LGBT culture in Ireland

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LGBTQ+ life on the island of Ireland is made up of persons who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or otherwise.

Queer culture and history[edit]


There was all-party support in 2010 for the Civil Partnership Bill, introduced by the Fianna Fáil / Green government which provided for legal recognition for the relationships of same-sex couples.

As of August 2014, all parties in the Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Irish parliament, supported 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]

Before the 2011 general election, the Labour Party manifesto added 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:

Our sexual orientation is not an incidental attribute. It is an essential part of who and what we are. All citizens, regardless of sexual orientation, stand equal in the eyes of our laws. Sexual orientation cannot, and must not, be the basis of a second-class citizenship.[8]

The only Irish political party that officially came out to oppose the LGBTQ+ rights was the small Christian Solidarity Party, and has never been a successful electoral, at either local or national level.[citation needed]

On 23 May 2015, Ireland became the first country to legalise same sex marriage through nationwide referendum in favour of allowing same sex couples to wed.[9]

Openly LGBT 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[15] 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. Irish society has become more open and tolerant as a result of increased levels of prosperity and rising liberal attitudes.[citation needed] There are vibrant gay scenes in all major Irish cities:

There are 8 gay & lesbian resource centres in Ireland – one each in Dublin, Belfast, Limerick, Derry, Waterford and Dundalk. Cork is home to two: one for gay men[16] and one for lesbians.[17]

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 all have occasional gay club nights.[excessive detail?]

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.[tone]

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 considers itself a counter culture to the mainstream gay scene and works toward challenging the single archetype of the effeminate gay man. Most things traditionally considered masculine are celebrated within the Bear community, and Bears identify as a large subset of an already diverse demographic of gay men in Ireland. There are Bear events held monthly in Belfast[18] and in Dublin.[19] An all Ireland Bear Event called Béar Féile is first took place in 25–28 March 2010 and is now held annually every March. Béar Féile was the first event of its kind to take place in Ireland.[20][excessive detail?]

St. Patrick's day[edit]

Saint Patrick's Day is another occasion for gay people 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.[citation needed][excessive detail?]

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
The Rainbow Ball Dublin/Ireland Annual fundraising gala dinner in aid of BeLonG To November
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
Arthouse Ireland Art Auction in aid of Outhouse LGBT+ Centre 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 Fantasy Ball Cork
Cork Women's Fun Weekend Cork
Black Pride Ireland Ireland
Limerick Pride Limerick Parade and 8-day festival July
Foyle Pride Festival Derry Parade and 4-day festival August
Pride in Newry Newry Parade and 5-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
Sligo Pride Festival Sligo Parade and 7-day festival for Sligo and the North-West of 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. Archived from the original on 16 September 2010.
  2. ^ "Providing for Same-Sex Marriage". Green Party. Archived from the original on 21 January 2010. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  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. Archived from the original on 21 July 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  7. ^ Sheahan, Fionnan (5 November 2013). "Government to call for Yes vote for gay marriage". Irish Independent. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  8. ^ Grew, Tony (17 July 2007). "Ireland to get civil partnerships". Pink News. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 13 June 2008.
  9. ^ Ó Caollaí, Éanna; Hilliard, Mark (23 May 2015). "Ireland becomes first country to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote". The Irish Times. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  10. ^ Connolly, Shaun (30 April 2012). "Buttimer: I am a TD who also just happens to be gay". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 30 April 2012.
  11. ^ "Minister for Health Leo Varadkar says he is gay". RTÉ News. 18 January 2015. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  12. ^ Oireachtas, Houses of the (15 February 2023). "Fintan Warfield – Houses of the Oireachtas". Retrieved 16 March 2023.
  13. ^ "Cian O'Callaghan TD". Social Democrats. Retrieved 16 March 2023.
  14. ^ Annie Hoey [@hoeyannie] (11 October 2020). "Senator Bisexual signing in for duty on #ComingOutDay. Bisexuals exist (we even walk the hallowed corridors of Leinster House!) The Gay Agenda™ is not complete until LGBTQ+ people across the world are free and exist peacefully. Trans women are women. TERFs can go suck coal" (Tweet). Retrieved 5 June 2021 – via Twitter.
  15. ^ "EILE Magazine" – via
  16. ^ "Cork Gay Project". Archived from the original on 3 August 2017. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  17. ^ "LINC (Lesbians in Cork)". 15 February 2012. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  18. ^ "bubu - Belfast's Monthly Bear Night". Archived from the original on 27 September 2009. Retrieved 27 September 2009.
  19. ^ McCann, Martin. "The Furry Glen - Dublin Bears". Archived from the original on 25 April 2010. Retrieved 27 September 2009.
  20. ^ "Gay Dublin Guide: The Essential Guide To Gay Travel In Dublin Ireland 2018". Queer in the World. 28 May 2018. Retrieved 28 May 2018.

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