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Growing Up Gay
January 14, 2011 11:52 PM   Subscribe

Growing Up Gay (Part 1, Part 2) is a two-part documentary series exploring the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people growing up in Ireland. As recently as 1993, homosexuality was illegal in Ireland. As the first generation born after decriminalization comes of age, this series seeks to establish how much has changed in Irish society in the intervening years. For young people, whose lives revolve around school and the family, is it any easier to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender today than it was 17 years ago?
posted by minifigs (27 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
It always amazes me when societies call homosexuality illegal.

As the late Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Eliot Trudeau once said: "The government has no business in the bedrooms of the nation", a sentiment with which I agree.

Anything else is just backwards.
posted by bwg at 2:32 AM on January 15, 2011


I came out in my mid teens in Dublin, about a year before decriminalisation. Grabbing this as a torrent right now and looking forward to watching it, will also be spreading it to the many other queer Irishers I know who left the country and won't have known about this RTE film. Back in when I've seen it,thanks minifigs!
posted by Iteki at 6:33 AM on January 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just finished Part 1. Fantastic documentary.
posted by ixohoxi at 7:16 AM on January 15, 2011


As recently as 1993, homosexuality was illegal in Ireland.

What? Astounding. When I was younger I had this crazy idea that things had changed quite a lot. Women were paid equally and regarded equally, reason and fairness were valued, etc. and so forth. I've since learned but I've never lost the ability to be completely surprised by nonsense such as this still relatively recently in law and in society.
posted by juiceCake at 7:27 AM on January 15, 2011


I'm planning to listen to this during my epic filing bout this afternoon.

I'm American, but I spent about ten months in Dublin in 1993 and 1994. I was dumb and deeply enamored of all things Irish at the time, so take this with the requisite grain of salt, but I thought that there was less homophobia in Dublin than in the States. Sure, it was illegal, but an awful lot of things were illegal in Ireland. In the US, lots of things were legal even though everyone thought they were very wrong. In Ireland, lots of things were illegal even though everyone agreed that in practice they were no big deal.

Now, I wonder if maybe I was just seeing what I wanted to see. But at the time, Dublin seemed like a pretty gay-friendly city to me.
posted by craichead at 7:36 AM on January 15, 2011


When I was younger I had this crazy idea that things had changed quite a lot.

I saw a woman in Toronto years ago wearing a T-shirt which read in tiny letters, "we haven't come a long way, and don't call me baby"

Anyway, thanks for the interesting link. I had no idea about this: certainly I visited Ireland before 1993 and had never realized that some kinds of people were illegal.

As someone who is pretty low on the Kinsey scale, I don't know how much of value I have to add, save that a gay friend was recently telling me that there is an oddly hidden downside to homosexuality being widely accepted in society: the disappearance of queer culture. He also travels a lot and tells me that when he is in a city in some place like the England or the US, he can find the gay neighbourhood and hang out; when he is in the Netherlands or somewhere, it is much more difficult. He tells me that gay bookstores are disappearing, as you can find Tom of Finland calendars or lesbian-centric short story anthologies in any bookstore; gay bars are vanishing as well, as many people would not take any particular offense to being hit on by a member of the same sex, but just say, "no, thanks." I had never really considered this side of it before. Perhaps some gay mefites can add more to this.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:44 AM on January 15, 2011


Oh, thank you so much for posting this. This is exactly the kind of thing I love.

ricochet biscuit: yeah, it's a thing which is going on. There was a bit of discussion of it by myself and others in this thread, and I've made other comments along these same lines in other threads.
posted by hippybear at 8:02 AM on January 15, 2011


In part 2, the audio gets out of sync with the video around the 22-minute mark. Does anyone have a fix, or is this a flaw in the original video file uploaded to Vimeo?
posted by ixohoxi at 8:12 AM on January 15, 2011


Just done with part one also. So far, compared to the 17-years-ago mark, nothing has changed. The same turns of phrase, the same aesthetics even, babydykes with roll-ups and underage scene-queens all the way down. In fairness Belong2 is a great organisation from what I hear, and have a lot to offer queer youth. Back in the day when it was just called "the youth group" and you found out where to meet in the back pages of Gay Community News, smuggled out of Books Upstairs.
posted by Iteki at 9:01 AM on January 15, 2011


ricochet biscuit: yeah, I have been known to bemoan the loss of culture and belonging that I experience in Scandinavia compared to 15 years ago, or to many other countries even today.
There is an element of excitement to being a subculture, underground that is easy to romanticise. Same thing is happening to a much smaller extent with nerd culture, so I feel doubly wounded!
posted by Iteki at 9:08 AM on January 15, 2011


Given that abortion is STILL illegal in Ireland (unless the woman's life is at risk), I don't think it at all surprising that they had such a backward law until 1993.
posted by idiomatika at 10:02 AM on January 15, 2011


What? Astounding.

Contraceptives were illegal until the 1970s. Divorce was banned by the constitution until 1996. It required a constitutional amendment to stop people being prosecuted for mentioning that women could get abortions in the UK, an amendment that arrived in 1992; abortion was banned as an article of the constitution in 1983.

And that's before you even get to "the special position of the Holy Catholic Apostolic and Roman Church as the guardian of the Faith professed by the great majority of the citizens. " There's a reason people joke that Ireland is more Catholic that Italy.
posted by rodgerd at 10:14 AM on January 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


What? Astounding.

Many parts of the US didn't legalize homosexuality until they were forced to by the Supreme Court ... in 2003.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:20 AM on January 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


Contraceptives were illegal until the 1970s.

Very late 70's, whereupon they became available by prescription!
I remember when condoms became available for general sale. I also remember the looks I got running down Grafton Street with a microwave-oven sized box stamped DUREX a few years later. They were for the safer-sex education my 17-year-old self was intending to provide to the rest of the youth group. Had to start with regular sex education unfortunately before attempting to counter the advice of the Catholic Marriage Advisory Council.
posted by Iteki at 10:38 AM on January 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm tempted to put Astounding with the blink tag but that too would be something from the past (thankfully that is no longer widespread).
posted by juiceCake at 11:30 AM on January 15, 2011


Second part down so. The heart's broken on me, makes me want to move home and get back into activism. I think the situation for trans youth has really come somewhere though. I think 17 years ago you woudn't have gotten the Doctor to be in an interview, let alone the young fella Marc. I knew 2 young people who identified as trans back then, and they had been told loud and clear they weren't getting jack shit help until they were grown. The damage done by waiting unnecessarily with hormones is uncountable.

Omg, happy ending for the win, and I am dying of the cuteness of Natashas little girlf.

With regards to the gay prom, I think it's a pity they call it a prom, the Irish equivalent is the Debs, they should have kept the terminology.

For those not in the know, the white-bearded MC at the gay prom there was our own Senator David Norris, first out gay man to be elected to public office in Ireland, and it was he who sued Ireland before the court of human rights, resulting in the decriminalisation in question. Who represented him? Oh yeah, future president Mary fuckin' Robinson, baby!

Fwiw, I went to my Debs. I wore a tux and boots, and so did the girl I brought.
posted by Iteki at 11:51 AM on January 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Homosexuality (well, "sodomy") was not fully decriminalized in the u.s. until 2003, when the Supreme Court decided Lawrence v. Texas.
posted by yarly at 1:23 PM on January 15, 2011


As the late Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Eliot Trudeau once said: "The government has no business in the bedrooms of the nation", a sentiment with which I agree.

Wow, not many people are willing to speak out in favor of eliminating age of consent laws.
posted by layceepee at 4:33 PM on January 15, 2011


As the late Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Eliot Trudeau once said: "The government has no business in the bedrooms of the nation", a sentiment with which I agree.

Wow, not many people are willing to speak out in favor of eliminating age of consent laws.


What is that supposed to mean?
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 4:58 PM on January 15, 2011


Wow, not many people are willing to speak out in favor of eliminating age of consent laws.

What is that supposed to mean?

It's supposed to mean that a general assertion that sexual behavior is not a proper area for legislative control has broader implications than many people seem to consider.
posted by layceepee at 5:20 PM on January 15, 2011


It's supposed to mean that a general assertion that sexual behavior is not a proper area for legislative control has broader implications than many people seem to consider.

Spousal rape was once considered impossible on the grounds the marital bed (a) implied consent and (b) was beyond the purview of the state.
posted by rodgerd at 5:40 PM on January 15, 2011


Speaking of Senator Norris, he's currently polling way ahead in the race to become the next President in October. If he can actually get on the ballot, that is.
posted by genghis at 6:53 PM on January 15, 2011


Thanks, hippybear and Iteki. To me, being gay was always something as neutral as being left-handed: a simple fact for many people, less common and facing occasional difficulties that the right-handed majority make no allowance for, but not something that anyone should be pressured to change about themselves or have to lie about. But I hadn't given much thought to the cultural aspect: I guess no one runs bars catering to a left-handed clientele.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:31 PM on January 15, 2011


I believe what P.E.T. was trying to say was that heterosexual and homosexual relationships among consenting adults are none of the government's business.

I'm fairly certain he did not mean that legislation should not be enacted to protect society at large from violent or deviant behaviour where such acts violate another person civil or human rights, ie. rape, kidnapping, torture, pedophilia, etc.

So if you're straight or gay, as long as your partner consents, what you do together in the privacy of your own home should not be dictated by any legislative body.

And really, why should a government care if you're gay? Doesn't it have greater pressing issues?
posted by bwg at 1:56 AM on January 16, 2011


ricochet biscuit: a gay friend was recently telling me that there is an oddly hidden downside to homosexuality being widely accepted in society: the disappearance of queer culture.

For those of us who are queer but in no way identified with, and were in no way represented by queer culture, this isn't so much a downside...
posted by Dysk at 7:30 AM on January 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wow, not many people are willing to speak out in favor of eliminating age of consent laws.

Context is a lesson everyone needs to learn.
posted by juiceCake at 11:42 AM on January 16, 2011


I saw a woman in Toronto years ago wearing a T-shirt which read in tiny letters, "we haven't come a long way, and don't call me baby"
I think it's "We haven't come far enough and don't call me baby."
posted by Karmakaze at 5:38 PM on January 16, 2011


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