The Little Homophobic Issues – Ted Talk by Panti Bliss
Little Homophobic Issues
TED TALK – PANTI BLISS
Please watch this – Panti is amazingly articulate.
This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Ireland’s foremost “gender discombobulist”, Panti, shares her experience of the little, everyday things that can have a huge impact on the wellbeing of gay people. Panti expresses her thoughts on navigating a world in which the simple act of holding hands can be a political statement in itself.
Panti is Ireland’s foremost “gender discombobulist” and “accidental activist”. She was also presented with an Irish ‘People of the Year’ award in 2014. Panti’s creator Rory O’Neill sparked a national furore when he appeared on national television and named certain individuals and organisations as homophobic. When Panti took to the stage of the National Theatre to defend herself, her ten minute oration became an international sensation.
A comment on YouTube:
I have to admit when I saw this guy I groaned because as a gay man I thought: “oh another flamboyant gay”. However, when he started talking I realized that I agreed with everything he was saying. All of it is absolutely true. I do have to put up with these little things every day and I hate it. Respect to this guy for not putting up with this shit anymore.
Some other comments:
The reality is that even though LGBT people have every right to be themselves there ARE those who arrogantly decide otherwise and would hurt offend and harm them the worst ways. Until straight people are educated to know that “queers” aren’t(!), then it’s wise to be careful about being natural and open. I hope the day is not far off when no one even notices when people are different from themselves.
So succinctly said! Most heterosexual don’t know of the little things LGBT people have to put up with and quietly watch what they say or do in public while they can freely and unthinkingly express themselves in public.
Good for you! I’m not gay or homophobic. I applaud your honesty and respect your right to live your life without being fed up.
Interview: Rory O’Neill, the man who created Panti Bliss, Ireland’s most famous drag queen
AMONG the clanging of coffee cups and city chatter in a discreetly marked members’ club on Shaftesbury Avenue, sits the Queen of Ireland.
The Queen of Ireland, aka Rory O’Neill, aka Panti Bliss — the Irish drag queen who has become a world famous LGBT rights activist, the poster boy/girl of the successful Yes campaign during the Irish gay marriage referendum earlier this year and personal favourite of Stephen Fry, Madonna, actor Alan Cumming, Dara O’Brian… and mascot for the equality-loving island of Ireland.
Wearing a snug navy wool jumper and jeans, in person Rory O’Neill looks, dare I say, conservative. But thankfully what comes out of his mouth is anything but.
His voice (amplified when he’s dressed to thrill as Panti) is so distinctive, sounding more a mix of posh Dublin than his backwater birthplace of Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo with an added dash of Jerry Hall southern drag queen drawl.
His humour is salty, his laugh filthy. He’s whip smart, capable of piercing parody and bloody good fun.
O’Neill is in London to talk about The Queen of Ireland. Six years ago, a close friend of his — fashion photographer turned filmmaker Conor Horgan, approached him about making a documentary.
It wasn’t the first time he’d been approached, O’Neill explains.
“I’d been asked lots of time before… You know it’s kind of an obvious choice — a student film about a drag queen — but I’d always said no. I thought it would be a bit cringey someone following me around with a camera. I’m very Irish that way — I would never say yes to a stranger.”
Horgan and O’Neill had a 20-year friendship behind them, so this time he said yes. Little did Horgan know that a few years into the Panti project — his subject, a big fish in the small pond of the Dublin LGBT scene was about to become a national treasure and an international gay rights icon.
The resulting movie follows O’Neill through the most eventful period in his life, a life that even before Pantigate had been anything but pedestrian.
For anyone out of the loop — here’s a brief history of Pantigate. But first take a deep breath, and promise that not to sue.
In January 2015, O’Neill made an appearance on RTÉ’s light entertainment programme The Saturday Night Show, hosted by Sunday Independent journalist Brendan O’Connor. During the interview, O’Neill mentioned the well-known Irish newspaper columnist John Waters and the Iona Institute (vocal commentators on the ‘Vote No’ side of the same-sex marriage debate), in a discussion about being gay in Ireland and homophobia. In short, both parties were pretty unhappy with what O’Neill said and wanted redress.
Waters has since pointed out since that while he is not against gay marriage in principle, he opposed the same-sex referendum because he believed it would undermine the rights of biological parents.
After the show aired, solicitors acting for Waters and the Iona Institute threatened RTÉ with legal action. RTÉ redacted O’Neill’s comments from it’s online player, publicly apologised and paid out €85,000 in damages to the complainants.
To say this provoked a heated national debate, not just about the issue of same-sex marriage, but about homophobia, bullying, freedom of speech and the role of the state broadcaster is the understatement of the century. And that was Pantigate.
A few weeks later in February, Panti stood on stage after a performance at the Abbey Theatre and delivered an eye-opening short, personal and very moving speech about homophobia (no mention of Iona or Waters this time). It was filmed, posted online and viewed 769,988 times.
Little Homophobic Issues