Browse Exhibits (5 total)

Gay Sweatshop 1980 Cork

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In 1980 the London based gay theatre group Gay Sweatshop performed their play Blood Green in the Granary Theatre in Cork.  This was one of the first events organised by the newly formed Cork Gay Collective.

1981 National Gay Conference Cork

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The first ever Irish National Gay Conference was held in Cork on 15-17 May 1981.  The Cork Gay Collective, the Cork IGRM, the UCC GaySoc, as well as a number of individuals, came together to organise the conference, brining together lesbian and gay activists and organisations from throughout Ireland, with a number of British and American activists also attending.  The conference provided an opportunity to review the progress of the LGBT movement to date in Ireland and to develop recommendations for furture actions. 

Cork Women's Place 1982-1990

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A Women's Place was established as part of the Quay Co-op on Sullivan's Quay, Cork when it opened in 1982.  A number of rooms were set aside for the development of the women's place, creating a meeting space and facilitating the hosting and development of a number of groups and projects.  It was an important base for the development of the Cork Lesbian Discussion Group, the Cork Lesbian Collective and the Lesbian Line.  Other groups included the Cork Rape Crisis service and the Women's Health Group.  A women's library was set up providing valuable resources for women.  The Women's Place participated in a number of exchanges with women in Belfast in the 1980s, funded by the Co-operation North programme.  

While an integral part of the Quay Co-op, there were tensions at times between the Women's Place and the Steering Group of the Quay Co-op, usually around time and resources.  These tensions escalated in the late 1980s, with a decision being taken to move the Women's Place out of the Quay Co-op.  After some delay a new Women's Place was opened on MacCurtain Street but it closed in 1990. 

1970s Cork LGBT Community

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What was it like to be LGBT in Cork in the 1970s?  

In the early to mid-1970s there were no formal LGBT organisations or social centres in Cork, these began to emerge in mid / late 1970s.  

There were informal social networks, mostly centering around parties and gatherings, particularly in the homes of some of the wealthier gay men.  Even in the midst of hostility, criminalisation and discrimination, the gay community creacted spaces for the celebration and enjoyment of gay culutre.  However, these parties were primarily for gay men, and were only available to those who knew about them and were invited.  

Many LGBT people coming out in the early 1970s were isolated and found it difficult to find a community.

Cork LGBT people would sometimes travel to Dublin to socialise in the emerging LGBT scene there.

Many Cork LGBT people emigrated to cities such as London, where they could find a larger and more open LGBT community.

The first Cork LGBT organisation, the Cork Branch of the IGRM (Irish Gay Rights Movement) was set up in 1975 and the first gay centre opened on MacCurtain Street in 1976.  This provided an important space for the LGBT community, with social and community activities being organised, including weekend discos, newsletters and a telephone helpline.

The nascent LGBT community sought to challenge misinformation and prejudice about LGBT people, for example through media programmes on radio and on TV.

At this stage the community identified as gay and lesbian, with little acknowledgment or respect for bisexual and transgender people.  From the beginning tensions emerged between lesbians and gay men, with struggles over the allocation of resources for lesbian activities.

This Exhibit provides some information about Cork in the 1970s.  If you would like to add information and stories to this Exhibit please get in touch at corklgbthistory@gmail.com 

Cork Firsts

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A number of the 'Firsts' in Irish LGBT activism happened in Cork.  This Exhibit celebrates and acknowledges these Cork Firsts.  The first Irish National Gay Conference took place in Cork in 1981.  The first Irish AIDS leaflet was produced in Cork in 1985.  The first Irish Lesbian and Gay Film Festival took place in Cork in 1991.  The first Irish LGBT float in a Patrick's Day Parade took place in Cork in 1992.  The first (and only) Irish lesbian centre opened in Cork in 1999.