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As LGBT continues to expand to include ever diversifying letters and identities, more and more people are exploring beyond the narrow deinitions of what it means to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Yet on some level the growing diversity of identity still isn’t being recognised in the larger community. Chris O’Donnell meets some of the people whose identities it under the plus in LGBT+. Illustration by Oliver Weiss.

June 29 saw the launch of the LGBTI+ Youth Strategy, led by Minister Katherine Zappone and chaired by Una Mullaly. The three-year strategy is a world first, addressing issues outlined by LGBTI+ young people and it promises to be a loudspeaker for the reform of attitudes and education in Ireland, addressing legislative measures in the sphere.

This new commitment of government support for Ireland’s queer youth was swiftly followed by recommendations for changes to be made to the Gender Recognition Act on July 18. If implemented, these recommendations would ensure greater rights for trans youths to access treatment under the age of 18, as well as legislating for intersex and non-binary rights.

There is a welcome, lively national debate happening around family, medical and human rights in the LGBT+ sphere, but despite the inclusion of more letters in the LGBTQIA spectrum, the full diversity of what it means to be queer in Ireland today is being overlooked or not taken seriously.

We need further discussion – and to hear more stories about queer experience – if we are to understand the full context and get a sense of the rich tapestry of our community, bringing queer issues of identity back to the forefront instead of categorising people’s lived experience within the narrow definitions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans. Here are some of those stories.

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Our cover star, quintessential queen, Chanel is just one of the Dublin drag queens photographed by the up and coming to Steven Peice for our photo essay, ‘The Dreamers’. “I feel that in a way drag has always been seen as a goofy entertainment, and there’s no real focus on how these men are actually transforming themselves into fully realised fantasies,” Steven says, and we couldn’t agree more. Elsewhere we get a queer flava of what’s on offer in both the Fringe and Dublin Theatre Festivals this year, we ponder why TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists) have not made it across the water from England to our fair shores, people who identify under the plus in LGBT+ talk to us about the need to accept expanding queer identities, and we remember the mega-gay anthem that was Cher’s ‘Believe’. It’s a jam-packed issue, of that there can be no doubt!