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OPINION: Ray O’Neill

A state apology for the criminalisation of gay men in Ireland is not enough, and the event in Dublin castle to celebrate it didn’t give justice to the silenced.

On June 19 the State ‘apologised’ for the hurt and harm the criminalisation of homosexuality caused to the LGBT+ community. Although in acknowledging that homophobic vitriol that inhabited, destroyed and took so many lives over the last century, strained to hear anyone actually say the word “sorry”.

There have been so many state ‘apologies’ to the thousands of victims of a repressive, vindictive sexual culture that punished, killed and incarcerated people because of their bodies, their desires, their gender, their sexualities – abuse victims, Magdalene sisters, mental health sufferers, women driven abroad, enforced LGBT+ emigrants, suicides. But what have these apologies truly changed? In every abusive relationship ‘sorrys’ are commonly repeated by the abuser; but never sorry enough to ensure the violence doesn’t happen again. The Taoiseach said, “we have learned as a society from their suffering”, but what is it he and we have really learned?

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About GCN

We’ve got so much to talk about in this month’s issue, we’d better get started! Leading the charge is our cover star Conor O’Brien, the voice behind The Villagers. Conor dropped in to talk about their new album and what it’s like being an out gay man in the business. On a further musical note, Irish electro band Eden celebrate 20 years in the industry. They had many a tale to tell and GCN was delighted to listen! The GAZE film festival takes over cinema screens this month so we caught up with Desiree Akhavan, the writer and director of the much-lauded gay conversion therapy film The Miseducation Of Cameron Post, along with the creators of the essential documentary Outitude, detailing the history of Ireland’s lesbian community. On a more serious note, Evgeny Shtorn details his escape from Russian persecution only to be caught in the bureaucracy that is Ireland’s Direct Provision System. Plus Jamie Brady provides a hard-hitting photo essay on the effects on Grindr on the young male psyche. With all that awesome content on offer, you better start reading now!