Wednesday, June 28, 2006

And another politician takes to blogging

Reading GUBU this morning and see that Dominic Hannigan, Labour Party Councillor for Meath, and another occupant of the Big Red Bus on Saturday's Pride Parade, has a blog.

It's good reading for a politicians blog. That might sound like faint praise but when one reads Lucinda Creighton's or Liz McManus's then you might get my meaning. Ciaran Cuffe is another example of a real politician blogging in terms of some form of thought and non PR speak being behind the words.

If Labour and other parties are going to get candidates blogging for the next general election let them have some originality and don't all use the same templates and press releases please!!!! I would rather read the 'dog bit the hand off me as I was out canvassing' stories than the 'Creighton lashes out at McDowell' headlines.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Whassup...Watching the Parade...Having a Bud. True...

Saw this yesterday and thought about blogging it. Then I heard that today it made the MSM. So the guilt I had from 15 years membership of the Labour Party (currently not renewed) has evaporated a bit.

It was good to hear that Pat Rabbitte and Ruairi Quinn had attended the post parade bash at Dublin Pride. I know that Ruairi in particular has been a long time supporter of lesbian and gay equality and I hope he is still minding the hat I gave him in 1993 when the FF/Labour coalition brought in the legislation to decriminalise homosexuality.

Labour LGBT are the only active lgbt wing of a political party in Ireland. Their events and actions stimulate debate in a community that is rarely consulted or stimulated elsewhere by our own groups or others. The big red bus on Saturday was a brilliant idea and the sign on the back saying that they (Labour LGBT and Labour Youth) favoured full equality and marriage was good to see. As I said yesterday I look forward to seeing the lgbt groups of trade unions and others taking part in future Pride Parades. And I am not one of those who will point at politicians and accuse them of bandwagon jumping either. But I do believe that if they attend marches etc. then they leave themselves open to criticism if their policy/stance on lgbt issues is not fully clarified.

Full equality for lesbian and gay couples is not Labour Party Policy. Last November the party deputy leader, Liz McManus, told a party seminar that (I blogged about it here at the time.)

I do appreciate by the way that there are sections in the gay and lesbian community who may wish to go further than Senator David Norris does in his Civil Partnership Bill and would wish for full equivalence, both as regards rights and obligations and as regards terminology, between marriages as presently understood and gay unions.That does not seem to me, however, to be a feasible proposition and it is not one that the Labour party advocates. We do fully support the civil partnership proposal.'

It's extremely disheartening to hear Labour join the rest in copping out on this matter, this is what it is - a cop out. Looking towards Boston rather than Berlin in terms of electoral fears - however thinking about that a bit more - Boston and Massachusetts have same sex marriage.

So it's less than a year to the next general election, given the increased calls by lesbians and gay men for full equality and no half measures, will the Labour Party include full access to marriage in their election manifesto? Did anyone approach Pat on Saturday and make it clear that there are no such things as gay rights but just rights - did he hear Panti say that?

Granting full equality and giving everyone rights is not something new for socialist governments given the Spanish governments first actions upon election in 2004. The French Socialist presidential candidate, Segolene Royal, has now made her views on full equality known.

As Pat Rabbitte was the first Irish Labour Party leader to attend lgbt Pride - what chances of him leading the first party to contest a general election calling for full equality for same sex couples?

  • Many thanks to Louise @ Tranniehaven for permission to use the photo. There are more Pride photos on the site here.
  • The Title for this post comes of course from the Budweiser Ad 'True'.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Web 2.0 and Dublin Pride 2006

Dublin Pride on YouTube.  Panti’s speech at Dublin Pride – one of the many things that was good about Saturday. Photo’s of Pat Rabbitte in the company of some drag queens are reported to have been taken. Links will be added!

There are many other links to photos and YouTube bits which I’ll add throughout the day.  Meanwhile I need a cup of tea to recover!

Two cups and a banana later…

Red Mum has some photos here and more to come!

Blogorah has a Dublin Pride Special.

TV3’s report of the march can be seen here

And has some video from Dame Street – some sort of Mardi Gras indeed – that rainbow flag looks great!

And finally thanks to the organisers, I know I moan like everyone else does but its not easy getting this thing together on little or no money and Dublin’s streets looked great, pink, purple, queer and happy on Saturday, rain and all!  

Update: Forgot to mention that it was great to see the INTO banner complete with their President behind it. Delighted to see the teachers marching! Hope many other unions take note and march in future parades.

Update 2: Ian says the TV3 report is of last years parade…ooops. And here is a Flickr compilation of all Dublin Pride 2006 Photos uploaded so far (I think!)

Update 3: Photos from Indymedia photographers can be found here, here and here.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Kalcase blogging!

Delighted to see that those supporting Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan’s case against the Revenue Commissioners, Ireland and the Attorney General for the recognition of their marriage in Canada have set up a blog.  Add it to your blogrolls and spread the word!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Sex, Violence and the World Cup

Fustar is talking about Ann Summers and rabbits and the World Cup. And Ann Summers are emailing him jpegs of rabbits rampant and all that sort of thing. Fustar is not recommending anything you understand, just part of services to the blogosphere!
So yes there is a link between sex and the World Cup and there were a lot of Jack’s and Ray’s and Paul’s born 9 months after Euro 88 and Italia 90. Sex and the World Cup go hand in hand, or hand in…wherever.

However the other side of this dimension of relationships is Domestic Violence and World Cup tournaments. Something that many working in the area were predicting before hand and no doubt we will hear more about as the tournament progresses. I don’t know if England going further in the tournament has any impact on the rates of women reporting violence. But its something else to think about as the competition continues.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Pride (but don't mention politics!)

Fiona is talking about Pride, Damien is talking about Pride. I’ve been thinking about Pride. What I regret about Pride in Dublin – the march in particular  - are two things.

The route – the best Pride Parade I ever went on was 1 day after decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1993. We passed the Dáil, there were lots of pink carnations. We shouted – ‘What do we want – Equality! When did we get it – Yesterday!’.. Many left their carnations stuck into the gates of Leinster House. It was very poignant.

These days we totter past Trinity, down Dame Street and scuttle round the back of the civic offices and hide. (My second problem with Pride) Amongst the crowd are locals swigging beer, others off their faces on other substances etc. The venue is too small, not accessible to people with disabilities and not child friendly.

This year so far we have had much debate on same sex partnership – debate is probably the wrong word – well there has been a lot of talking and many reports. A Minister for Justice who says gays don’t want marriage and a community who are becoming more politicised and angry. Surely whilst keeping Pride as a time for celebrating our identity and increasing our visibility, the march could run past the Dail – tell the Minister and the government what full equality really means and tell them to get their finger out.

Expensive and exclusive lobbying organisations and campaigns don’t seem to be telling the government what people want and why they want it, they don’t include members of the lesbian and gay community either in their work.

Pride would be a good start in giving ordinary lesbians and gay men a chance to do something, say something and be somewhere relevant en route to boogeying on down or whatever takes your fancy at the end of the march.

See ye Saturday and I hope some photo bloggers turn up and record the day (hint hint!!!)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Tasting Dublin - at a price

I haven’t done a food post in ages. Cooking in this heat has been minimal and nothing to really write about. However food and food politics and machinations are not far from my mind.

Why would one spend €25, €35 or €75 to have the briefest of looks at a celebrity chef and a taste of their grub?  This weekend A Taste of Dublin takes place in Dublin castle. The bumpf promises that ‘Taste of Dublin will without doubt establish itself as the most exciting and sophisticated food and drink event on Ireland’s social calendar.’

You get a booklet of florins – of differing values according to what value ticket you purchase. With these vouchers you can purchase dishes, and while you pose around watching celeb chefs do the stuff they do on the TV, you can nibble away or buy more florins to buy more food.  By the way if you are still hungry after that the best fish and chips in Dublin are nearby in Burdocks!

Sponsored by Oceanico developments, this event is making a lot of money for someone, the chefs and the promoters no doubt. But how much food you actually get to taste or how much more you will learn whilst spending a day of your busy social calendar fighting over the canapés I would think would be minimal.

Maman Poulet’s advice? Other than going to Dublin Pride, go to a farmers market – get a few tastes of what’s on offer – spend what you would have spent at the TOD on a few items there and you’ll have a feast, or go out to dinner somewhere new and watch the chefs when you get home on the TV!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

And she's back...

Eh meant to mention - I am back in the land of the superfast I have broadband again.

So answers to 'do I feel more female?', 'is the HRT working?', and a rundown on my first purchase of 'supplies' will be forthcoming. (I kid you not, the questions I am getting are hilarious if genuine!)

Also back to blogging (that didn't take long) is Mental Meanderings

CJH, Garrett Fitzgerald and Twenty

Sitting on a bus in Sligo today I heard the final moments of the Requiem Mass for CJH. David Davin Power and Marian Finucance were narrating or whatever you do for a State Funeral on RTE Radio 1. Some of the locals listening and myself (maybe that should be forced to listen!) were commenting on the disgrace that Charlie was getting a state funeral.

Charlie was a Taoiseach and so tradition dictates a state funeral. All I could think of when I heard the bits about the military salute, the solidiers, the navy and the music etc. was that I hope Garrett Fitzgerald gets an even better send off when he passes. Garrett however probably would not be planning his funeral in such style and indeed the leaflet at his mass will give us some statisitical analysis on the costs of funerals and how they have changed (for better or worse!) in the last 20 years.

By the time I was on the train back to Dublin I heard Philip Boucher Hayes from the Cemetary trying to tell listeners what was happening the other side of the wall or whereever he was positioned. And in blogland Twenty Major gives us his unique spin on the day or week that was in it.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

They think its all is now

Well its all underway at last, we’re not in it, even better! Although I loved Italia 90 etc., the tension when we are in the World Cup, Euro 88 or whatever means I rarely watch the other matches.

So now it’s bring on Portugal/Angola! Or Holland/Serbia Montenegro.

There are a lot of World Cup Blogs out there and also at least one podcast which I am subscribing to for the duration – this will only be of use if I ever get broadband.   Added to my favourites is the Guardian World Cup Blog.

So it’s off to make a Paraguayan flag and get the house cleaned up (ok I’m kidding, I want to see Crouch do that moon dance thingy a few times today.)

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Welcome to the readers of the Seventh Carnival of Bent Attractions. I was nominated by Lou for my post on 35 going on 13 and am morto. Thanks to the editor Ron for his kind words as well!

To other readers of this blog have a look at this months carnival for many interesting blogposts around the world that Ron has highlighted and commented on.

Update: Hello to Carnival of the Feminists XVI readers. The Nuthouse is this months host and she has done an amazing job with so much reading on so many different issues to choose from including a section on disability and feminism.

Monday, June 05, 2006

AIDS at 25

On June 5, 1981, in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, brief note was taken of a peculiar cluster of pneumonia cases in five otherwise healthy gay men.

Read the rest of this article on AIDS at 25 in the New York Times.

The San Francisco Chronicle also has a wide range of interesting articles on AIDS at 25 in the USA and abroad. Of particular interest to some is the podcast on Randy Shilts who was one of the first journalists in the USA to chronicle AIDS and the history of the discovery of the disease, the politics and the effects on peoples lives.

I recently read an editorial in an Irish publication which stated that the author felt that AIDS had nothing to do with her as she was a lesbian. In an otherwise interesting piece which highlighted the way in which young gay men in Ireland perceive themselves as invincible to the disease, it was the appearance of a denial of lesbian involvement in the history and development of the response to HIV/AIDS which irked me.

As a lesbian who has lost friends to this disease it would be impossible to say I have not been affected. Lesbians alongside gay men were to the fore in creating services for those affected by the disease, lesbians nursed those affected, buried them, mourned them. Today many lesbian women still work with those who are HIV positive or have AIDS and educate others through youth work, healthcare and education.

Many women who identify as Lesbian also contract HIV/AIDS through

- Sexual contact, - some women who have sex with women also have or had sex with men, also there is insufficient research on the possibility of transmission between women and researchers refuse to look at the possibility of female to female transmission if a woman has had sex with a man since 1977.

- Intravenous drug use

- Blood transfusions.

One sentence in an Irish publication writes out the history of lesbian involvement in the AIDS epidemic – although it may be the author's experience that AIDS does not affect her - it’s a shame that more research is not done on our legacy and involvement in this issue and that such a narrow view of lesbian identity is created.

Last weekend it was Moscow, this weekend Bucharest

Another weekend gone, another country to the east of the continent experiences LGBT Pride and more violence occurs and protest against LGBT's takes place. It seems this parade had the support of Romanian Princess Briana Caradja what ever that means in the Republic!

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the lgbt movement in Romania. Happy Birthday to them!!!

I have met members of ACCEPT during this time who fought hard with help of international human rights movements to assess the impact of the criminalisation of homosexuality and campaign for its decriminalistion. Now they are campaigning for partnership recognition. Romania prepares to enter the EU next year and it seems that many Romanian’s will join many Polish Citizens in their hatred/fear of queers. It will be interesting to see if the state responses in Romania to attacks on Pride marches and other lgbt events and venues are similar to the indifference/state collusion experienced by lgbt's in Poland.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

And its sunny - it must be June. Blog bits

  • Have we got an Irish Wonkette? Blogorah seems new in irish blog land?

  • RTE’s Time of Our Lives programme That was Then, this is Now, which aired last night had a very good essay on media by Luke Clancy on the past 20 years which ended talking about blogs and podcasts. It’s not available online but if we were to prove Luke right somebody might Youtube it or Googlevideo?

  • Are Newstalk losing out after starting to charge for their texts? George Hook is now doing a promo practically begging for texts to the station.

  • Twenty tells Bertie to do eye contact and take his hands out of his pockets.

  • It will be another 2 weeks before Eircom will allow BT give me a broadband service. I can’t begin to describe how the past 3 weeks have been without it. Maybe I will follow Thinking Out Loud with my own ‘I have a dream’ rant.

Whose Crisis is it Anyway

Today's spin is Fianna Fail Ministers finally appearing in the media denying there is a crisis. Was the plot to let Michael McDowell stew for a few days, make him and Mary Harney look bad and then have Fianna Fail Ministers to come to the rescue saying 'its not our fault gov, it's the Supreme Court..,honest...' Any moment now we'll have the phrase 'activist judges' or something. (ok I'm kidding, but listening to Cowan and Lenihan today I felt it coming!!!) - Yes that's Brian Lenihan Jnr. our Minister for Children, appearing on day 3 of the crisis.

By the way there are a few politicians appearing before the Mahon Tribunal at the moment and they seem to be having awful trouble with their memories. Such an opportune time to be disclosing this when few are watching Dublin Castle as all eyes turn to the Four Courts.