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LGBTQIA travel guide in Ireland

Due to the abundance of icons and interesting spots and events, here is a list of the best and must-see in Ireland.

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Ireland currently sits up there with the most progressive countries in the world. Having legalized gay marriages in 2015 and generally legalizing homosexuality in 1993, the country has quickly become a mecca for the LGBTQIA community.

Gay Dublin

Merely walking around the city, you are bound to see several icons that will intrigue you as a member of the LGBTQIA community. For example, simply walking around the famous Stephen’s Green Park will lead you to Oscar Wilde who was not just one of the most famous Irishmen in history, but also an iconic playwright. His statue shows a lot about how highly Ireland regards its LGBTQIA community.

However, due to the abundance of icons and interesting spots and events, I have taken it upon myself to list the ones I believe are the best and must-see.

  • The George Gay Club
    Your visit to the country wouldn’t be complete without a night out at this iconic gay club. The club was opened in 1985, long before homosexuality was legalized in the country. And even then, it was a safe haven for homosexuals. A place they could come to have fun while being themselves.
    In the present day, this hasn’t changed a bit as the club has retained its reputation for being a fun, loud, and raucous place for gays to have fun. You can always check out their social media pages for up to date information.
  • The Panti Bar
    If you are a fan of drag shows, then this is by no mistake the best place for you to be. Some have even proudly called it the best gay bar in Europe and they definitely have their reasons.
    Run by the Irish drag queen and icon, Panti Bliss, it has been the perfect LGBTQIA spot for more than a decade.
    Panti Bliss is well known in the Irish community because of her part in the fight for LGBTQIA equality and rights. The bar opens daily from 2pm and runs till very late.
  • The Dublin Gay Pride Parade
    The parade which was established in 1974 has since evolved from a one-day event into a full-blown 2-week annual festival that takes place in June. The festival rounds up with a huge street celebration which always proves to be massive fun for everyone.
    The party is attended by the whole city and even some Irish leaders like Leo Varadkar, have been known to attend.
No trip is complete without a taste of the local cuisine. Enjoy the unique taste and flavor that Ireland has to offer by sampling their food and craft beer.

Other Highlights

Naturally, being gay doesn’t define who we are. Like everyone else, we have a liking for the finer things in life and Ireland will never be found wanting of such great attractions. Apart from the obviously gay activities, there are a lot of other fun things to do in Ireland, and some of them include:

  • Guinness Storehouse
    Located at the Saint James’s Gate Brewery in central Dublin, this exhibition space was where the renowned stout was first brewed back in 1759.
    A visit here will take you through a fun journey of how the iconic stout is created. You will even get to taste some variants. You can finish your trip here with a free pint of Guinness at the Gravity Bar on the seventh floor while taking in a spectacular view of the city.
  • Book of Kells/Dublin Castle
    This right here is the embodiment of Irish heritage. A visit to this monument will take you through a journey of discovering some of the most important parts of Irish history.
    It is known for its incredible artistry and its numerous secrets and mysteries which date as far back as 800AD. 
    After this, a trip to explore the Dublin Castle will be the perfect way to round up the trip.
  • Irish Food Walking Tour
    No trip is complete without a taste of the local cuisine. Enjoy the unique taste and flavor that Ireland has to offer by sampling their food and craft beer. Eat and drink your way through the various restaurants and cafes, while basking in the ambiance of the Irish hidden gems.
Merely walking around the city, you are bound to see several icons that will intrigue you as a member of the LGBTQIA community.

Traveling Tips

Deciding to visit Ireland is probably the best vacation decision that is possible to be made. However, as a visitor who is probably visiting for the first time, there are a couple of things that need to be known in order to ensure you have the best possible experience.

  • Mobile Apps
    Being a stranger in a new land, one of the best apps that you can have at your fingertip is Google Maps.
    The app offers you both an offline and online mode. This means that if you are not sure if you will have access to the internet where you are going, you can pre-download a map of the area. And if you have an internet connection, you can easily access the app for up to date information on how to get around in the area.
  • Travel Insurance
    This is not even up for debate. You should have travel insurance as it protects you against travel risks and incidences like loss or theft of valuables, cancellation cover in the event you are unable to travel because of unforeseen medical issues, and even medical expenses while traveling.  To get the best travel insurance quote from different Insurance companies you should visit AA Insurance and find more information about right type of travel cover.
    It is important to keep safe while traveling overseas by always making sure you do not go out alone or stay out late. However, in the event of an accident, your travel insurance can protect you from unexpected costs. 
  • Money
    Although a lot of the businesses accept credit cards, some of the smaller ones prefer getting paid in cash. Therefore, it will be of great advantage to you to come along with some cash to aid in your transactions.
  • Tripadvisor
    This app comes quite handy when you are looking for which hotel to stay or which restaurant to eat around.

Travel

City in Massachusetts officially recognizes polyamorous relationships

The city of Somerville in Massachusetts in the US passed an ordinance that officially recognizes polyamorous relationships by no longer limiting the number of people included in domestic partnerships.

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Photo by Mark Boss from Unsplash.com

#LoveisLove

The city of Somerville in Massachusetts in the US passed an ordinance that officially recognizes polyamorous relationships by no longer limiting the number of people included in domestic partnerships.

With this, Somerville becomes one of the first cities in the US to officially recognize polyamorous relationships.

This move was actually a result of a few subtle language shifts – e.g. instead of defining a relationship as an “entity formed by two persons,” the ordinance now defines it as an “entity formed by people”; replaces “he and she” with “they”; and replaces “both” with “all.”

The City Council passed the ordinance on June 25; and on June 29, Mayor Joe Curtatone signed it into municipal law.

Polyamory is usually defined as the practice of having multiple consensual intimate relationships, and is often described as consensual non-monogamy. Relationships can be sexual or romantic, and are not gender-specific. Polyamorous relationships are diverse and can look different depending on the family. Sometimes it means having a primary relationship and seeking casual intimacy, and sometimes it means involving a third or fourth (and so on) person in building a family structure.

Photo by ATC Comm Photo from Pexels.com

This is important: It is illegal in all 50 American states to be married to more than one person, which is known as polygamy, not polyamory. Polygamy is tied to marriage (and is also gendered); and does not reference romance, intimacy or even consent.

Polyamory, meanwhile, refers to different kinds of arrangements — e.g. when a married couple has regular outside partners. Prior to this ordinance, there was no legal framework in Somerville for polyamorous families to share finances, custody of children or the rights and responsibilities that come with marriage.

Somerville is now in the process of changing the application to include space for more than two partners.

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Travel

Montenegro legalizes same-sex civil partnerships

Montenegro legalized same-sex civil partnerships, in a 42-5 vote among the country’s lawmakers. With this move, it becomes the first European country outside of Western Europe and the European Union to legally recognize same-sex couples.

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Photo by roemi62 at Pixabay.com

Montenegro legalized same-sex civil partnerships, in a 42-5 vote among the country’s lawmakers. With this move, it becomes the first European country outside of Western Europe and the European Union to legally recognize same-sex couples.

This is not a complete win, by any means.

While the new law will give same-sex couples the same legal rights as mixed-sex couples, same-sex couples will not have the right to adopt.

The country’s president, Milo Đukanović, tweeted that they were now “one step closer to joining the most developed world democracies.”

The law will come into effect next year, with details yet to be finalized, as well as government clerks needing to undergo training.

Montenegro’s pro-LGBTQIA move is only one of the country’s moves largely driven by its attempt to join the European Union. Another move includes anti-discrimination training for police services and health workers.

Photo by falco at Pixabay.com

Still in the Balkans, parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina are also set to start a consultation that could mean the government starts recognizing same-sex relationships. Now this is worth highlighting: The country is divided into two self-governing entities, and only the Federation is considering the move. The conservative Republika Srpska, which covers less than the Federation, is not considering it.

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Technology

Know thy history; revisit the first 10 years of San Francisco’s Pride

Even Pride gatherings are getting confused nowadays – e.g. Is it still to protest, or (even if the organizers claim it’s a “protest”) is it really just one big party? A revisit to Pride’s history – at least of San Francisco’s, in the US – has opened to help every-all see how everything was in the early days.

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Third World Gay Caucus contingent, San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade, 1977; photograph by Marie Ueda, Marie Ueda Collection (2006-12), GLBT Historical Society.

Even Pride gatherings are getting confused nowadays – e.g. Is it still to protest, or (even if the organizers claim it’s a “protest”) is it really just one big party? Should events highlight the not-that-pretty/sexy yet still ongoing struggles, or just focus on the glamour (and while at it, earn organizers big bucks)? And part of this confusion stems from the lack of awareness, if not appreciation of Pride’s history.

A revisit to Pride’s history – at least of San Francisco’s, in the US – has opened to help every-all see how everything was in the early days.

Organized by the GLBT Historical Society, with the support of San Francisco Pride, “Labor of Love: The Birth of San Francisco Pride, 1970–1980” showcases how San Francisco’s LGBTQIA community in the 1970s forged the annual celebration that would come to be known as the San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Parade.

On June 27, 1970, a small group marched down Polk Street, and the following day staged a “gay-in” picnic in Golden Gate Park. Over the course of the decade, Pride became an annual San Francisco event, growing by leaps and bounds. Initially referred to as Christopher Street West — to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Riot on that street in New York City — and then as Gay Freedom Day, Pride drew some 250,000 participants and spectators in 1980. 

“Labor of Love” revisits the first 10 years of San Francisco Pride using historic photographs, ephemera, artifacts, and film and sound recordings from the archives of the GLBT Historical Society and from community members. The exhibition explores the goals, the controversies, the hard work, the desires and the sometimes-competing spirits of struggle and celebration that laid the foundation for one of the city’s best-known public festivals. 

The exhibition is co-curated by Gerard Koskovich, a public historian and rare book dealer; Don Romesburg, professor of gender and women’s studies at Sonoma State University; and Amy Sueyoshi, dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University. They emphasize that Pride has traditionally deployed both frivolity and protest to promote a positive cultural shift in how society views LGBTQ people. 

The exhibition is organized around four themes.

“Why Pride?” considers how organizers and community members explained the purpose of the annual gathering.

“The Work of Pride” explores the ever-increasing commitment to planning, fundraising, volunteer support and governance that the event required.

“Pride Fights” grapples with the debates over what Pride should be, who should be included, who should make the decisions and how they should be made.

Finally, “Big Gay Family” highlights how the creation of San Francisco Pride brought diverse people into a collective, yet often contested kinship. 

POSTER 1: “Christopher Street Liberation Day Gay-In,” offset flyer, 1970; Charles Thorpe Papers (1987-02), GLBT Historical Society.
POSTER 2: San Francisco Gay Pride program, 1972; Ephemera Collection, GLBT Historical Society.

The interactive final section of the show, “Pride: From Past to Future,” invites visitors to reflect on the history, then look ahead by submitting their responses to two questions: “How will the future of Pride be shaped? How should it be shaped?” The answers will be posted in the online gallery to spark an ongoing dialog about the heritage of Pride.

“Labor of Love” will also be installed as a physical exhibition at the GLBT Historical Society Museum at 4127 18th Street in San Francisco’s Castro district at a future date.

For more information, visit the GLBT Historical Society website at www.glbthistory.org.

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Travel

Taiwan to host world’s only physical LGBTQIA Pride at the time of Covid-19

On June 28, Taiwan will hold the world’s only physical LGBTQIA Pride parade for 2020’s Pride month of June.

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All rainbow roads lead to Taipei. That is: If you’re allowed to head there at all due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

On June 28, Taiwan will hold the world’s only physical LGBTQIA Pride parade for 2020’s Pride month of June.

This year marks the 50th year since the first LGBTQIA Pride march was held in Chicago in the US in 1970. But celebrations are on hold because of the need to be physically distant to other people to curb the spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that causes Covid-19. Already, 475 Pride events across the world have been canceled and/or delayed. 

In a statement, Taiwan Gay Sport Association (TSGA) – the organizer of Taipei’s event – stated that “all is not lost” since “Taiwan is fortunate to (be) one of the very few countries in the world that never needed a lockdown, and has not had a single local case in over two months.” And so “to celebrate that fact and to honor our global (LGBTQIA) family… we will host the world’s only physical LGBTQIA Pride parade during Pride month 2020.”

Themed “Taiwan Pride March for the World!”, the event will be streamed live on TSGA’s Facebook event page

Taiwan’s numerous pro-LGBTQIA moves have been making the news. It is the first in Asia, for instance, to legalize marriage equality. Its law, however, only: 1. allows same-sex marriages between Taiwanese, or 2. with foreigners whose countries recognize same-sex marriage.

Taiwan also permits adoption of children biologically related to at least one of the same-sex pair.

Related to this, it eyes to profit from the pro-LGBTQIA efforts – e.g. by “selling” mementos to foreign LGBTQIA couples, even if it does not necessarily legally recognize some of these relationships.

There are also members of its LGBTQIA community who lament the direction of Pride there – e.g. in 2015, during Taiwan’s Pride, some members of Taiwan’s LGBTQIA community lamented the “hijacking” of an LGBTQI event because of the lack of opportunity to highlight “non-mainstream LGBTQI issues.”

LGBTQIA activist 徐豪謙, for one, noted at that time that “people only talk about the politically correct and popular issue of same-sex marriage, as if we don’t have other issues to face.”

Beyond the June parade, Taiwan is also slated to host Taiwan Pride 2020 on October 31, and people may join… again, pending travel restrictions. 

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Travel

To check while in U.S.: Key West installs permanent rainbow crosswalks

When in Florida and looking for a photo op: Key West City in Florida installed four permanent rainbow crosswalks at the intersection of Duval and Petronia streets in the heart of the island’s LGBTQIA entertainment district.

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Key West City in Florida installed four permanent rainbow crosswalks at the intersection of Duval and Petronia streets in the heart of the island’s LGBTQIA entertainment district. Spanning all four corners of the intersection, the crosswalks feature long bands of all six colors of the rainbow flag, an internationally recognized symbol of the LGBTQIA community.

Spearheaded by the city and the Key West Business Guild, the crosswalks are composed of pre-formed thermoplastic color stripes. After the stripes were laid on the street by city workers, they were heat-treated with propane torches to affix the colors permanently on the pavement.

“The rainbow crosswalks, to us in the City of Key West, mean that everybody is welcome, everybody is equal, everybody is recognized and that we do really abide by the ‘One Human Family’ spirit,” said Key West Mayor Teri Johnston. “Everybody is a part of Key West.”

“One Human Family” was adopted as the city’s official philosophy in 2000, proclaiming equality and acceptance for all. Key West is known for targeting LGBTQIA vacationers.

It is worth noting though that Florida, as a whole, still has issues with discrimination of minority sectors. As reported by FlKeysNews, citing a report released by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Florida has 63 active hate groups, ranking second in the whole of US among states with the biggest number of hate groups (California is first, with 79). Four of these are in Miami-Dade County.

The crosswalks’ installation was the final step in a project to repave and re-stripe Key West’s historic Duval Street from the 100 block to Truman Avenue.

Rainbow crosswalks were originally installed on Duval in 2015, becoming a city landmark and popular photo stop. Their replacement, necessitated by the repaving project, also allowed for a redesign that makes the rainbow colors stand out more vividly against the asphalt.

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Travel

Taiwan to tap ‘rainbow economy’ with mementos for foreign LGBTQIA couples

Eyeing to boost its status as an LGBTQIA tourist destination particularly when the COVID-19 pandemic is over, Taiwan will be offering “commemorative certificates” to LGBTQIA couples visiting from abroad.

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Photo by TangChi Lee from Unsplash.com

Cashing in on #LoveisLove.

Eyeing to boost its status as an LGBTQIA tourist destination particularly when the COVID-19 pandemic is over, Taiwan will be offering “commemorative certificates” to LGBTQIA couples visiting from abroad, announced by the city’s Department of Civil Affairs (DCA).

Taiwan became the first country in Asia to pass a marriage equality law last May, and according to Taipei City Councilor Lee Chien-chang (李建昌), the city can use this distinction to promote its pro-LGBTQIA creds by tapping the “rainbow economy”, particularly in the tourism sector.

And here, “commemorative certificates” will be given – for a fee, of course – to visiting LGBTQIA couples. These certificates will have no legal validity whatsoever because Taiwan still does not recognize transnational same-sex marriages (i.e. where one partner comes from a country where such unions are illegal).

DCA eyes to start promoting this in September, and have them available by October.

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