29 Jun 2012
As you might imagine, it's pretty busy chez Bliss this week with Pride in full swing, but it gets me out of the house!
Yesterday I was invited to the US embassy to a screening of the documentary Stonewall Uprising and to take part in a panel discussion afterwards.
As you'd expect, security at the embassy is tight - the full airport style check - and you are not allowed bring any "electronic equipment" in with you so they take your phone. Which is a pity because I'd never been inside the US embassy before and it's pretty wonderful inside and I'd have liked to have taken some pics. In the middle of the round building is a "rotunda', a round full height space with circular balconies with brass railings rising four stories around a central "courtyard".
After some chatting, snacking and drinking, the screening took place in the rotunda with seats filling the floor space for an invited audience of members of the LGBT community representing a wide range of organisations and community groups.
Afterward I took part in a panel discussion along with Brad, the embassy man who'd organised the event, Moninne from Marriage Equality, and Siobhan, the LGBT Officer from the Union of Students in Ireland.
It was a great event, and clearly a very personal one for Brad who spoke about his own sexuality and at one stage while talking about some of the various events that have happened to mark Pride in US embassies around the world after Obama asked the embassies to engage with local gay communities, he suddenly broke down in tears and couldn't continue. It was very sweet. Though I suddenly had to jump into the breach and talk to spare him his blushes!
I had to leave pretty quickly after the discussion because I needed to get back to Pantibar for our Pride Make & Do Do, and while in the taxi on the way there, I got a text to let me know that anywhere up to a 130 European gay police officers were heading to Pantibar. Dublin is currently hosting a conference for the European Gay Police Officers Association and after a long day conferencing they needed a little glamour in their lives.
(Some of the visiting officers meeting the President and his Missus: pic Photocall Ireland)
And a jolly and attractive bunch they were. We even stayed open a smidgen late last night because I figured, what was going to happen if a Garda came along?!
However, although the Gardai and visiting police officers themselves were reluctant to discuss it, the major topic of conversation among the rest of the customers in the bar last night (after which of the policemen you'd most like to play Cops & Robbers with) was the growing controversy about the attitude of the Irish Commissioner to the wearing of the Garda uniform in tomorrow's Pride parade.
All of the delegates to the conference will be marching in the parade tomorrow in their uniforms - except the Irish officers. Apparently the Commissioner has refused permission for the Irish officers to wear their uniforms. Not even their dress uniforms (so it has nothing to do with confusing the general public, thinking they were officers on duty or whatever). Indeed, apparently the Commissioner didn't even want the visiting officers to wear their uniforms but the union caused a fuss. In the end the Irish officers were told they could wear their uniforms to visit the President in the Áras, but there was no budging on the parade issue. So, while all the visiting officers will be marching in their full and fine regalia, the Irish officers will be in their civvies.
As Catherine Tate's "Gran" would say: What a load of old shit!
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