Pride Extra Time

I mentioned last month that in my youth I went to Pride in Dublin, London, and New York. Back then, in the 90s, it was a day of protest and celebration for LGB people. Now, the whole of June, has become, in the words of author and activist Simon Edge, “The Holy Month of Pride”, and no longer represents the boring old-fashioned LGB but the new and inclusive LGBTQ+. And not only does it last all of June but goes on well into July as well, a phenomenon I call “Pride Extra Time.” If you watched the final of the UEFA Women’s Euros you will know that Extra Time is 30 minutes tacked on to a football game when there is no decisive winner. If nobody scores a winning goal in Extra Time the game is decided on a penalty shootout. Now you know absolutely everything I know about what American’s call “soccer.”

Before I go into some of the events surrounding Pride Extra Time in Ireland I think it would be a good idea to break down who the LGBTQ+ acronym represents. LGB are Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals. This used to mean same-sex attracted people (homosexuals) and those that were attracted to both sexes. In recent years the controversial British lobbying group Stonewall, the most influential LGBTQ+ charity in Europe, if not the world, has redefined homosexual to mean ‘same gender attracted’ and CEO Nancy Kelley stated that Lesbians who did not include males in their dating pool were ‘sexual racists.’

T stands for Trans. According to Stonewall the ‘trans umbrella’ contains all of the following – old school post SRS Transsexuals, (even though genderists take a very dim view of them in general), Drag Queens (a job), crossdressers and transvestites – usually men, generally straight, who get a sexual thrill out of wearing ‘female’ clothing, people with Gender Dysphoria, a medical condition, people who don’t identify with the sex they were born as, people who identify with the opposite sex, people who want to ‘transition’ and people who don’t want to ‘transition’ but still feel ‘trans’, people who ‘are who they say they are’, Non- Binary people (those who don’t identify with either sex) and ‘Intersex’ an outdated expression for people who have DSDs (Disorders of Sexual Development also known as Variations of Sexual Development) which are all sex-based and where the erroneous term ‘assigned at birth’ comes from.

Phew! That’s a pretty broad spectrum there and, not, ironically, completely inclusive. What it boils down to, and I’m not even trying to be funny here, is that if a male person, wearing a traditional business suit, with a full beard, mustache and male pattern baldness turns up in the Ladies’ Room and says “I am a woman” then he is what he says he is, or rather she is, and you can’t ask them to leave. Ditto every other female single sex space.

And now to the Q. I won’t say the word as, being middle aged I think of it as a slur. Many of us who lived through the 80s in Ireland have a visceral response to the word because it reminds us of the murder of Declan Flynn in Fairview Park in 1982. Six youths walked free from Court after using ‘queer-bashing’ as a defence. The judge said “One thing that has come to my mind is that there is no element of correction that is required. All of you come from good homes and experienced care and affection.”

My abhorrence of the word aside, I have tried, on many occasions to get a definition of what Q means in the LGBTQ+ acronym and always without success. The best I can elicit is ‘spicy straight’. As for the plus? Well given that the world, it’s wife and their non-binary dog (cats are valid too) is included in LGBTQ the plus is fairly redundant – unless of course it’s for the super straight?

Back to Pride Extra Time in Ireland. A Mayo bookshop was the scene of protests against a Drag Story Hour event. Bar owner Rory O’Neill, who performs as Drag Queen Panti Bliss, was there to alert the public about the ‘fascists’ protesting the event. The report linked above refers to ‘right wing online fascist groups’ the ‘alt-right’ and a ‘homophobic protest.’ Mayo Pride announced that it will not be intimidated by far-right hate groups. One of the signs these bigots held up said “Why Sexualise Children?” So, anyone who objects to kids being exposed to the overly sexualised stereotypes of women is alt-right?

Drag Story Hour is controversial for many reasons most of them to do with child safeguarding and appropriate content. I don’t know who the crowd in Mayo was or what their collective and individual beliefs are but objecting to Drag Story Hour is not in and of itself homophobic. Many gay men object to Drag Story Hour as they feel it drags them back into the homophobic and stereotyped past where gay men were assumed to be into ‘feminine’ things and were some sort of failed women.

The debacle in Mayo illustrates one of the main problems with the forced teaming of LGBTQ+ – if a person has a problem with one thing – males in female spaces being the most obvious they’re branded as homophobic, transphobic, bigoted, and fascist. It doesn’t matter if that person is LGB themselves or an LGB ally, nope that’s it, they’re BAD people and must be treated as such.

That’s not the only problem. The massed LGBTQ+ organisations have manufactured an enormous problem for themselves. If you brand everyone who disagrees with you a fascist or ‘alt-right’ or ‘far right’ you do two things. First you alienate moderate people and second you provide cover for those with genuinely extremist views. The response of Mayo Pride to the incident at the bookshop was textbook with its hyperbole and overreach.

To listen to the Irish LGBTQ+ you would think that Ireland is awash with extremist right wing views and groups. While it’s safe to say that historically Ireland has always been quite conservative socially and politically ‘fascists’ and ‘Nazis’ were never a thing in the Republic. Even the Blueshirts – Irelands answer to Mussolini’s Blackshirts were not actually that great at ‘doing Fascism’. They were small in number, a bit of a joke even at the time (more so with the hindsight of history) and they came and went in under three years. That’s about as ‘far right’ Ireland has ever been.

Gender critical straight women have always been natural allies of the LGB – most women who call themselves feminists are by definition not right wing, but for the past five years we’ve been shunned and vilified. It doesn’t mean that we are all going to invest in indigo tops and berets and start marching down O’Connell Street but, and here’s the real problem, someone might. Populism is on the rise globally and by categorising moderate people who want to retain sex based rights for females as fascists then the real bigots win.

Those of us who have outed ourselves as gender-critical in that we do not believe in ‘gender’ have been labelled as homophobic, transphobic, racist, bigoted, flat-earthers and
anti-vaxxers. And now there is an actual anti-vaxxer attempting to form a “Natural Women’s Council of Ireland”. I don’t know this woman or any of the people who support her. Some of her points overlap those of GC women but many don’t. Those distinctions do not matter to the LGBTQ+ spokespeople and activists but they really should.

If you had asked me five years ago would Ireland ever fall to extremism I would have laughed. But the rise of genderism in public life in the past few years and the draconian way non-believers are excommunicated I’m beginning to think that Ireland is now very vulnerable to hard right extremists. Unfortunately, the self-appointed guardians of
‘Progressive Ireland’ won’t be able to spot them when they arrive. Unless of course they do them the favour of wearing matching shirts and berets but somehow I doubt they will.

Anne Marie Scanlon is a regular writer for Genspect and has worked as a journalist and a writer for over two decades.

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