. . . Drag Queen gives powerful speech on what it means personally to experience homophobia and to feel oppressed at the National Theatre. Seriously, just watch it.

A bit of background:

So, RTE (Raidió Teilifís Éireann), the Irish national TV and Radio broadcaster, featured as part of their "Saturday Night Show" an interview with a drag queen named Panti Bliss (also known as gay rights activist Rory O'Neill). In this interview, Bliss discussed homophobia named a few names when it came to journalists and a Right Wing conservative Catholic lobby group (the Iona Institute . . . I could really digress here).

To be clear, Panti Bliss's discussions of homophobia came in these kinds of terms, discussing how much Ireland has changed over the past couple decades, and were pretty darn mild:

"...the only place that you see it's ok to be really horrible and mean about gays is on the internet in the comments and people who make a living writing opinion pieces for newspapers".

Advertisement

Audiences noted shortly afterwards that the interview with Panti had been censored from playback. Apparently, figures who had indeed said mean things about gays or were trying to keep gay people from having full rights under the law decided to take legal action against the broadcaster for allowing a gay person to say that they might actually be prejudiced against gay people, so RTE backpedaled like crazy, made a public apology to the Iona Institute, and paid out what is reported to be 85,000 euro in settlements. (Let's just say that a good few people are not happy about the censorship or, frankly, that their TV licence fees are going to pay the Iona Institute.)

Meanwhile back at the ranch, the Abbey Theatre, Ireland's National Theatre (which has been in an extended row with the Irish Times Newspaper regarding its relevance and quality, and which has also been in a pretty deep state of self-reflection on what it actually means to be a "national theatre"), has been featuring as part of its current play about the Dublin workers'strike and Lockout of 1913, a "Noble Call" in which they invite artists from all walks of life to perform their own interpretation of how they relate to the play or the events it commemorates. (The night I saw The Risen People, Frances Black sang a rousing protest song.) The Abbey's chosen guest for Closing Night was the drag queen Panti Bliss, and this eloquent speech was the result.)

Advertisement