WATCH: Donegal man creates “Know Your Queer History” series

From Fairview Park to Marriage Equality

A Donegal man has created an online video series to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (May 17).

Domhnaill Harkin who is originally from Burt created the series, entitled: “Know Your Queer History” and interviewed the participants, for the LGBTQ+ education charity ShoutOut.

Marking this year's Dublin Pride, “Know Your Queer History” features interviews with 12 individuals who were all involved in different ways with the progression of LGBTQ+ equality in Ireland.

Domhnaill, a member of the ShoutOut steering committee and a school workshop volunteer with the charity since 2018, pitched the idea of the interview series to ShoutOut in late 2020.

Speaking to Donegal Live, Domhnaill said: “I grew up in rural Donegal and due to the homophobic attitudes I experienced, I did not come out until I was 23, in 2017.

“I became involved with ShoutOut not long after this as I wanted to ensure young people like me didn't suffer the way I did. I became interested in the history of the Irish gay rights movement and I noticed a lot of young LGBTQ+ people did not know the history of how our rights were achieved. This is where the idea for the series came from.”

“Know Your Queer History” was directed, edited and produced by Mary-Claire Fitzpatrick, a videographer and RTÉ TV presenter who worked closely with Domhnaill, to build a series of interviews with a number of leading activists and allies in the Irish queer movement.

Speaking about the series, ShoutOut’s Aifric Ní Chríodáin said: “These interviews are an attempt to pay tribute to some of the remarkable activists who helped make Ireland a safer place for LGBTQ+ people.

“As young LGBTQ+ people living more freely today, we owe a debt to their hard work striving for social and legal equality. We hope that this series will help viewers understand a part of Irish history usually forgotten from the curriculum.”

The 12 episodes of “Know Your Queer History” explore the events that shaped and created the early LGBTQ+ rights movement, from the 1970s onwards.

Domhnaill said, by speaking first-hand to people who were the instigators and leaders of the movement, we got an in-depth, personal account of major milestones, from the Fairview Park protest march in 1983 to the Marriage Equality Referendum in 2015.

Domhnaill added: “Interviewed over the course of the series are former Uachtarán na hÉireann Mary McAleese; Senator David Norris; Katherine Zappone; gender recognition campaigner Dr Lydia Foy; GLEN member and former political director of Yes Equality Tiernan Brady; TENI Chair Sara Phillips; director and historian Edmund Lynch; archivist and activist Tonie Walsh; activist and academic Ailbhe Smyth; Kieran Rose, former GLEN chair; Cathal Kerrigan, former member of the Cork Gay Collective and Gay Health Action; and Suzy Byrne, former GLEN member and GCN journalist.

“The 12 interviews will be released, two per week, running throughout the month of June to mark the month of Dublin Pride. In the first episode, I interviewed former President of Ireland Mary McAleese.”

The interviews will be available to watch on ShoutOut’s Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram channels.

ShoutOut is Ireland's largest provider of LGBTQ+ workshops to schools, workplaces and many other groups which they have been providing since 2012.

ShoutOut volunteers travel around the country to give participants information and answer questions concerning LGBTQ+ related issues with the goal of ending homophobic and transphobic discrimination and bullying in schools.

Further details at www.shoutout.ie.

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