A Busy Summer – Freaks N’Gleeks

Poster of Freaks N'Gleeks

I know this blog has been very quiet over the last few months. There are various reasons for this. Mainly I have been involved in a few things which have kept me busy and of course work is there also.

One of the things that has kept me really busy in Freaks N’Gleeks (formerly Cork Glee Club). We are a bunch of friends who have come together and put on a show revolving around dancing and singing. Its great fun. With Freaks N’Gleeks I have danced in Cork and Waterford and last Wednesday we qualified for the Semi-finals of Chambers Got Xtra Talent. Heres a video of our performance! We danced to “Take it Off” by Kei$ha and “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga. We are currently working on something for the Semi’s! Should be fun!

We also took part in Waterford Pride this month, which was great fun. The weekend before Pride we performed for the Prideathon to raise money for Pride. We also performed after the Pride Parade. We did “Can’t Be Tamed” by Miley Cyrus, “Africa” by Toto and “Waka, Waka” by Shakria. That was an interesting performance as the video will show!

Im looking forward to performing again!

In the mean time check out Freaks N’Gleeks page on Facebook!

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We Are Family Too – What Does Family Mean to You?

Author with Malte and Timo, from his time as an Au Pair in Germany

As with many of the Prides that are happening in Ireland this year, there is a common theme. The theme is “We Are Family Too”. As part of this, Dublin Pride have built a special site WRF2.com to find out what family means to people.

I think this is a great idea! This way even if you are not in Dublin you can still contribute!

You can send your message in two ways. Online through this form or by post to

WRF2 Project,
Outhouse,
105 Capel Street,
Dublin 1,
Ireland

This is my submission.

What does family mean to me? Well it entirely depends on the context of the word.

When people ask about my family, I know they are talking about my parents and my sister. Sometimes that family can be wider to include my Grandmother, but by and large it is static.

When I think of my family I think of the same.

When I think of the family I want, that is when my view changes.

The family I want looks something like this.

Me
My Partner
Children

Not so different to the one I grew up with, but with a few differences. My Partner is also male. And the family is not based on marriage, but on a Civil Partnership.

This family is as loving as the one I grew up in. It is as nurturing and inspiring as the one I grew up in.

Why can’t I have a family like that?

Do give your opinion!

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Baltic Pride

More astute readers of the blog will notice the new advert on the top of the blog. This is to support one of the Campaigns of Amnesty International Denmark.

Next Saturday May 8th Baltic Pride is set take place in Vilnius, Lithuania. This will be the first Pride in Vilnius. So why is there a campaign?

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the Baltic States are facing obstacles to holding their annual Pride march in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius. Amnesty International calls for the Pride march to be held in safety and in full respect of freedom of expression and assembly.

On Saturday 8 May, Lithuania is set to host the 2010 Baltic Pride which celebrates diversity and champions human rights.  It will be the first ever Pride event to take place in Lithuania.

However, LGBT people in Lithuania are still subject to discrimination and intolerance, and the Lithuanian authorities have cancelled all previously planned public LGBT events in the country.

Pressure is mounting on the Vilnius City Council to revoke its authorization of the 2010 Baltic Pride march.  There are still concerns that the necessary security arrangements will not be put in place by the Vilnius Police.

Show your support for the 2010 Baltic Pride and demand that LGBT people’s rights to freedom of expression and assembly are respected and protected in Lithuania.

Pride Parades took place in Riga in neighbouring Latvia in 2008 and 2009 and there were protests against these events. Please sign the petition to the Lithuanian President to ensure that this march goes ahead safely.

UPDATE: the interim AG in Lithuania has today lodged an appeal to have the parade banned on security threat grounds and has sought to have  permission repealed. The case is to be heart tomorow in the civil court with judgement expected by 12 noon local time. Amnesty Press Release with full details More on this when I get it!

UPDATE 2: ILGA-Europe, the European Parliament Intergroup on LGBT Rights and Amnesty International have also issued a joint Press Release on the issue

thanks to John James Hickey on FB for the post and updates

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Brighton Pride

Well, im off to brighton pride later today! won the tickets last night! cant wait!!! be back on monday!!!! 😀

Sadly, it will always rain on the gay parade

WITH more reports of gay bashings in Dublin this summer and the Government’s frustrating tardiness on the legalisation of gay marriage, it was an issue that was waiting to explode. But it took Ryan Tubridy to, as he put it himself, “kick the hornet’s nest”.

In blithely wondering aloud whether there was really any need for a Gay Pride march in Sligo this weekend, Tubridy seemed to some to personify the smug indifference to the issues surrounding gay rights in Ireland. “It’s 2006 – they have their bars and clubs and Will and Grace”, his thinking seemed to go, “so what the hell are they still whingeing about?”

RTE was immediately inundated with calls and emails, and internet message board posters decried Tubridy as a homophobe. The broadcaster meekly responded that he was “only asking”, and for four consecutive days he allowed himself to be “educated” by everyone from Anna Nolan to the mothers of gay men.

Tubridy’s take on many aspects of human sexuality – gay and straight – was bizarrely out of touch. He expressed shock, for instance, that any 13-year-old could possibly be aware of his or her sexual preferences, adding that he himself was reading books at that age. He made sure tomention several times that he had several gay friends, so therefore what he said couldn’t possibly behomophobic.

His guests’ testimony was eloquent and moving, and highlighted once again that many of the most serious issues faced by gay people – rejection by the family and bullying in schools (where ‘gay’ remains the primary term of abuse) – are out of the reach of the law. Most people, it was correctly pointed out, are fine with the idea of someone being gay until that someone is their own child. Rather than being part of a support mechanism, they then get wildly upset in a misguided effort to ‘protect’ their child from the terrible life they imagine he or she will have.

It was also correctly noted that there are two Irelands: the affluent and somewhat tolerant Dublin suburbs where Tubridy lives and works and the rural communities in which being gay is not quite as acceptable as it is in a Little Britain sketch.

But the connection was never really made between all of these issues and the Pride march for which Tubridy had originally questioned the necessity. Once it had been established that there was indeed a ‘gay rights problem’ and that people had suffered prejudice, it seemed to be taken for granted by all sides that one of the solutions to this pageant of grievances was a parade of gay people.

Homophobia, especially the underhandedly discreet Irish version of it, is simply too slippery a disease to be truly challenged by taking to the streets. Pride marches are a mass for the converted. They don’t encourage those inside the closet door (when you’re young and not yet out, the banner-waving, badge-wearing brand of homosexuality is actually fairly intimidating) and they certainly they don’t deter bullies from daubing houses of gay couples with graffiti. Much as in the North, marches always seem more like insecure theatrics from an embattled minority than any true expression of empowerment. Real security in oneself isn’t bellowed through a megaphone or shouted from a podium once a year. It’s lived in what Yeats called “the little round of deeds and days”.

In a gay rights context,it’s in making neither a secret nor an issue of one’s sexuality.

But, of course, there is a double standard there. Gay people are frequently accused of “shoving it in people’s faces” when actually they’re just going about their business as anyone else would. An organiser of the pride parade in Sligo rightly pointed out that many of the things that straight people take for granted – holding hands in public, for example – would constitute “making a big deal out of one’s sexuality” if done by gay people. And she’s right. But holding hands is not comparable with marching.

No straight person would ever feel the need to march to show how ‘proud’ they were of being straight. As tennis champion Martina Navratilova (who suffered her own fair share of bigotry) once said, “sexuality is not an accomplishment, so what’s to be proud of?”

There is also a sense of unease among many gay people that Pride marches, with their drag queens and butch lesbians, reinforce tiresome stereotypes that most gay people spend a lifetime privately battling. Even if those people (who, of course, have their place in the gay community -if such a thing can be said to exist), are not all there is to a march, that’s what the media will focus on and that’s generally the only image that’s sent out.

Ryan Tubridy got it badly wrong when he wondered whether there was any “gay issue” in Ireland in 2006 and some of his ideas of human sexuality seem almost quaintly old-fashioned. But it would be wrong to describe him as a bigot and by Wednesday, he was still sheepishly apologising for “the ideas in my naive little head”. The debate was good-natured and to their credit, he and his producers allowed more space to the discussion of gay rights issues than any RTE programme in recent memory.

And though by the end of the week he seemed convinced otherwise, in questioning whether there was actually a need for Gay Pride parades, he may not have been so naive after all.