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GCN was a fly on the wall as a new generation of trailblazers sat down with esteemed community leaders to share their experiences. Each of the amazing pairings spoke about their lives, how attitudes have changed from generation to generation and how they look after themselves when times are tough. Photographs by Hazel Coonagh.

Sara R Phillips Chairperson of TENI


Sara: Mental health has been crucial to me since started out on this journey 25 years ago. An awful lot of it was to do with looking after yourself. In the early days didn’t. Eventually, started looking into ways of finding time for myself, to step back and do things that might be a little less stressful. That’s served me well, especially in the last 15 years since transitioned.

Alexis: How long are you in TENI?

Sara: I’m a member of TENI since the start, which is 2006, but I’m the Chair since 2012.

Alexis: Going back before that, what about when you wouldn’t have met many other trans people?

Sara: I’ve had connections to trans people since 1992 from when first stepped out into the predominantly gay community, but the trans community were on the periphery of that. went through four or five years when was struggling with only being able to spend part time life as myself because had responsibilities. struggled with how was ever going to transition as a middle aged person working in the construction industry predominantly, how would you pay for a roof over your head, food on the table, maintenance for the kids, and keep your family with you? When went to the support group in Dublin the first time it started had other people to share my stories with and would listen to them and we could share our problems.

Alexis: didn’t have a family to think of, or all the obstacles you had to consider. So my way of dealing with my mental health is to be around other trans people, because don’t actually encounter that many trans people in my general life, in work or living in Louth.

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About GCN

We’re closing our 30th anniversary celebrations with a bang, celebrating the year of the activist. With that in mind, we arranged for community leaders to speak to the next generation of trailblazers as both sides share their experiences. A Brazilian writer living in Ireland takes a look at his home country following the election of Bolsonaro, while Marty St Clair, one of the scientists behind the discovery of AZT, speaks about the beginnings of the battle against HIV and AIDS. Frank McDonald stops by to talk about his recently released memoirs. There’s an essential look at mental health in the queer community, and the people behind the awesome Dublin Lesbian Line tell us their plans for the future. You can also expect a roundup of a momentous year for LGBTQI+ folk and your community magazine. We couldn’t have done it without you, dear readers!