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Stay Safe Online (Nov 16)
7 Feb 2014

Watch Panti Bliss, Irish Drag Queen, Give an Impassioned Speech Against Homophobia

This month it emerged that Irish televesion network redacted Rory O'Neill's comments about homophobia and paid off a Catholic lobbying group. Here's what he has to say about it.

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Over the weekend, Rory O'Neill, who is also known as Irish drag queen Panti Bliss, made an impassioned and heartfelt speech about the nature of homophobia following the conclusion of a play at the national theatre of Ireland, the Abbey.

According to Irish publication The Journal, the debate itself stemmed from a television network's redaction of comments made by Panti Bliss on the air earlier in the week about what constitutes homophobia. In addition to rescinding the drag queen's comments, the network also reportedly paid off a Catholic lobbying group who was called homophobic by Panti Bliss during his time on the network.

In this impassioned and incredible speech during the Feb. 1 debate, Panti Bliss defends his statements and beautifully articulates why he believes certain actions and intentions can be considered homophobic, and the real life ramifications of homophobia (including internalized homophobia) on queer people

Last weekend, Rory O'Neill, who is also known as Irish drag queen Panti Bliss, made an impassioned and heartfelt speech about the nature of homophobia following the conclusion of a play at the national theatre of Ireland, the Abbey.

According to Irish publication The Journal, the debate itself stemmed from a television network's redaction of comments made by Panti Bliss on the air earlier in the week about what constitutes homophobia. In addition to rescinding the drag queen's comments, the network also reportedly paid off a Catholic lobbying group who was called homophobic by Panti Bliss during his time on the network.

In this impassioned and incredible speech during the Feb. 1 debate, Panti Bliss defends his statements and beautifully articulates why he believes certain actions and intentions can be considered homophobic, and the real life ramifications of homophobia (including internalized homophobia) on queer people.

Reader's Comments

1. 2014-02-10 00:59
Did somebody say that an actual member in Ireland (even though I'm leaving when this membership expires) - who's also a journalist - would be Very helpful to have right now, to add context to the story?! ;-)

You see...

Appearing out of drag on RTE, the State broadcaster, 'Panti' named specific people who he said are homophobic, and after a brief war of words between RTE and the individuals concerned (who don't particularly say there should be gay marriage or adoption - let's put it That way to describe them), it was decided that paying them a total of €85,000 would be the easiest, cheapest way to resolve their complaint - that they had been called homophobic on the national channel, as bad as being called racists or bigots etc.

This is where the 'Pantigate' story grew legs, as we say.

There is now a Huge row in Ireland regarding the core matter - that if someone, anyone is accused of being a homophobe, legal threats of court cases can silence their accuser, thus stopping Any real, public debate over homophobia in Ireland, and thus, incidentally, acting as a threat to the right of free speech.

LGBT groups are furious about the payments, as are civil rights watchdogs, political figures, and others. Indeed, Ireland has some - not many, but some - openly gay politicians, who also publicly condemned the whole matter, saying that they are equal citizens of Ireland - a country they love - and that homophobia must be tackled.

(As extra context, Ireland has legalised a few years ago Civil Ceremonies for gay couples, but 2015 is when a public Referendum will ask The People to vote for or against approving Gay Marriage in Ireland, which would have a Lot of legal consequences, ranging from adoption and parenting rights to recognising gay marriages from other countries. While Irish people are, broadly speaking, mostly fine with gay people, Gay Marriage could be divisive - seen as a 'step too far'; indeed, there are already nasty stirrings of blatantly anti-gay views, even if they're at odds with the general population's acceptance/indifference.)

As for Pantigate, the row is not yet over. There have been public demonstrations about the payment, parliamentary questions/government statements about it, and a Lot of editorials in the media, and some political programme's coverage.

At this point, Pantigate's 'legs' are longer than Panti's - no mean feat - as this story/row continues to develop, regarding homophobia, debate, and gay rights issues. It also serves to remind the world that Ireland is *not* the sleepy, backward, Catholic country its cliches always show us to be (although we tend to Play The Game, and market the country That way, for tourism), but that several steps have already been taken to develop gay rights and respect, both legally and culturally.

The problem now is that gay marriage/adoption in Ireland - yes, yes, won't somebody think of the children - are now not only almost the last hurdles for gay equality in Ireland, but also the biggest to get past. Let's hope Panti's legs are up to the challenge...
Comment edited on 2014-02-10 04:15:21
2. 2014-02-11 16:08
Jeez, that was ill conceived.

So everyone is a homophobe to some degree at some time then?

Sound like pantis down is just pissed she didn't get any money.

Religion will take an age to die. Fighting it will only make it live longer. Gentle, long term education is the key. You can't force people to think a certain way.
3. 2014-02-18 17:23
GTiLad- you can bring a horse to water, you can't make it drink, you can bring a horticulture (whore to culture) you can't make it think
Would actually be nice of people actually thought at all, how kind of the RCC to liberate its flock from the unpleasant business of having to think for themselves or question anything- they burned Giordano Bruno & many many many others
Every great truth is born in a great heresy

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