Toni Burgess she/her
Toni Burgess is a Cork lesbian activist and parent.
Toni was born in Cobh in 1953.
Toni was one of the first Irish lesbians to successfully fight to keep custody of her children after leaving a marriage.
Toni came out as lesbian in the 1990s, having previously been married to a man. Toni’s two children were born in the 1980s. When she left the marriage she lost custody of her children because she was lesbian. This was common practice in Ireland at the time, where courts would deny women custody of their children if they were lesbian.
Toni fought the case and eventually, after two years, got her children back, one of the first Irish lesbians to successfully do so.
Toni had learned about The Other Place LGBT Community Centre while attending a Mother and Baby group in Cobh. She was questioning her sexuality at the time and eventually worked up the courage to go into The Other Place, having walked past it numerous times. She found her tribe. She became involved with the Cork LGBT Community and offered support to other married lesbians who were coming out. She socialised in Loafers Bar and at the Cork Women’s Fun Weekend and more recently at Beours – a monthly dyke bar in Cork.