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Digital Subscriptions > GCN > 341 > Stage Left

Stage Left

From its early, determined beginning, inspired by Oscar Wilde and the weight of shame still carried post-decriminalisation, the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival is now heading into its 15th year as the largest event of its type in the world. Festival founder and artistic director Brian Merriman discusses where it began, where it’s been and what’s in store for this special anniversary edition with Peter Dunne.

With this year being the 25th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality, The International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival has been inspired to take that monumental event as a theme for its latest programme. As festival founder Brian Merriman describes it, “Voices through decriminalisation. Those that lived with it and those that are now living in a new era.”

This seems fitting, as it was the after-effects of the moment for decriminalisation 25 years ago that provided a catalyst for the creation of the festival itself

“We were ten years free; we were ten years decriminalised at that stage, and I had been watching, really, that we hadn’t come out in society. I remember seeing a Pride photographic exhibition, and the pictures were beautiful, but I remember... I said, we’re ten years free and we’re still all wearing masks. And if you looked at the photographs of the time, everybody was in disguise, you know? And I kind of went we’ve really got to stop this if we’re going to take the next step forward.”

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“I believe that we are never more beautiful than we are now,” says photographer Paul Connell, who shot the cover of our second annual queer elders issue. Inside his photo-feature celebrates ageing in the LGBT+ community, mental health columnist Ray O’Neill talks about embracing older role models, and 73 year-old facilitator with the Gold group for gay and bisexual men tell us about life getting better and better. We meet the CEO and Chair of Ireland’s brand new national LGBT organisation, report on a contradiction at the heart of trans healthcare, get the lowdown on not one, but two queer theatre festivals about to enter stage right, and remember Kylie’s greatest gay anthem. And there’s so much more – just turn the page!
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