serves as a mark of territory and man’s natural instinct is to challenge the territorial claim of his neighbours.

So what’s the answer? So we stick a sex shop, darkroom and G-A-Y bar on every corner? No but we do need to open the doors of our community and if Mohammed refuses to come to the mountain, take the mountain to Mohammed. This year’s London pride will stick to the same old route and the same people will take part. If the gay community wants to begin breaking down the divide that exists between the straight community and the gay community, we have to take pride to places like Dagenham.

The Gay Community needs to be open and welcome to questioning. Thats is the only way we can improve tolerence. We need to take the spirit of Pride and take it around our own local communities.

I hope one day we can live up to the words that Bohomian has written

We have to get our voice heard in the local press and be a clear presence at local events like town shows and carnivals. We have to become a bigger presence in pubs and clubs instead of sticking to those we know we can pick up trade in. And if we do all those things without ramming our cause down people’s throats, they’ll come to see that although we unite in one community to tackle homophobia, we remain individuals who still live by the values of decency and politeness, tolerance and that all important motto of “the right thing at the right time”. It’s a case of give and take and I truly hope that in the future we begin to live as members of a national family rather than members of polar communities

Yours in Pride,
Stephen