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  • 15 Feb 2009

    No More Mr Nice Gay

    Lazy-arsed queers.

    On Saturday afternoon, Penny and I went to the ‘LGBT Noise’ demonstration on Dame St to support their campaign for gay marriage (and against the weak, second class, civil partnership bill that is due to come before the Dáil - though I wouldn’t hold your breath). There were about 150 people there, mostly the usual suspects, and we had a pleasant, social afternoon. Long time activist Tonie Walsh made a rousing speech (delightfully, he couldn’t resist aiming a few kicks at the Catholic Church. I howled when he referred to the Pope as “that German eunuch in Rome”!) and Penny got lots of attention and met a few other gay dogs.. It was nice to see some politically engaged young gays, and those of us who were there had our batteries recharged somewhat. And I think Noise were happy with the turn-out as it was a lot more than their last demonstration at the Dáil.

    But 150 people? That’s pathetic. There were a couple of thousand gays drinking and dancing and hitting on Brazilians within a 500 yard radius of Dame St twelve hours earlier. Where the fuck were they? Where the fuck is the righteous anger?

    When some bouncer in the George is mean to a drunk gay, the forums light up with horrified nellies, protests are mooted, and Facebook groups are set up. But when a fundamental human right, available to everyone in every civilisation since the formation of human societies is denied them, they can’t be arsed getting out of bed. Where is the righteous anger?

    When Sunday clubbing hours are curtailed, angry gays join angry protests outside the Dáil, petitions clog up our inboxes, and outraged gays shout about the nanny state. But when the government that taxes them the same as everyone else, tells them that in return they’ll only have some of the same rights afforded to everyone else, they can’t be arsed having brunch an hour later than usual. Where the fuck is the anger?

    When Alexandra and a bunch of other people you’d never heard of a few weeks earlier, make it to the X Factor final, you won’t leave the house and no one can get through to you because you’re furiously text voting, but when you’re told you’re a second class citizen and your relationships aren’t real relationships, you can’t be arsed walking over to Dame St from H&M because the cute assistant has just gone to check if they have that cute jacket in your size. Where the FUCK is your righteous anger?

    And don’t bother telling me that you’re not interested in marriage. That you think it’s an outmoded institution, a hangover from a patriarchal society that was only about the protection of property. I don’t give a crap. Plenty of other gays do want to get married, and you should be furious on their behalf. Furious that something as basic and fundamental as marriage, something that is taken for granted by everyone else, something that society expects, encourages and cherishes for everyone else, is closed off to them, and them only. Anyone else can get married. Any race, any creed, any gender… Hell! Any idiot, murderer, rapist, child molester. Any asshole, racist, queer-basher. Any dumb-fuck soccer hooligan. Any mentally disturbed lunatic. But not the gays! The sky will fall down!

    And where were those gays who do want to get married? The ones who’ll be rushing to the registry office if and when the weak-brewed, watered down, domestic partnership version of marriage is thrown at us to shut us up, and the government slaps itself on the back for being modern and progressive.

    Why the fuck are you watching your Sex In The City box-set when you should be rioting in the streets?

    What is it going to take to make you angry? What is the spark that will finally light a fire under you? Are you waiting for a gay Rosa Parks? Well, you have one. In fact you have two. Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan have already refused to sit at the back of the bus. Do you need a gay Emiline Pankhurst to throw herself under the King's horse? Will that finally wake you up? If you think the fact that you can hold hands with your boyfriend in Top Shop is progress enough, then that’s all your going to get. If you act like a second class citizen, you’ll be treated like one.

    And it’s not just the gays I’m pissed off with.

    I’m pissed off with the pensioners. When their medical cards were threatened, the streets were in tumult with anger. And rightly so. But the sleight against the pensioners was much less than the one against us. The government wanted wealthy pensioners, who could afford it, to pay for their medical expenses, not deny them all a fundamental right given to everyone else. Can you imagine the reaction if the government had decided that pensioners marriages were no longer valid? Or even if their marriages were to be downgraded to a weaker version of marriage, a faux marriage, because after all, old people’s relationships aren’t real, they’re just pretend relationships so a pretend marriage should be good enough for them. They would have torched the Dáil. And the pensioners didn’t protest alone. Gay people were out on the streets. Gay people wrote to newspapers. Gay people lobbied their Td’s, called radio shows, threatened to oust the government at the earliest opportunity. But where are the old folk when we need them? Why isn’t your granny calling Joe Duffy to express her outrage that you are expected to take on all the responsibilities of citizenship, but only some of the rights. And don’t tell me she has a religious objection! I don’t give a toss if she has a religious objection. She’s welcome to it! We’re not asking to get married in her church. We’re asking - demanding - the right to civil marriage, under the same law, in the same state, that we too are supposedly equal citizens of. It’s pay back time Granny. Quid pro quo.

    And where are the bloody students? When college fees were muted, gay people rallied too. We scratched their back, and now they can bloody well scratch ours. Quid pro quo. And the farmers? Quid pro quo. And the unions! Where are the bloody unions? Gay people pay union fees too. And the nurses, and the teachers, and the rest. In the 80’s, the Dunnes Stores workers went on strike rather than handle oranges that came from apartheid South Africa, a country and a people half a world away. And yet they couldn’t give a toss that the guy working on the check-out beside them is segregated.

    But it’s hard to see why they should care when you don’t seem to.

    Perhaps the problem is that we gays have wanted to be left alone for so long, that we’re used to keeping our heads down. We don’t like to draw attention to ourselves by rocking the boat. Well I’m fed up not rocking the boat. It’s my bloody boat too! I want to scream and shout and kick and throw things. I want to riot! I want to take to the streets and hurl abuse. I want people to know how pissed off I am. I want to break things and tell the people who campaign to keep us in our place to fuck off. I want to scream, “How DARE you! How fucking dare you stick you nose into my business! How dare you try to tell me who I can and cannot marry?! How dare you tell me that my relationships aren’t real?! How fucking dare you! Fuck off and mind your own bloody business, you interfering, mean-spirited, petty, backward, ignorant, patronising asshole!

    I have a lot of respect for ‘NOISE’ and their campaign. At least they’re doing something. But I think the time for protests that are about making pretty pictures that will hopefully make it into the Evening Herald are over. What we need, is righteous anger. What we need is a Stonewall riot. Oh I’m not suggesting we rip up the pavement slabs and loot Arnotts. But what we need is a 1,000 gays to get angry on the street. What we need is 2,000 gays with eggs to turn up at the Lenister House railings at Merrion Square and have them hail down on the cars of country TD’s, to chain the gates shut, to refuse to move, to pour paint on the pavements. What we need is for 50 gays to get arrested. So what if we get arrested? A day in court and a fine? We’ll have a whip round! But we need to get angry. We need to be our own spark.

    No more Mister Nice Gay.




    • Posted By Ashley 10 Aug 2010 10:45

      This is a really quality post.I find this information through Google. Great job. Oh!It's so nice!I like it so much! Thank you for you give me so beactiful feeling!!

    • Posted By Louise McCormack 04 May 2010 01:02

      That was fucking moving!

    • Posted By God 30 Mar 2010 10:43

      lol gays

    • Posted By Jessica Maybury 27 Mar 2010 14:37

      Where the fuck IS the righteous anger??


    • Posted By Kro IT Solutions 27 Mar 2010 09:19

      Best of luck tonight at the IBA10 - see you there!!

    • Posted By Mairead Enright 21 Mar 2010 22:28

      Hey. Really enjoyed the post. Can you get in touch with us at Human Rights in Ireland about the possibility of some blogging solidarity on our part? maireadenright[at]


    • Posted By Sheryl 24 Nov 2009 19:02

      I will always stick up for the minorities until they are equal.

    • Posted By Brendan O'Loughlin 15 Aug 2009 01:21

      The event that got some of the most coverage for gays recently was the 'impromptu' protest at the gates of Leinster House. The media love a juicy story.... parades and rallys are BORING. They need headline-grabbing ammunition! And who better to grab headlines than gays? They LOVED the chaining-to-the-gates and the mounting the walls of Government Buildings. And excuse me, but aren't half the bloody media gay?! So once we cause a stir, get in on every TV and radio station and in every newspaper - we can change things! The media have so much power to change people's minds, and to put pressure on the Government. We've got to keep kicking-ass and grabbing headlines to get noticed and make changes.

    • Posted By Feel the rage and do it anyway 30 Apr 2009 22:41

    • Posted By HIV Fabulous 30 Apr 2009 21:54

      on another point... A PRIDE PARADE ISN'T ENOUGH ANYMORE WE NEED MORE Why doesn't Panti work on her contacts in RTE and get present the weather forecast on the 9 o'clock news the evening before the big parade... giving special fashion tips for the big event the very next day? PUSH PUSH PUSH FIGHT BACK KICK BACK NO MORE NICE GAYS "but some of my best friends are gay" YEAH THEY MAKE LOVELY FUCKING PETS... Hi, I'm Panti, I'm YOUR weather girl, and HAVE *I* got news for you... better listen unhuh... ;-)

    • Posted By EF 30 Apr 2009 21:40

      Let's just recap shall we? A convicted rapist - can get married A convicted serial killer - can get married A convicted murderer - can get married A convicted child molester - can get married A non-national - can get married A tourist - can get married A bisexual - can get married All and fucking sundry, it seems - can get married ! BUT if you're Gay or Lesbian and want to marry someone of the same sex? TAKE A BACK SEAT!, you can't sit in the front row TAKE A BACK SEAT! you can't walk up the aisle TAKE A BACK SEAT! you can't say "I do" WELL FUCK THAT CROCK OF SHIT FUCK THEM AND THE HORSE THEY RODE IN ON... I WANT YOUNG KIDS WHO BLURT OUT THE CLASSIC LINE IN INNOCENCE When I grow up I want to marry another boy... or When I grow up I want to marry another girl... to be able to say that in the knowledge that in Ireland, in the near future YES THEY CAN Can we change our laws YES WE CAN Can we mould our world YES WE CAN Can we push further and further to full equality and parity of esteem YES WE FUCKING CAN but not without the anger not without the determination not without the passion not without the rage not without the intelligence not without the organisation not without the commitment YES WE CAN

    • Posted By Siobhan Doyle 06 Apr 2009 22:06

      I'm with you guys, and it's not just about the Gayers getting out on the street either. It's about Straights, and Bi's and Maybe's and Trannys and everyone in between... these are YOUR rights we're fighting for. I'm one of the people who's only too happy to set up a facebook group in protest about something, but when it comes down to it, I don't have the time. And I'm mortified at how much of a lazy arsed armchair activist I've become... but I'm getting out on Sunday and I'll be out again and again in rain or snow till we stop the gradual erosion of human rights in Ireland.

    • Posted By Ailbhe S 18 Feb 2009 10:56

      Yes! Absolutely right on the button dear Auntie Panti (and Penny). It was a really well choreographed protest, effective, visual, GREAT FUN, and not well attended. Sad. Bad. Not Nice to Know about at all. SO - what about A GREAT BIG OUTRAGED GAY STRIDE THROUGH TOWN - soon - organised, choreographed, devised (styled?) by all of us - including the wonderful NOISE people, and all our other LGBT organisations and and and....... Auntie Panti and Penny of course. love Ailbhe

    • Posted By Anna 18 Feb 2009 08:44

      Hi Michael, Just to point out that some of the country's finest constitutional lawyers believe that a constitutional amendment is not necessary. This is misinformation that the government are peddling as an excuse. A simple vote in the Dail changing the Civil Registration Act to gender neutral marriage would give us marriage equality in the morning (obviously other laws would have to be tied up too just to add gender neutral terms). Another point is that the state is bound by the constitution to 'protect marriage from attack'. This has been interpreted as meaning that marriage should not be 'undermined'. If Civil Partnership were made available to straight couples that would undermine marriage (imo, as the constitution stands). If they were simply to allow gay couples to marry this would not create a separate institiution that could undermine marriage. Therefore give us marraige equality and then have a constitutional amendment for a form of civil partnership that is open to both straight and gay people (if that is the logic the government wish to follow). It should be about equality of choice available to a citizen as to how they protect their relationship. Saying that opening marriage to gay people 'undermines' marriage is an incredibly homophobic statement. How are we so inherently inferior !?! Equality is equality, no half measures. Well said Panti!!!!!

    • Posted By micheal O Malley 18 Feb 2009 02:08

      Anger. What use is it? Our desire to be equal matches the right of people to have divorce and the womans right to choose an abortion. I grew up in an Ireland when none of those choices were free and indeed one of them is still not free. We live in a nation that has a rigid constitutionn, alot of which we should be proud of , other Nations have followed us legally and constiutionally some and I am proud of that but as far as I know our rigid consitution is based around fair maidens dancing at the crossroads (and not the destruction of land and our ancient proud history such as the building of the N3 destroying our ancient past) So now we have a government which has more or less been in power for the last 10 years or so. They hit it high when the economics matched the ability to tell lies. I ain't complaiaing times where good money was there But FF did nothing to make life equal. Actually FG hate us apparently. High achievers in politics where really photo ops. It is time to stand up. It is time to be vocal It is time to add to the 150 NOISE makers TO be honest I feel shame I haven't stood up We all should I know Panti I love what she does Rory I likewise respect Times are tough. Now is the time to seek and demand equality We deserve it. Actually . We are who we are. Marraige equality will take a constitution change if you want to call it Marraige. If you want it you deserve it. I'm not willing to settle for less

    • Posted By Risingmeup 17 Feb 2009 20:32

      Actually going and seeing your TD might help with the anger and be more productive. I went to see Chris Andrews and he had absolutely no idea about the issues involved. He hardly know the differnce between civil marriage and civil partnership. He hadn't met too many gay ppl from what I could gather but by the end of our talk he was very supportive. TDs work for us, the voters- we need to go and tell them face to face what we want. Pelting their cars with eggs won't explain to them the difference between civil partnership and civil marriage. Marriage Equality helped me figure out who my local TDs where. Their website has a little map and everything. Go and tell/demand from your TD what you want or else them that you won't be voting for them at the next election. And Marriage Equality say that emails and letters to TDs don't really get read by anyone other than the intern so go and see them, nearly all of them are available at least once during the week. They need to see that gay people are just regular people who have most of the same concerns as they do. Ask them how would they like it if they were told they should wait for equality, or if they had to pay extra taxes coz of who they love or if they were deamed a stranger to their own kid?! !?

    • Posted By John Byrne 17 Feb 2009 19:25

      Best blog I have ever read, well done Panti, I hope it sparks a fire. Its worth saying again; ...what we need is a 1,000 gays to get angry on the street. What we need is 2,000 gays with eggs to turn up at the Lenister House railings at Merrion Square and have them hail down on the cars of country TD’s, to chain the gates shut, to refuse to move, to pour paint on the pavements. What we need is for 50 gays to get arrested. Get pissed off people! Get your mates pissed off, and piss off every TD in the fucking country.

    • Posted By Rory 17 Feb 2009 14:53

      Here here! I must say I was one of the guys who didn't go out to protest. My political activism has been limited to marching at pride. :(

    • Posted By Joe Morgan 17 Feb 2009 11:32

      Great stuff Panti - I havent been to one of these protests before - but ill be at the next one - and I'll bring my granny!

    • Posted By Risingmeup 17 Feb 2009 08:16

      'You don't win playing for a draw'- exactly!!! Well said.

    • Posted By Polofruit 17 Feb 2009 00:37

      Miss P, this is one of the best and most rousing posts I've seen on anything anywhere! There's something very, very depressing about a few of the comments here though. I can't believe there's still talk of 'fractured campaigns' - with a bit of thought it should be obvious to all how the campaign works: GLEN, while doing all their other work on gay rights (like anti-homophobia stuff with the FAI), stalk the corridors of power lobbying for marriage and/or the best partnership bill possible. The KAL Initiative/ MarriagEquality are in the courts, lobbying government, and doing what I think is the single most important piece of the whole campaign - organising and supporting gay people (and their families and friends) to go to their TD's to speak personally about marriage, family rights and the rest. Then you have Noise, doing stunts that get the issue in the media and marches that let people get actively involved in the fight for their own rights - Saturday rocked, and while I appreciate what GLEN and MEq do behind the scenes, it felt really good to be involved and see other people being involved (including board-members of MarriagEquality and the NLGF - so much for marginalisation!). Taken together, that's nigh-on a 'perfect storm' of activism. It looks to me like the groups are covering almost all the bases as far as lobbying and participatory activism goes. In fact, it's being served up to us on a silver platter, and too many of us are (wilfully?) too blind to see it: quiet, behind-the-scenes visits/letters to local TD's through MarriagEquality if that's your thing, and shouty up-front activism with Noise if that's more your style. What we need to round it all off is a group (new or old) to take up the challenge of actively and publicly calling the media out on all the homophobic reporting that still goes on - whether it's the up-front bigotry of David Quinn, Breda O'Brien or John Waters; the entire Indo (see the hideous articles on lesbians and trans people in the past week?); the Daily Mail; the subtle ignorance of editors allowing confused reporting of issues like marriage, adoption and partnership; the lack of representation of our side on panel shows like Questions and Answers; or the brazen bias of Tom McGuirk when he interviews gay reps on RTE One. In fact, that might be something useful for bloggers to get their teeth into rather than slinking away into the insular, self-important sideline punditry evident in the link Suzy posted from Maman Poulet. Finally, to the idea that we should participate in what's rightly been called a degrading 'process' of incrememtal, crumbs-from-the-master's-table change...well, WHY?? Why should we ever let the likes of Mary Coughlan think they've mollified us, that they've done enough to shut us up for another generation? Why should we pretend to be happy with separate water-fountains, seats half-way up the bus, dog-licenses or any other spot-on metaphor for the insult that is civil partnership? To say we should whisht in case we ruin our chances is exactly the kind of naive, defeatist nonsense that FF, the Iona Institute and the Catholic Church want to hear from the gay community. It's also completely at odds with how the issue has developed since the FF/PD government shot down the Labour civil union bill back in 2007: in the period Noise and MEq have been active, and since the Greens (who also demand marriage) have been in government, the public and political debate has moved from 'recognition or not' to 'marriage or partnership'. That's a colossal, irreversible shift, and a milestone victory in the fight for equality. The idea that gay couples should be granted no recognition at all is now comprehensively rejected by the public, and that's pulled a fair part of FF's anti-gay rug out from under its feet. It must also be giving GLEN greater latitude to demand more from government. If it's not, it's at least crushed the 'Ireland's not ready' excuse. You don't win by playing for a draw. We will never attain equality if we're not willing to fight for it - and we will never win our rights as human beings and citizens of our country if we let our enemies know we'll settle for anything less.

    • Posted By Rebecca 17 Feb 2009 00:17

      I've posted this on different boards before, and it's a good bit old now (about 4/5) but I think it's still completely relevant and Harvey asks the same question you do Panti, where is our ANGER?

    • Posted By Philth 16 Feb 2009 23:56

      I would love to be proved wrong, but I get the overwhelming impression that while a majority support equal marriage rights, not enough people, LGBT or otherwise, really care about it themselves to do something about it off their own backs. Sad as it may seem, that means it's up to each of us who do care to make those who don't care now care enough in the not too distant future when we need them to march and write to their TDs. If you do care about this issue, do something. Anything. Text a friend about it. Make a Youtube about it. Write to your TD. Today. Now even. Every single one of them has an email address on the government website. It takes one Google of your time to find them. Write a blog post about it. Whatever you do, it will be more than had been done before you started, and it will contribute to the snowball effect that shapes all politics. Make no mistake either, it is the TDs who will fix this, but only when we make them. On a side note, I think a figurehead, whoever that might be, would do wonders for a campaign on this issue. It would give the media someone to focus on and the public someone to rally around. I'm delighted to see a bit of debate around this issue finally cropping up. Fair play Panti.

    • Posted By GLAMGAR 16 Feb 2009 23:40

      Well if we got our families and friends to support us that would be huge numbers of people. Thats how Prop 8 was so close, loads of families, friends and allies got out there.

    • Posted By noelie 16 Feb 2009 23:24

      I agree with most but I can't agree with the pensioners and students bit. The lesson from Prop 8 in California is that we can't blithely depend on anyone else to support us even if we've supported them at some point - they thought that black voters would understand the struggle for same sex marriage as a civil rights struggle yet the majority of black voters endorsed Prop 8 - we have to fight our own fights. Great post apart from that.

    • Posted By GLAMGAR 16 Feb 2009 22:50

      The Panti site loves me so much she posted me twice!! ;)

    • Posted By GLAMGAR 16 Feb 2009 22:47

      Well the bill is becoming law no matter what anyone does so I don't see how campaiging for ACTUAL equality is alienating anyone who worked on CP. Far as I know the ppl who worked on CP wanted to achieve equality but had to accept half measures. We have to ask for 100% coz that is what we deserve- anything less and we are agreeing that we don't deserve it or arent worthy of it. I don't think we need to be that defeatist with Mary Coughlan et al in the Dail. Look at Catholic Spain - they even have Fascist groups marching in the streets to this day and yet they brought in equal marriage rights to shut up the gays who kept asking for it so that they wouldn't have to keep going back to the issue. We shouldn't be so subservant as to think thats all we can get so we may as well take it and not, as Panti says, rock the boat.

    • Posted By GLAMGAR 16 Feb 2009 22:06

      Well the bill is becoming law no matter what anyone does so I don't see how campaiging for ACTUAL equality is alienating anyone who worked on CP. Far as I know the ppl who worked on CP wanted to achieve equality but had to accept half measures. We have to ask for 100% coz that is what we deserve- anything less and we are agreeing that we don't deserve it or arent worthy of it. I don't think we need to be that defeatist with Mary Coughlan et al in the Dail. Look at Catholic Spain - they even have Fascist groups marching in the streets to this day and yet they brought in equal marriage rights to shut up the gays who kept asking for it so that they wouldn't have to keep going back to the issue. We shouldn't be so subservant as to think thats all we can get so we may as well take it and not, as Panti says, rock the boat.

    • Posted By Sean 16 Feb 2009 22:04

      Sorry for another post but where do people like SugoiGay get off 'explaining' the 'political reality' to us other plebs. Lets grow up here. Marie Qeoghan Quinn (former justice minister) has stated publicly that the reason she put her weight behind decriminalisation 15 years ago was because of a mother who stood up in a Rally and asked her not to make her son a criminal. Politics in Ireland is local and our gutless Government have demonstrated many times that they are spineless followers of majority public opinion (hence the importance of protests making the media and the on-going poll data). Can people in the community stop playing politician and start acting. Panti has got me all riled up!

    • Posted By SugoiGay 16 Feb 2009 21:50

      I agree entirely with Una Rocks comment. The CP bill is far from ideal (and it's insulting that Fianna Fáil will allow no further rights for gay people) but it is important to recognise the hard work put into the CP bill by gay activists and our allies. Unfortunately, just wanting gay marriage and making a lot of noise about it doesn't work; not in country where backward yokels like Mary Coughlan and Dermot Ahern are in charge. It's rather akin to the transgender community in the US who lashed out at the Human Rights Campaign and the Democrats for not including protections against employment discrimination for transgender people in an ENDA bill that went before congress. Instead of supporting the sexual orientation protection bill, trans activists were furious and done serious damage to the gay rights movement by splintering it and causing in-fighting. It would be unwise to repeat that mistake by turning on the people who are on our side. That said, this was a fantastic post, Panti. Well said!

    • Posted By Risingmeup 16 Feb 2009 20:58

      Great post Panti! Benjamin the protest posters and flyers where everywhere I got at least three when I was out over one weekend! And it was on all the forums. I think Panti is right we need to get angry about this and tell people about it. Its a hard balance to strike though- if we go out there throwing eggs and paint over property and getting arrested the media and people will be like "Oh those gays, they want parenting rights is it?! Great example to set. etc etc" There are more powerful ways of expressing our anger. All the hundreds of people who march down the street on Pride - that is the kind of shit we need. Pride needs to get back its political mojo, and I think its trying after last years theme "Always the Brides Maid Never the Bride". I think its unfair to criticise Noise etc for being 'the Marriage only brigade'. They are the only rights group out on the streets, and in the bars and clubs talking to people about the issue that is the most immediate to our lives as the civil partnership bill will mostly likely be law by the summer. They are not 'forcing' marriage on anyone they are sayin that we deserve the choice to marry. If the civil partnership scheme was for straight people too I wouldn't have half as much a problem with it but its for gays only and thaty makes me SOO mad. Its like saying 'blacks only'. I don't see why just because they are campaigning on one equality issue they should be condemned - why not join with them to get that one step further. AND I was at the 'Milk' screening at Cineworld that Noise were flyering outside and the flyer was about the other discriminations faced by us - the religious exemption in the Equality Act, the blood ban etc. If you're not part of the solution, stop moaning and sounding like part of the problem! And they do work with other groups-.I was talking to one of them who gave me a flyer in the FL - I'm a feminist and we talked about marriage etc and she mentioned that they were in contact with the National Women's Council, who are behind the ERA Campaign, Amnesty Internaional and of obviously Marriage Equality. GLEN and Marriage Equality are the people lobbying behind the scenes, we need people on the streets too. We can't just leave it to the lobbists UnaRocks- its got to be a war on all fronts if we're to get anywhere. To the barricades with Panti!!

    • Posted By Benjamin 16 Feb 2009 19:36

      My name is Panti and I'm here to recruit you! Good post. I had no idea this was on, I would have gone otherwise, maybe I should have been more conscious of what was going on, but maybe it could have been better publicised. Next time you want us to move our asses just give us a little notice and I'm sure there'll be a good turnout.

    • Posted By Shem 16 Feb 2009 17:39

      I didnt go. and after reading this blog i feel ashemed for not taking part in NOISE. it would be 151 persons, not 150.

    • Posted By David N 16 Feb 2009 17:02

      What a fantastic blog! I was at the protest myself and was more than a little disappointed with the crowd. Midday, on a Saturday, on Dame Street - Could noise have made it any more accessible to people! Yet only 150 turned out, what a bloody disgrace! I myself am engaged and waiting for the day I have equal marital rights in my own county, not a watered down version to keep me quiet! I also wont be taking Tony Walsh’s advise and going to Belfast – I want my day in Dublin! I don’t need some gobshite in Government telling me my love is any less relevant to my straight peers – it’s time gay around the country began to picket their local TD’s, writing to them expressing their disappointment at being treated as a second class citizen, quit moaning “Oh it’s all so unfair!” over your drink on a Friday night and actually get of your arse and do something about it!

    • Posted By Vlad 16 Feb 2009 15:49

      It's a brilliant post. It is really sad that so few people decided to show up. I was expecting even less though - usually, when 120 people accept an invitation on Facebook, 25-30 of them do show up in the end. :-/ As for the last paragraph, I tend to believe that as in the questions of sexuality itself, when it comes to fighting for gay rights, diversity is really important. Currently, there are several groups which are doing good job at lobbying, looking for pro-marriage things in the existing laws (e.g., that great discussion recently about the necessity of same-sex unions with de facto married couple rights, since the Good Friday Belfast agreement implies that Irish gays should not have less rights than the NI gays!), there are groups doing peaceful protests (well, there IS a group - yay LGBT Noise), and that's great, but maybe we need a riot indeed? P.S. A technical question - do you think it will sometime be possible to throw in some plugin that sends e-mail notification about new comments to those who opted for that? It would be really great!

    • Posted By dillon 16 Feb 2009 14:38

      yeah i have to say i was pretty dissappointed in the amount of people there myself. i expected it to be a major event but it really was a small showing. i was talking about this to a friend of mine and she reckoned if this was paris there would be a proper riot - cars burning in the street. we seem to have developed this anaesthetised passivity as regards our lives in this country. i dont want to get married but i should fucking be allowed to. i was glad to be one of the few who could be bothered to take an hour out of my saturday afternoon to make a stand, even if it was a disappointly muted one.

    • Posted By babooska 16 Feb 2009 13:54

      Dear Panti That's a great post, well said. I dunno if you'll read these or if it's the best place to be posting this but I have some things to say about this stuff. I get angry like you about the lack of activism in the gay community, but to be honest that anger has waned in recent years as I've just accepted the fact that people just aren't that political. I think that the apathy and disengagement are symptoms of a wider malaise - I mean, people are cynical because empowerment is now just another marketing tool to manipulate us into spending money. Basic point, I think there'll never be a Stonewall moment here as long as people have money and the illusion of acceptance is maintained in order to for corporations to get that money. But I'm getting into the whole capitalism/democracy thing there. I’d like to make a point about the Civil Partnerships bill. The bill, believe it or not, is the culmination of patient and dedicated work by some gay & straight people who have that fire of activism that you mentioned. Those people who worked so hard for so long on seeing it realised would love nothing better than to rip it up and replace it with real, EQUAL marriage legislation, which was their starting point in negotiations. They saw a better virtue in getting us 80% of the way there now, rather than 100% of the way in 15 or 20 years. I know compromise is a dirty word, but we live in a consensual political system - everything is compromise. Really, everything! Even for homosexuality to be decriminalised took David Norris 12 years of legal battles, and an unprecedented once-in-a-generation rise in the Labour Party’s vote to achieve, and even then it was considered a brave move by Máire Geoghegan Quinn. Change in Ireland comes slow or not at all. The problem, and I know you'll agree, is Fianna Fáil, specifically Dermot Ahern. I didn't want to get party political here - but let's face it, he is doing everything in his power to try and hold up this bill, especially now that a government collapse is on the cards and an FF leadership election is at least a possibility again. I don't like it that for us to achieve equality tomorrow we must today denigrate the good work of those who care a damn sight more than the x factor/closing time irked/gratification obsessed gays you mentioned in your post. I'm not saying that you personally did denigrate them - but nobody is praising them, for political reasons, and hence they get tarred with the FF brush. What’s more: they know this and are prepared to be hated if it means they have achieved some justice in the end. More times than I care to count I've heard gay friends direct their righteous armchair indignation at the good guys, the people who are on their side fighting against the bigots and the ignoramuses and the religious freaks. If you accept that 90% of people just aren’t into politics or activism then you must agree that at least some of that ire is acquired from the 10% who should know better. I know I can be accused of being naive, but why do we have to do this? Why can’t we praise those people who worked on getting us the CP bill without appearing to be ‘not sound on the marriage question’? We all want proper, equal marriage rights – all of us. Why isn’t our righteous indignation directed at the real reason we don’t have full civil marriage, the only political party not to have their own policy on this – Fianna Fáil? It is an old FF trick to divide and conquer the opposition, and it’s working!

    • Posted By UnaRocks 16 Feb 2009 13:54

      I pretty much agree with everything that jermot says. I have total respect for Noise, absolutely, but while I as much as many other people would love to be forceful about this issue and stage a sit in @ government buildings until gay people got the rights we deserve, or tie the Minister for Justice up in a rainbow flag and hang him from the statue in Dragon, these tactics simply aren't practical. I'm all for protests and the demanding of rights, and I think Noise are doing a great job in getting young people involved and allowing their voices to be heard. The more voices the better, and their's is a vital one. However, I have occasionally been uncomfortable with the forceful nature of their rhetoric. Booing civil partnership at Pride last year, for example, was just silly. Do I want to be part of a group that in its quest for unity ends up excluding some people? No, not particularly. I want gay civil marriage. But it's not going to happen overnight. And we don't exist within a society that accomodates political forums based on forceful campaigning. The Civil Partnership Bill - which as we know, is totally inadequate, especially when it comes to rights of children in gay partnerships - is being horribly delayed. This sucks. But it will come to fruition. It will. And then in the near future gay marriage will become a part of our social landscape too. But this is a process. It's a desperate, discriminatory, humiliating process, but it's a process nonetheless. I know this sounds really fucking conservative and uncool to say, but I just think with Noise, pushing for something that isn't on the table while there are other inroads being made is slightly counterproductive. As I've said, I have a lot of respect for Noise, and indeed have friends involved in it and have publicised their events and offered them media advice and all that on several occassions. But when speaking to politicians at a parliamentary and ministerial level about the gay rights movement, the same issue always comes up. The political will is not there for this change, it's about public will (which I guess is how anything gets done in this fucking country.) And in a perfect world, gays could demand what they truly deserve and get it, but when there is a jump in demand as the non-gay public gets used to the Civil Partnership Bill, it tends to cause confusion and fear. Perhaps it's not the most practical thing to go for the jugular. That said, of course, it's absolutely outrageous that the rights of gay people are being so consistently denied, I don't think anyone is arguing against that. I would just be mindful about getting our message across in a coherant manner.

    • Posted By Sean 16 Feb 2009 13:33

      And for the record. All the polls to date (from the last two years) have demonstrated consistent majority support in the general public for civil marriage for LGBT people. The partnership bill is now fact. The idea of the campaign now (as I see it) is to shorten the window from partnership to marriage by bullying the incredibly conservative bunch in Leinster House. P.S The Platform I attended was advertised in GCN. Maybe contact the NLGF to see when the next one is on.

    • Posted By Sean 16 Feb 2009 13:26

      Suzy. Maybe you can outline what you mean by 'mistakes'? None have struck me. The media coverage from LGBT Noise that I have followed has always struck media as quite professional and very well spun (e.g. 6 foot Valentines card for bertie got excellent coverage). A nice tongue-in-cheek positive message. Or is having a hard-line pro-civil marriage angle a 'mistake'? I'd imagine you are in the minority if that is the only problem you can find. I don't really tend to contribute to these debates because it always seems that bloggers find it easier to attack and always get more comments for doing so.(Combined with a sense that if people who blog have not been directly and personally consulted, then the whole community is being ignored!)

    • Posted By jermot 16 Feb 2009 13:24

      There is a way of lobbying and getting things done, and the whole campaign on marriage equality is only serving to divide us. Change is incremental. you can't go from no partnership rights to marriage overnight. We need to bring people with us. most irish people, including the older generation are supportive of our rights, but by DEMANDING marriage, we turn them off. Also, can i suggest that it isn't helpful to condemn the catholic church at these events. there are many decent catholic people in ireland who we need on our side, and slagging off their religion is nto a good way to win them over.

    • Posted By Panti 16 Feb 2009 13:06

      @ Suzy I agree that a choice would be the best outcome, ie civil partnerships and marraige. But what I'm against is being treated differently than everyone else. Partnerships for the gays, and a choice for the rest. But I think picking out our differences is totally counter-productive. As a diverse community, we're never going to all agree on all the details, but surely everyone can get on-board with the general thrust of all the various campaigns and support them.

    • Posted By Suzy 16 Feb 2009 12:55

      I've written before on campaign methods/tactics/funding issues within the campaigns etc. including One thing going for LGBT Noise - they have no money - they held meetings and consulted people... There have been too many mistakes however and i know lots of people myself included don't feel comfortable with the messages or methods. On unity amongst the various groups there is not any - i don't know if the Platform for equality have met recently - if they have they have not told anyone? Those of us who are in favour of choice - ie civil partnership as well as marriage are also done with being spoken to like bold children by the 'marriage only' brigade. Meanwhile a civil partnership bill is to be published shortly and noone seems to be watching what is actually in it - they are soley focused on marriage only messages and we could end up with a load of rubbish completly. The Adoption Bill was published last month explicitly discriminating against same sex couples and not a word was heard from most groups about it. On the matter of why other groups don't come out and support us? Well we're not doing a great job in terms of solidarity with minority groups ourselves - cf. Equality Authority situation. I'm quite struck by the fact many other possible allies have said they are done with supporting lesbian and gay equality due to the lack of solidarity they receive or see in action from our organisations. Also many womens organisations are very uncomfortable with marriage only messages as it does not mean equality in their vast experience of assisting women in crisis.

    • Posted By Sean 16 Feb 2009 11:52

      Una Rocks. I don't get that. What methods are LGBT Noiseusing that you not agree with? The idea, I presume, is to attract media attention thereby applying pressure to the government. Is your only problem that the relatively successful and voluntary Noise campaign is 'marginalising' other campaigns? Maybe other campaigns need to step up a little then. As far as I can see LGBT Noise is a completely voluntary group run from donations. Why condemn it for trying to mobilise the gay community. On the second part about a coherent single voice campaign. I think that is just naive. Political lobbying (using both good cop/bad cop) in association with TD lobbying and visible protests represent the multi-faceted type of campaigning that should be happening. As far as I can see the various groups compliment eachother. They are also all joined under a single banner, Platform for Equality, chaired by the NLGF. I went to one of their joint meetings in OutHouse once. There seems to be lots of communication between the various groups. I'm sorry UnaRocks. But as far as I can see, your arguments represent some of the ill though out, ill informed, self centered arguments that abound in our small community. A little less critique and a little more participation would do all of us a lot better!

    • Posted By Panti 16 Feb 2009 11:44

      @ Una Rocks But what are the NOISE "methods" you don't agree with? Holding a protest? And while I'd love it if there was a unified response, it seems to me that NOISE are about the only group actively trying to achieve that and get young people really involved. I don't really see how they are 'drowning out' other groups. The fact that they're the most visible is to their credit. Of course it's good that there are other people working away quietly on a political level, but NOISE are the only ones trying to get a mass response. I think there can be a unified response if you, and your friends, and others like you, get on board with something that's less than perfect, rather than waiting for something perfect to come along. Come on Una, to the barricades! x

    • Posted By UnaRocks 16 Feb 2009 11:21

      Although I think apathy has a lot to do with it, the gay community really needs to examine how fragmented the various campaigns for civil partnership/marriage/equality have become. Personally, although I support 'in general' any gay rights group, I didn't go to the protest because I don't entirely agree with LGBT Noise's methods. I know loads of my gay peers feel the same way. Maybe that's why there were fewer people there, maybe it's down to that rather than the message? I really think everyone in LGBT Noise really believes in what they're doing, and their hearts are certainly in the right place, but it can't be denied that the dawn of such a vocal campaigning group has marginalised other groups. There doesn't seem to be much interaction between the various groups. I am of the belief that there should be a consistent, cooperative, unified and fully vocal civil partnership/marriage movement. At the moment, various factions seem to be drowning each other out and creating confusion. I also genuinely think that loads of gays (especially younger gays) don't give a flying fuck about gay marriage. Of course they should do, but it really isn't on top of the young gay agenda in Dublin, in my opinion.

    • Posted By Sean 16 Feb 2009 09:49

      mememe needs to change his name to growupgrowupgrowup. The posters and leaflets for this protest have been all over the scene for the last two or three weeks. i was accosted at least twice by people handing out flyers. I also saw it on a number of forums. That night the protest was covered on RTE news. Previous noise protests have been covered all over the media (see their website Enough of this BULLSHIT of attacking the group or the organisation or the advertising. YOU FAILED TO SUPPORT YOUR COMMUNITY! The gays need to start taking some personal responsibility. Fantastic blog.

    • Posted By Pink 16 Feb 2009 08:57

      Loving the blog :)

    • Posted By Darragh 16 Feb 2009 02:50

      ok i loved it so much i made a video....

    • Posted By suks 16 Feb 2009 00:25

      Like Hometime, I was working. That said, I can't honestly claim that I would have gone if I wasn't working. However, after reading this passionate piece, I'll make it my business to be at the next one.

    • Posted By Darragh 15 Feb 2009 23:54

      damn right! i would have been there but i didn't know it was on! i too shall be reposting this.

    • Posted By n 15 Feb 2009 23:17

      there needs to be BIG protests before this bill is brought in so the government can SEE we're not happy with it. ireland is one of the few countries in the world trying to bring this in while people are still being abused and murdered for being homosexual

    • Posted By Hometime 15 Feb 2009 22:39

      I was confined to barracks and couldn't get there but feel shamed by this brilliant post. I'm going to copy and paste it hither and yon (hope you don't mind, Panti). Beautifully eloquent. Thanks for writing this.

    • Posted By mememe 15 Feb 2009 22:07

      Brava! I hadn't heard about the protest but I probably wouldn't have gone anyway because I've been pretty uninterested in the situation. I think you're correct in saying that the reason we're not angry about this situation is that we have become so used to keeping out heads down. I do think however that the proposed new legislation will be progess and it will only be a matter of time after that before the full marriage rights will be introduced. Perhaps Noise need to work harder at getting people to show up at these things. If I'd known ud be there I would totally have gone I agree with what you're saying about protests not being enough. Noise need to be more creative and get publicity in a different way. We're a minority population so we're not gonna make a big impact with a protest even if a large percentage of us show up. I would suggest publicity stunts. Get in the papers. Do a viral campaign. Use celebrities. Cause controversy. Also we need to get str8 ppl to see things from our point of view. The pensioners comparison is a perfect example.

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