LGBT culture in Ireland

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LGBT life on the island of Ireland is made up of persons who are either gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender/transsexual.

Queer culture and history[edit]


There was all-party support in 2010 for the Civil Partnership Bill which provided for legal recognition for the relationships of same-sex couples.

As of August 2014, all parties in the Dáil support same-sex marriage: the Labour Party,[1] the Green Party,[2] the Socialist Party,[3] Sinn Féin,[4] Fianna Fáil[5][6] and Fine Gael.[7]

In December 2006 the Labour Party reintroduced a civil unions bill which they brought before the Dáil in March 2007. The bill was supported by Fine Gael, Sinn Féin, the Green Party and the majority of independents, however it was opposed by the two Government Parties of Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats which lead to its defeat. The Labour Party, promised that a bill legalising gay adoption would be on the top of their priorities should they assume control of the Government in the 2007 general election, but they did not manage to do so. In the aftermath of the General Election, the Labour Party reintroduced their Civil Unions Bill, which was supported by Sinn Féin and Fine Gael. The Green Party, then part of the governing coalition, voted against the bill, favouring their continued advocacy for same-sex partnership rights from within the government.

Before the 2011 general election, the Labour Party manifesto included a commitment to a referendum to allow same-sex couples to marry. This was mentioned as an item for the Constitutional Convention in the Programme for Government between Labour and Fine Gael after the election.

In 2006, at the opening of the new headquarters of the gay rights organisation GLEN in Dublin, the then-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said:

The only Irish political party that has officially come out in opposition to LGBT rights is the small Christian Solidarity Party, which has never been successful electorally, at either local or national level.

Openly gay Oireachtas members[edit]


Ireland's longest running LGBT publication is Gay Community News, which was first published in 1988 before homosexuality was legal in Ireland. In April 2013, EILE Magazine[11]was launched, serving as a new platform for Ireland's LGBT community.

The national broadcaster RTÉ provides various LGBT related programming, such as the television documentary Growing Up Gay or the drama series Raw, which contained gay characters and gay-related storylines. The RTÉ programme Telly Bingo was presented from 2001–2004 by drag queen Shirley Temple Bar. The radio station RTÉ Pulse schedules Wednesday nights as Gay Wednesday where they broadcast programming related to the gay community. Drag queen Joanna Ryde is a presenter on regional youth station Beat 102 103.

Gay life in the country[edit]

Cities and towns[edit]

The gay scene in Ireland is quite developed and Irish society has become more open and tolerant as a result of increased levels of prosperity and rising liberal attitudes. Indeed many foreigners comment that for such a small island nation of 6 million, there's so much going on, with vibrant gay scenes in all Irish cities Dublin (2 superpubs, 2 gay bars + 13 club venues), Belfast (1 superpub, 3 gay bars + 5 club venues), Cork (4 bars + 5 club venues), Limerick, Derry, Galway and Waterford. There are 8 Gay Lesbian Resource centres in Ireland, 1 LGBT centre in Dublin, 1 LGBT centre in Belfast, 1 gay centre and 1 lesbian centre in Cork, 1 LGBT drop-in centre in Limerick, 1 LGBT centre in Derry, 1 LGBT centre in Waterford and 1 LGBT drop-in centre in Dundalk.

There are also some gay communities in the smaller towns in Ireland. Strabane has a gay bar, and Castlebar, Dundalk, Drogheda, Ennis, Kilkenny Newry, Sligo and Tullamore have occasional gay club nights.

Gay pride[edit]

All Irish cities and many smaller towns celebrate Gay Pride with parades and festivals.

The town of Sligo with less than 20,000 inhabitants has its own annual Gay Pride parade and festival and is warmly received and supported by the local population, something which is becoming increasingly common in rural Ireland. It is more than likely the smallest city in the world with its own gay pride parade.

The gay scene across the island of Ireland is brought together during the annual Alternative Miss Ireland drag contest, Ms Gay Ireland and Mr Gay Ireland events.

Bear Movement[edit]

As in many other countries around the world, the Bear Community has taken hold in Ireland and continues to grow. The bear movement is a counter culture to the mainstream gay scene and challenges the stereotypes of gay men. Everything masculine is celebrated within the Bear community. There are Bear events held monthly in Belfast[12] and in Dublin.[13] An all Ireland Bear Event called Béar Féile is due to take place on the 25–28 March 2010. Béar Féile is the first event of its kind to take place in Ireland.[14]

St. Patrick's day[edit]

Saint Patrick's Day is another occasion for gays to celebrate, as all of Ireland's ethnically diverse population including the gay community take an active part in the St. Patrick's Day parades and celebrations across the island in cities such as Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Limerick, Derry, Galway and Waterford

Annual events[edit]

There are a varied range of LGBT-themed events throughout the calendar year in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland:

LGBT event Location Notes Date
Alternative Miss Ireland Dublin/Ireland All island contest; includes various regional heats March
Mr Gay Ireland Dublin/Ireland All island contest; includes various regional heats October
Ms Gay Ireland Ireland All island contest; includes various regional heats November
Saint Patrick's Day Ireland LGBT section of main parades 17 March
World AIDS Day Ireland Charity event 1 December
Dublin Pride Dublin Parade and 10-day festival June
GAZE Dublin Dublin International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival late July–early August
Dublin Gay Theatre Festival Dublin Presentation of works by gay authors and performers or that contain LGBT themes early May
Béar Féile Dublin Festival celebrating the Bear community late March
aLAF Dublin Lesbian Arts Festival Spring
Lesbian Lives Dublin Conference organised by the Women's Studies Centre at UCD February
Belfast Pride Festival Belfast Parade and week-long festival July/August
Outburst Belfast Queer Arts Festival November
Cork Pride Festival Cork Parade and week-long festival August
OutLook Cork Cork Film Festival programme dedicated to LGBT films and shorts November
Lesbian Fanstasy Ball Cork
Cork Women's Fun Weekend Cork
Limerick Pride Festival Limerick Parade and 8-day festival September
Foyle Pride Festival Derry Parade and 4-day festival August
Galway Community Pride Galway Parade and 3-day festival August
Waterford Pride Mardi Gras Waterford Parade and 7-day festival May/June
Northwest LGBT Pride Sligo Parade and 4-day festival for north-west Ireland August

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Labour's goal is full equality for gay citizens, Gilmore tells symposium" (Press release). Labour Party. 7 May 2009. 
  2. ^ "Providing for Same-Sex Marriage". Green Party. Retrieved 3 February 2010. [dead link][dead link]
  3. ^ "Pride 09 – Full Same Sex Marriage Rights Now!". Socialist Party. 30 June 2009. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Recognition of same sex marriage long overdue". Sinn Féin. 31 March 2004. 
  5. ^ "FF delegates back equal marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples". Irish Examiner. 3 March 2012. 
  6. ^ "Fianna Fail Passes Motion On Same Sex Marriage". 28 September 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  7. ^ Sheahan, Fionnan (5 November). "Government to call for Yes vote for gay marriage". Irish Independent. Retrieved 6 November 2013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  8. ^ Grew, Tony (2007-07-17). "Ireland to get civil partnerships". Pink News. Retrieved 2008-06-13. 
  9. ^ Connolly, Shaun (30 April 2012). "Buttimer: I am a TD who also just happens to be gay". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  10. ^ "Minister for Health Leo Varadkar says he is gay". 18 January 2015. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "bubu - Belfast's Monthly Bear Night.". Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  13. ^ McCann, Martin. "The Furry Glen - Dublin Bears.". Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  14. ^ O'Connor, Tom. "Béar Féile - Ireland's Bear Festival.". Retrieved 2009-10-20.