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Birth of the Battle

Tonie Walsh, former president of NGF and founding editor of GCN, looks at the early days of the Irish gay rights movement, the growth of the NXF and the history of the iconic Hirschfeld Centre.

Although incorporated in late 1978, the National Gay Federation (as it was then known) aligned its inception with the opening of Dublin’s Hirschfeld Centre on St Patrick’s Day 1979.

NGF grew out of a split in the Irish Gay Rights Movement (IGRM), fuelled by personality and policy differences. Founded in 1974, IGRM was the republic’s first large-scale gay civil rights organisation and responsible for establishing Dublin’s first lesbian and gay community resource - the Phoenix Centre - at Parnell Square. Housing offices and a rudimentary social space, the building flourished from its inception in 1975 before becoming victim in early 1978 to the aforementioned personality/policy clashes, mismanagement and an avaricious landlord.

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About GCN

This month at GCN we celebrate the elder members of our fabulous LGBT+ family with an exceptional series of articles and opinion pieces. As our centrepiece, you'll find a glorious photographic celebration of individual style shot by the exceptional Babs Daly. There's a loving look at Bridie's Bar in The George, alongside an investigation of rural LGBT+ life. Greenbow fill us in on what it's like to be deaf in the LGBT+ community and we profile a member of Identity - the group for LGBT+ asylum seekers. There's also a hard-hitting piece on the rise in homophobic violence in Honduras. In light of news that Teach Solais could face closure, we speak to those whose lives it has changed for the better. Let’s rally the community and get behind the West's only LGBT+ resource centre