Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Maman Poulet Has Moved

I moved my blog last month to it's own domain. You'll find me on

Please update your links/blogroll/favourites!



Wednesday, August 23, 2006


This is my final post this week on Ryan Tubridy and the understanding (or not) of lesbian and gay identity in Ireland. (Yeah thanks be to jaysus!)


Today's show (link here - good for the next 6 days) had a panel discussion on lesbian and gay issues in the 21st century Ireland. The panel was large - two mothers of lesbian/gay children, 4 gay men - one younger, one middleaged, one 60 + and one a social diarist, three lesbian women including a lesbian teacher and Inspector Finbarr Murphy.


The issues covered included coming out, violence and discrimination. The parting words from Inspector Murphy were ' if you are a victim, please contact the Gardai.'  So yes we got the issues that I hoped would be talked about and that Ryan has been constantly reminded about since his dismissive remarks last Friday morning.


But what did we actually learn from prime time radio's coverage about lesbian and gay identity


I think we learnt that we are still 'alien', still 'other', still 'them' and 'their', whilst listeners and Ryan know more about some of the issues that affect us - I doubt 'they' know what it is like to 'be' us. Anne the mother of a lesbian who started this broadcasting journey last Friday wanted to stop the 'them' and 'their' but in fact the way in which Ryan and the team tackled the subject was all about issues and life incidents rather than life stories. There were too many speakers, all very eloquent, all worth spending a lot more time with. It became a rush around the table to get the issues in, rather than spending some time fitting the jigsaw puzzle of identity together.


There was one comment from a contributor that went half way to making the point that we have lives rather than gay moments or incidents. Dave talked about the importance of concentrating on the quality of life of lesbians and gay men and not just the strive for equality.


We didn't hear anything about lesbians and gay men as carers, parents, brothers, sisters, politicians, decisionmakers, artists, sportsmen, paper pushers, busdrivers or spiritual people.


There was a mention for lesbian teachers, but it soon focused on bullying of students and not about the 'lived experience' of lesbian teachers.  I think those listeners who did not know about lesbian and gay identity or who thought it didn't matter still don't know about the issues and how they form a part of our lived experiences.  Sure we might get people marching in and supporting Pride marches, and the next time someone gets bashed or loses their job there will be concern.


But will the windows still twitch and people tut when a lesbian couple move next door, when a gay man brings his child to school, when a lesbian poet publishes poetry or wins a medal for Ireland in the next Olympics and is out and proud about it?  I think so - I think people will say 'can't they just shut up about it' because they still won't hear or understand what 'being' lesbian or gay is.


I am heading off tomorrow to continue to be a lesbian. I don't mean just by spending time with my lover, or organising that my cat gets minded, or marching in North West Pride slightly nervous remembering my first pride march 14 years ago. And I don't only refer to those conversations I will have with friends over the weekend about my life, their news, our stories, or dancing at a disco where I will be with other 'aliens' either. In fact in being a lesbian I mean all parts of my life, how I work, play, love, think, these are all part of being a lesbian and not just whom I love or are attracted to.


Ryan, if you think you have done the 'Leaving Cert course' in lesbian and gay Ireland, I'm sorry your syllabus was very poor.

Tubridy continues to examine 'the gay issue'

So for the third day since his initial off the cuff ponderings on whether there is a 'gay issue' in Ireland or if we really need Pride, Ryan Tubridy will return to discussing lesbian and gay issues on Wednesday morning in a panel discussion.


Sean R in the comments here looks at the issue of Tubridy and his ignorance of lesbian and gay issues and identity in Ireland. I don't know if he really does not know the issues, or if it's a Dublin 4 thing or if indeed its a middle class 'all my gay friends are happy homosexuals with no issues'.  In this short piece I want to look at the responses of the gay community/lgbt individuals and allies and the changes in how lgbt people feel freer to say what they think.


I have been thinking a lot about Gay Byrne and how he would be handling the whole thing. I don't think he would have been as dismissive, he would of course have loved to interview a mother of a gay child and did do so many years ago. There would be much handwringing. I think people would know that Gay would realise there are still issues though - he had many controversial moments with lesbian and gay subjects on radio and tv over the years but I don't think he offended gay people as much


Of course it was a very different time when Gay Byrne was the housewives choice on the radio. Now we have people ringing, texting and emailing, using their names mostly, calling in, talking on forums about how Ryan is handling (or not) the issues.


Queers are disagreeing with each other - ie. gay people are themselves questioning pride, but many are also placing pride in a political context. People who are not activists have contacted the show angry about their lack of rights be it in the lack of recognition of their relationship by 'in laws' or ignorance of the state.


And then there is the violence - the perceived and actual violence - the name calling, the physical violence  and the safety in public space issues. It's good to hear people address these issues and put them into contexts that heterosexuals might understand. For so long many straights have just thought of gay issues as two women getting it on, or disgust at sodomy. Many callers to the Tubridy show are illustrating the non-sexual reminders that are really needed in this debate.


I do expect that Ryan will hint at the fact he is being PC'ed out of it - that is he will try to illustrate divisions in the lesbian and gay community to back up 'there is no gay issue or need for gay pride'  - and that will help as straight callers are very quiet on the issue.


Finally for now if you have not heard Izzy of North West Pride ask Ryan out for a pint in a gay bar you can listen here for the next 6 days or so. You'll find the interview about 1hr 15mins into the programme. It's a great piece on Pride and rural versus urban issues and on the definition of hate crimes and where hate comes from. And isn't it interesting that his two interviews on air have been with a lesbian and a mother of a lesbian. I wonder what the panel discussion will bring.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tuesday's Links

  • Richard's back blogging and looking for articles.


  • I emailed Blacknight with a sales query last Thursday and have not heard back yet. Do you think if I blog about it I might get a reply?  Potential Customer here, come get me! I know Michele is looking for sales staff so maybe that's the issue.


  • The Stranger gives us tips on how to tie up anti-gay dollars by ordering free stuff from Focus on the Family. Wonder where we could apply the tips in Ireland? (Hat Tip:Feministe)


  • Ryan Tubridy is still getting his Lesbian and Gay Identity in Ireland 101 Course. More coverage on Tuesday's programme is due so I hear.

Monday, August 21, 2006

A nation once again?

You know the way the Brits suddenly adopt Irish sportsmen (particularly those with granny passports) in times of triumph? Today Lucy Clouting ‘profiles the most inspiring, creative, dynamic women in Britain’ in The Guardian.


With her inclusion of Dr.’s Zappone and Gilligan she seems to forget that Ireland became a republic in 1948 or had its own constitution as Eire in 1937 or infact that it’s the Irish State that the couple are suing.


Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan
Lesbian couple fighting for their marriage to be recognised in Ireland

So far: Zappone and Gilligan met while graduate students at Boston College in the US in the early 1980s and subsequently got married in Canada. When they moved to Ireland (Gilligan had grown up there and they are both Irish nationals now), they wanted to secure parity with heterosexual married couples and for the authorities to recognise their entitlements to "privacy and family life" as enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights. Gilligan says "the case is the evolution of a whole life of social activism". Together with Zappone, she founded a community-based education project in 1986, which is now known as An Cosán: "We wanted to address the endemic poverty in west Dublin and to empower people through education."

Zappone is a philosopher and member of the Irish Human Rights Commission. Gilligan lectures at St Patrick's Teacher Training College in Dublin and is Chair of the National Educational Welfare Board in Ireland.

What's next? "We're looking for justice for ourselves as well as those who share our sexual identity." The case will reach the High Court in October.

Source | The Guardian | Lucy Clouting profiles the most inspiring, creative, dynamic women in Britain

Saturday, August 19, 2006

'If you build a better mousetrap - the terrorists will build a better mouse.'

Jon Stewart pulls it out of the hat again this week on CNN's Target USA day

Friday, August 18, 2006

Tubridy and his problem.

Ah he is back from his holidays and it does not take long for Ryan Tubridy's thoughts to turn to telling us how being gay is not an issue in Ireland anymore.


As regular readers of Maman Poulet will know Ryan's been here before.


Talking to Anna Nolan this morning Ryan attempted to gloss over the gay thing because it's not an issue. He said he could not understand why one needs a gay pride march in Sligo. Anna said being gay was still an issue and pointed out that same sex public displays of affection - handholding - would be something that most gay couples would think twice about.


He kept off the ' gay thing' for the rest of his interview with Anna, and then the phonecalls and texts started. Callers pointed out why gay pride was needed, about homophobia in rural Ireland and about gay bashing. Ryan said he did not know about the rise in attacks against young gay men when one texter pointed this out to him. It was a real case of if ' I didn't know about it then it must not be an issue but thanks for telling me anyway.'


Anne rang in - a parent of a gay woman. She like many parents who support parents of lesbians and gay men was one of the best advocates for lesbian and gay rights I have heard in a long time. She put Ryan right without making it sound like we queers are societies misfortunate's - she pointed out that we are not them and they but we are all us. She talked about why coming out is still an issue, the bullying and violence that happens in schools and elsewhere, why we need Pride marches, why our relationships deserve recognition, and why society needs to cop on. 


Ryan was still thinking it was all a bit too much fuss. He then asked about how Anne felt when her daughter came out to her. Anne said she already knew and ' She came out of my belly gay.'  That is a T-shirt slogan in the making!  And he did not believe that young people could know they were gay or lesbian at 12 or 13.  Anne pointed out that maybe Ryan was looking at girls at that age - Ryan said yes but it was too young for gay people to know as they were not formed yet.


You could feel Ryan was not comfortable being told by a woman who was articulate and opinionated and able to match him point for point. When he was not getting anywhere you could see he was glad to end the conversation.


Each time gay issues are raised on the Tubridy show, Ryan tries to dismiss the issue, more people are responding and telling him he is the one that is misguided and not the lesbians and gay men and their allies. Each time he fails to get it.


You can listen to Anne's call here (link good for the next 2 days) - it's 1hour 14 minutes into the programme, Anna Nolan's interview is earlier  in the programme - about 18 minutes in.


And I think some banners for Ryan's attention are needed for NorthWest Pride next week.  You can find out more about the events to take place at in Sligo here and the theme Straight but not Narrow, which calls on heterosexual allies to support lgbt's is more relevant than ever.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Fluffs Wings...Preens Feathers

Shhh now don't be telling anyone just yet but Maman Poulet might be getting ready to spread her wings


(Now I have typed that it has to happen. Normal Service will continue until then.)

Non Reporting of Hate Crimes


A few months ago, Donal Lynch, the only gay in the village aka columnist for the Sunday Independent questioned the Johnny Report on hate crimes (Downloadable here) experienced by lesbians and gay men in Ireland. Dermod spent some time debating the merits both of the report and Lynch's dismissal of it. I also added my views here


Further research from Victim Support in the UK published today highlights the non reporting of hate crimes by those affected. Crime and Prejudice (pdf file) reports on the experiences of those who had been victims of race and homophobic crime and analysed the views of those affected towards the police and other services. It makes extensive recommendations for changes in responses of police and victim support organisations.


What is most interesting for me, and I suggest required reading for Donal Lynch, are the reasons given for non reporting of this type of crime, the types of crime experienced and the suggestions made by victims (I hate that word). They fear not being listened to or being outed and being harassed further. No doubt Lynch will pull holes in this research too to suit his own arguments but I again contend that just because you don't see it or feel it does not mean that it does not happen.


Time to repeat an earlier call I made for Victim Support groups here to look at Hate Crime and work with lgbt groups on developing policy on the issue.


Source: Link to | Society | Most hate crime victims suffer in silence

Crocodile Dundeeish politican supports Same Sex Partnership


Yes this really is a compliment!

Entsch - whose previous career as a bull-catcher has left his front teeth as crooked as a pig dog's hind leg - also sees advantages for hetero chaps who've copped a belting with the ugly stick. "They're usually young, pretty good-looking fellas," he's said of gay men, "and it gives us old fellas a chance at these good-looking young sheilas."

Source: Progressing, Entsch by Entsch, towards gay equality | Emma Tom | The Australian

Podcast at Irish Election

The first podcast (discussion type) at Irish Election is up. You can hear yours truly amongst others pontificating on the Greens and the FF attempt of wooing, Coalitions in various flavours and public spending.

The sound is a bit woozy, we were skypeing from all parts of the Island but its good stuff and interesting to hear the voices behind the blogs.  Well done to Cian and Simon and may it be the first of many!

Download it here.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Windows Live Test

Just installed Windows Live toolbar and am testing the blog feature - Windows Live Writer. I generally hate toolbars so will this one be any different.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Blogging the Ryder Cup

So if you are not all sick of hearing about the forthcoming Ryder Cup next month, I thought I’d mention it in a blogging context. There are a number of international/US golf blogs I dip into from time to time, I am not sure if they are going to be blogging from the K Club.

However as the proud holder of a Ryder Cup Season ticket (and yes I have heard it all before – sure that’s wasted on a woman who does not golf, disabled enough not to be able to walk a hole of the course never mind follow a match and wouldn’t you sell it for thousands etc.) I have been pondering packing my laptop and taking it with me to the K Club for one of the days I am attending.

Are there other Irish bloggers out there who are interested in doing something similar? Or will other bloggers being doing the sane thing and sitting on their sofa and blogging from there.

Whether there is wifi (there has to be surely) and press access for bloggers is another thing. But some news and views on the WAGS*, the outfits, how much Tiger really hates Phil, and how Ireland copes with hosting the 3rd biggest sporting event in the world might be interesting to some. If there are other Irish bloggers going and interested in doing something leave a comment or email me. Hints and tips on how to go about this mission should I choose to accept it are also welcome. A friend with whom I was talking to said that sponsorship/advertising might also be something I would consider - but I would like to have a number of other bloggers on board for that to work I think.

*Wives and Girlfriends – shallow I know but you can bet Bloggorah will be there!

Dyke, muff diving, fisting and dildo

So what do the following 83 words have in common?


It seems they are banned from Verizon wireless content in the USA.

Now I have achieved one of my until now unknown things I wasted to do whilst blogging – type the two words teabagging and fleshpopsicle – insert them into a sentence you use today!!!

Hat Tip: The Daily Source Code (Episode 441) and Valleywag.

Update: The service where these words are banned is text messaging/SMS as far as I can understand – I am open to correction from the techies on this.

And why is vagina banned and penis ok? See Maman Poulet has not completely lost the plot and is feminisiting away as usual!!!!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Silly Season and Pride in Sligo

Morgan has memed me. I am not a happy bunny. I did start a post but it’s gone in a PC crash. And it was hard enough writing it the first time. So you’ll just have to wait.

On other matters the Film Festival was busy, Saving Face won the audience award and I rather enjoyed it myself. The silly season is in full swing. Liebermann lost but says it is only half time. And Jon Stewart and the Daily Show crew are having fun.

The first ever Pride festival is taking place in Sligo this month.

The blurb..

Quare Times In Sligo - First ever LGBT Pride Northwest

Sligo 25th-27th August. A great chance for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people in the northwest and our friends and supporters to get together, show off, make waves and make new friends! Full details will be available next week. Contact or 087 907 5404 for info, or to volunteer. Tell your friends!

Oh Aine? Fancy doing a featurette?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Bank Holiday Links

The second last bank (public) holiday weekend before Christmas beckons. Before I head off to watch some of what is on offer at Look Out - The Dublin Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, I thought I'd leave ye some reading/watching!

  • Dick Roche's worst nightmare if he ever resurrected those e-voting machines. There are primary elections in the US next week and Marty Kaplan helpfully lets voters know how to tamper the Diebold Voting machines that have been so controversial in US elections. (ok so our systems are different but who is to say they can't be similarly addled!)
  • I found out about Read My Day over at Antonia Bance's blog. The project encouraged UK councillors to blog and connect with their constituents. Antonia is a councillor in Oxford and reported on a presentation about the project.

Griff also talked about how blogging adds believability and makes the officeholder appear a real person, and how the discipline of recording what you are doing helps clarify your thinking, and allows you to chronicle how you form your opinions on issues.

  • I watched the pilot of Aaron Sorkin's successor to the West Wing this morning, it is so good that I was late for the train. Damien has all the links to Studio 60 - Amanda Peet is indeed hot. It's about TV executives not Presidents but the writing is excellent and some old WW faces also star.
  • The Podcast is up and running. Pat Rabbitte is the first interviewee. Listen/Download etc. here.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Shometimes Shurely not....

I'm in a very shallow mood this morning. Blogorrah keeps me there....

Thanks to Blogorrah I learn that Ronan Keating has launched a range of perfumes. Marina Hyde's article in the Guardian has had a sniff.

"Ronan Keating's philosophy is simple," it [Press release] declares, which is something of a surprise to those of us who had a fiver on it being a complex marrying of Aristotelian ethics with late existentialism. "I believe that the most powerful thing in the world is love," states the man who sang Love Won't Work, "especially the love of your family. I hope that one day we may have true peace on earth and that we can all help to make the world a better place for our children." Wait! He left out wanting to work with animals (unless years spent in a band with Shane Lynch counts as ticking that one off).
Nuff said.

A tax on ageing and disability

Having not flown since Ryanair introduced their baggage charges, it only struck me today when Aer Lingus announced their intention to introduce a baggage charge that this might make a good Equal Status Case?

Am I right in thinking that it is downright unfair that those who are not able to carry bags and who cannot avail of assistance will be forced to pay for their bags to be carried? Even if you do have one of those Greencap assistants or other service providers with you, the last thing they want to be doing is hawking your bags around as well as your body! I know that I won't be trawling through the place that does not deserve to be known as an international airport with a bag and will have to check it in.

All this pondering about airports makes me want to go somewhere. If anyone wants to give me a job blogging for the day from anywhere foreign let me know! At this stage in the summer without a real (or imaginary) holiday I am easily bought!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

7 seconds

The Sunday Times is sitting on the coffee table. (I didn’t purchase it!) I might pick it up for a look later on. But the significance of the location of the paper and my disinterest in it is something deserving of comment. I have been thinking a bit about my media consumption – being interviewed today about my blog for a newspaper article reminded me about the changes in how I access information. Yesterday watching and reading about contributions to Blogher, I saw part of a keynote from an 80 year old blogger, Millie Garfield. She reflected on how her day, media consumption and in fact her life has changed due to blogging and the internet.

In the past 6 months I have read fewer books, magazines and newspapers – the paper versions. When I think about buying a paper I now make a calculation about how much of it I have already scanned online and whether it’s worth buying. However I read more newspaper and magazine articles than ever before – but mostly online.

I have listened to less radio (thanks in part to Ryan Tubridy!) and watched very little television apart from the World Cup, some golf and the news channels. I have no idea what’s happening in soap land. I watch Big Brother only on eviction night, and watched my first film on TV in I don’t know how long on Thursday night. (Suprisingly good film on Channel 6 – Dirt)

I watch the news online on RTE, BBC and various US news channel websites, trying to watch the news at home when one does not control the remote was difficult enough - now I have an alternative and also choice in the stories I consume.

Technorati or my Bloglines list are now probably my first port of call for catching up on a news story – what is News though? – that too has changed for me. For example, I have more interest in technology, social media and eastern European lgbt politics than I had a year ago when I started blogging. (Whether I understand any more about technology and the tech industry, Web 2.0 etc. is debatable!!)

I know more about what is happening in Robert Scoble’s life than what’s happening on Coronation Street. I listen to the Daily Source Code and many other tech/political/food podcasts every week including bits from BBC Radio 4 and Newstalk’s output which they now podcast. The Guardian’s podcasts are also a part of my media diet. I’ll readily read politician’s blogs (sans press releases!) rather than watch Oireachtas Report or listen to David Davin Power’s analysis.

Feminist writing and analysis is more easily found online than in mainstream outlets, Feministe and Womens Enews feed that part of my media soul.

My interest in current affairs has not lessened at all, the way I consume information has. I search for items for both my blog and also for other online resources I manage and I add to my increasingly diverse pile of useless information that I keep in my head. Well try to keep or at least let pass through my brain on its way somewhere else!

Tom Raftery talks about the goldfish effect on all this information consumption – yes with the huge expansion in blogging one does have to really stand out to be remembered. But this was the same with ‘old’ media too. Blob blob blob….

Saturday, July 29, 2006

DRI vs. Ireland?

Karlin Lillington has a scoop on the front page of todays Irish Times which is worth keeping an eye on.

State may face legal challenge over its access to phone
In a potentially far-reaching legal challenge, a privacy rights watchdog group is demanding that the Government and Garda cease the collection, storing and accessing of mobile and fixed-line phone data, writes
Karlin Lillington.
Digital Rights Ireland (DRI) has given the State seven days to comply, after which it will begin legal proceedings.
The ultimatum is contained in letters sent on Wednesday to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, the Minister for Communications, the Marine and Natural Resources, and the Garda Commissioner, asking for undertakings that data retention legislation will cease to be implemented and enforced and requests for access to data will cease.

Full article available here (no reg required!)