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Making a scene: The Diceman's queer performance activism and Irish public culture

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dc.contributor.author O'Toole, Tina
dc.date.accessioned 2017-10-26T14:53:25Z
dc.date.issued 2017
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10344/6206
dc.description peer-reviewed en_US
dc.description.abstract This essay explores two key interventions in the twentieth-century urban history of Irish LGBTQ+ protest. Over the past five decades, there has been a transformation in attitudes to / representations of sexual identities in Ireland. LGBTQ+ claims for political legitimacy were never more visible than on 23rd May 2015, when the courtyard of Dublin Castle courtyard erupted in celebration (carried live on national television) in response to the 62% majority vote in favour of the Marriage Equality referendum. One iconic image of that day stands out, that of drag queen Panti Bliss onstage with arms aloft in jubilation. Panti’s crucial speech on another landmark Dublin stage, that of the Abbey Theatre, called out Irish homophobia in the run-up to the referendum; this proved decisive in achieving the “Yes” vote. While Panti’s noble call is a recent iteration of performance/play in Irish protest history, it is not a new tactic. Ever since 1983, when a broad-based protest march moved through Dublin in response to the gaybashing and murder of Declan Flynn in Fairview Park, street demonstrations, guerrilla theatre, and public performance have been used by Irish queer activists to protest the pathologising of sexualities and impact of biopower on all of our lives. Focusing on the street theatre of “The Diceman” [Thom McGinty], associated by many of us with HIV/AIDS activism, this essay captures the public staging of Irish queer resistance in 1980s/90s Dublin. Drawing on Judith Butler’s theory of performance activism (and its roots in Hannah Arendt’s work), the essay explores the The Diceman’s key role in creating a public identity for Irish LBGTQ+ people in the period before the decriminalization of (male) homosexuality in 1993. Extending the analysis to queer Irish migrants in New York in the same period, specifically those involved in the ILGO protests, the essay argues that performance activism was crucial to the emergence of queer political action in the Irish public sphere. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher Presses Universitaires de Rennes en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseries Études Irlandaises;42.1, pp. 179-185
dc.subject Irish studies en_US
dc.subject performance activism en_US
dc.subject queer theory en_US
dc.title Making a scene: The Diceman's queer performance activism and Irish public culture en_US
dc.type info:eu-repo/semantics/article en_US
dc.type.supercollection all_ul_research en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_published_reviewed en_US
dc.identifier.doi 10.4000/etudesirlandaises.5170
dc.date.embargoEndDate 2019-06-29
dc.embargo.terms 2019-06-29 en_US
dc.rights.accessrights info:eu-repo/semantics/embargoedAccess en_US
dc.internal.rssid 2716434


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