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The Varadkar Paradox

With the election of Leo Varadkar to Taoiseach, Ireland has become only the fourth country in the world to have an out gay prime minister. While the Irish mainstream media have celebrated the fact, the response from many in the LGBT+ community has been cautious at best. It’s a paradox that would have been unimaginable in 2007, when Varadkar irst entered politics

In the months and weeks before Leo Varadkar was voted into the number one spot in the country by his party members, there was little mention in the Irish media of his sexual orientation. By comparison, stories across the world were all about Ireland possibly getting a gay prime minister. The latter wasn’t too surprising, given that newspapers in America or India aren’t too interested in the minutiae of Irish politics, while the muting of his sexual orientation in Irish reporting denoted an interest in policies over personal life that’s typical of the Irish electorate.

However, in the days after Varadkar became the leader of Fine Gael, the Irish media was full to bursting with stories about us having a gay Taoiseach and what that might mean for the country. The tone was self-congratulatory; the story was about the same Ireland that voted for marriage equality, the mature, liberal country that’s left the domination of the Catholic Church behind to become a world leader in openness and diversity.

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About GCN

In this issue of GCN Róisín McVeigh explores the changing representation of lesbians on the big screen against the background of GAZE's screening of the controversial Below Her Mouth; Toryn Glavin argues that The Crying Game has a ring of trans truth; Editor Brian Finnegan explore Ireland's LGBT+ community's paradoxical relationship with An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar; Tributes are paid to two beloved LGBT activists, Ann Loiuse Gilligan and Dave Roach, by those who loved them most; Legendary queer photographer Nan Goldin and feminist filmmaker Vivienne Dick sit down with Mary Nally to discuss queerness, mythomaniacs and much else. And of course, there's much more to explore...