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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LGBT Noise Protest – Register Your Protest


LGBT Noise are holding a protest next Saturday December 6th in Dublin at 13:45pm. The time is a strange one to have a protest isn’t it, why not 13:30 or 14:00 makes it easier to remember. Anyway the protest is from the Dáil to the Civil Registry Office on Grand Canal Street “to stand up for the Civil Institution of Marriage”. This is according to an email I got from their info list.

In the email about the protest LGBT Noise complain about “threats by Cardinal Seán Brady of legal challenges to the recognition of gay and lesbian couples”

This may be news to LGBT Noise but the church, as a legal entity, have the right to bring legal challenges against actions they might see as impinging on the Constitution. Gay activists always amaze me, they are the first to use the courts if they think it will further there cause (KAL Case) but if they see at something that might hold back there cause, its just not cricket.

Secondly they complain about “ideological attacks on gay families on RTE One and RTE Radio One” if they think that shouldn’t they be writing to RTÉ and the papers? A protest on Civil Marriage is not going to change anything about who RTÉ gets on its shows.

They go on to say “gay and lesbian people have a civil right to have their relationships, and their families, protected by the State”. While this is correct to a point the Irish Constitution the supreme law of the land states, in Article 41.1

1° The State recognises the Family as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law.

2° The State, therefore, guarantees to protect the Family in its constitution and authority, as the necessary basis of social order and as indispensable to the welfare of the Nation and the State.

Also Article 41.3.1 states:

The State pledges itself to guard with special care the institution of Marriage, on which the Family is founded, and to protect it against attack.

This shows the constitutions places limits on supposed Civil Rights.

A lot of Civil Rights being claimed by LGBT Noise such as:

Civil Marriage is a Civil Right.
Protection for parents is a Civil Right.
Protection for children is a Civil Right.

have not been validated by the Irish Constitution or by the courts. They are presuming that these rights exist. In fact we are waiting for a Children’s Rights Referendum so I am surprised that they have mentioned Protection for Children which is a bit off track in that sense.

In relation to the threat by the church over legal action they say:

It’s time that our government and the religious lobby recognised that church and state should remain separate. The right of gay and lesbian couples to get married in a civil registry office does not in any way interfere with the free practice of religion.

Who said it would interfere with “the free practice of religion”? Not a single person I know would use the argument of free practice of religion against the campaign for Civil Marriage as it wouldn’t have a leg to stand on. I think the fact the Church is threatening to take the State to court shows that there is separation of Church and State in this country, because if it were not the case, the church would not have to take the case against the state.

In the entire email I find myself agreeing with only one part of it and that is one of the lines in the concluding paragraph

pretending that we must only see the arguments in terms of conflict between gay and religious people ignores both the countless gay people of faith, and others in the faith community who support equality for all

Yes, there are many religous folk out there in support of Gay Marriage and Civil Unions and I have been lucky to meet some of them.

Anyway best of luck to those attending the protest, but personally I don’t see the point.

‘Why Gay Americans Should Vote for John McCain’

Daniel (GayPatriotWest) from Gaypatriot.net has written an excellent article for gaywired.com on why Gay Americans Should vote republican. Well worth the read.

In the article Daniel writes somethings in relation to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and expanding federal Hate Crimes laws, that strikes me as the core of “gay conservatism”

If we keep turning to the state to address our problems or to pass legislation that will make us feel better about ourselves because the government cares, we’ll focus less on improving our own communities and promoting change at the local level.

Do read the article!

Being a Gay Conservative

Below is an article that I was asked to write for UCC LGBT’s Q-Guide for this year. It’s available on campus today as it’s Socs Day (hence why it’s only going up today)

Being a Gay Conservative

By Stephen Spillane

Is being Gay and a Conservative a contradiction in terms? I don’t
think so cause that is what I am. Most people, from my experience,
think that gay people are either liberals or left wing. I would
dispute that and claim that gay people are as politically diverse as
any other group of people.

Being a conservative is more important to me, politically, then being
gay. But being gay has informed me on the positions and allowed me to
view things from other angles thereby influencing me politically.

People are often shocked at me, as not only am I a young person
interested in politics, but I am also actively involved in it. This is
where being a gay conservative really comes into its own, because as a
young person involved in politics your views are sought out and
listened to. This has been my experience.

As a gay conservative, of any age, you are in a unique position. To,
in my opinion, influence how conservatives see and treat gay people.
As an outsider you cannot do this. This is especially true if you are
viewed as a liberal or left winger, but as conservative you can
challenge stereotypes. Another problem is that on the outside you
might not be aware that what you are trying to convince people of to
agree to something that may be completely opposed to the core values
of conservatives.

A case in point is Same-Sex Marriage. While I see the merits in the
arguments put forward by those in favour and agree with certain
points, “am I bovvered?” immediately springs to mind when I hear the
arguments. As a conservative what I want is the state to recognise my
relationship with my partner, no matter what the sex. This is all that
is needed. There is too much baggage with terms like “marriage” that
can easily be solved if we just drop it, but that is only my opinion.

Of course I am not a 100% conservative, as I am pro-choice and I
support Gay Adoption, not exactly favourite subjects with
conservatives.

Being a gay conservative is a challenging experience not only for you,
but also for those you come into contact with. You force liberal and
conservative alike to challenge their stereotypes. Of course dealing
with the reactions is the challenging part for you and I have written
about this in a guest post on gaypatriot.com
(http://www.gaypatriot.net/2008/04/15/intolerance-of-gay-conservatives-in-europe/
). Conservatives will welcome you, albeit cautiously and questioningly
into their ranks. While liberals, especially gay ones may not be so
accommodating to the conservative part of you.

I supposed the point that I’m trying to get across is that, not only
do gays come in different shapes and sizes, but in different political
hues too. It so happens that this ones blue.

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

So it’s Ireland in the 21st and gay rights are a major issue. The fight for true equality, same-sex marriage, is well underway but who represents us. There is GLEN, NGLF, and ÉAGLE and other groups, but who will represent us in this fight for true equality. The way things are the Government can pick and choose who to negotiate with on equality issues.

We need to follow the example that the Spanish have set for us in their successful campaign for marriage equality. We need to form one group representing every LGBT group in Ireland to fight for true equality in this country. This is the only way we can unite to get what we deserve our basic right’s, our basic human rights, the right to be treated the same as everyone else in this country.

This grouping would represent every group in the country, rights groups, social groups, sports groups, youth groups, and college groups. Only united can we stand up to government and be united no matter what political creed we subscribe to. That way we can have members in all political parties and make our demands known. The only way we can achieve true equality is by coming together and fighting the good fight.

We deserve equality, we need to unite to get it!