Ireland’s first LGBTQ+ history festival took place in Cork over the weekend. Launched on Friday night by Senator David Norris, the two-day festival celebrated LGBTQ+ history both local and global.
It featured a diverse mix of screen media, spoken presentations, theatre, music and more.
“This event is important because it really is about ‘outing the past’,” said Dr Diarmuid Scully of University College Cork and the event organising committee. “Until very recently, LGBT+ people were outcasts — silenced and written out of history.
“Or else they were written into history by their oppressors as criminals and offenders against God, nature and society. This event is taking place in the City Hall, the symbolic heart of Cork’s civic society.
“It demonstrates the advance of LGBT+ rights in Ireland — the right to tell our story in our own voice, and to share our history with the whole community in the most significant, official public spaces.”
Padraig Rice, Coordinator of the Gay Project, said: “Because of the work of David Norris and others through the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s — young gay men like me can live fuller and freer lives.
“We want to celebrate and acknowledge and thank them for what they have done. Ireland is, through their actions, closer to being a Republic of equals.”
Ireland’s first National Gay Conference — held in Cork in 1981 — called on activists and community members to make the commemoration and celebration of LGBTQ+ history a priority.
“The conference called for historians ‘to conduct research into the as yet, unwritten history of gay people in Ireland,” said Mr Rice. “We feel like this event is starting to answer that call.”
Orla Egan, from the LGBT Archive project noted: “Cork has a long and rich history of LGBT activism, community formation and development...
It is appropriate then that Cork hosts this free LGBT History Festival, bringing our history to a wide audience.”
“It is appropriate then that Cork hosts this free LGBT History Festival, bringing our history to a wide audience with a range of talks, exhibitions, films and theatre.”