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Counter Culture / June 8, 2021

‘Out in the World’ tells the story of Ireland’s LGBTQ+ diaspora

New York ILGO St. Patrick’s Day parade protest Credit: Saskia Scheffer in Out in the World: Ireland's LGBTQ+ Diaspora at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum
Counter Culture / June 8, 2021

‘Out in the World’ tells the story of Ireland’s LGBTQ+ diaspora

Words: Dylan Murphy

The new exhibition, ‘Out in the World: Ireland’s LGBTQ+ Diaspora‘, is free for the month of June and documents the extraordinary lengths that Ireland’s LGBTQ+ diaspora went to in their quest for love, recognition and security.

Today, EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin’s Docklands has launched an interactive exhibition that explores the stories of Ireland’s LGBTQ+ diaspora. ‘Out in the World: Ireland’s LGBTQ+ Diaspora‘ is available both online and in-person and aims to provide a more inclusive picture of emigration by highlighting Ireland’s LGBTQ+ Diaspora’s globetrotting journeys.

It comes as Dublin Pride Festival 2021 and is available for free for the month of June. Running until December 1 2021 the exhibition will feature contributions from Rory O’Neill, Minister Colm Brophy, designer Richard Malone, and chair of the London Irish LGBT Network, Vanessa Monaghan.

Rory O’Neill also know as Panti Bliss pictured in the EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, at the launch of Out In The World: Ireland’s LGBTQ+ Diasporain exhibition in partnership with the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs. Photo: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

The online launch of the exhibition, which is a part of the Dublin Pride Festival 2021, will feature contributions from Rory O’Neill, Minister Colm Brophy, designer Richard Malone, and chair of the London Irish LGBT Network, Vanessa Monaghan.

Dr. Maurice J. Casey, Department of Foreign Affairs Historian-in-Residence at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, researched, curated and developed Out In The World. 

He says, “As the researcher for Out in the World, it has been inspiring to speak with all of the members of Ireland’s LGBTQ+ diaspora who shared their stories for the exhibition. Learning from the families and friends of many of those featured has also been enriching. Every research project is a collective effort because historians build on the work of others, but this research in particular has meant involving the community at every stage.”

Documenting stories from the 1800s right through to the present day, the exhibition’s scope is huge highlighting experiences from England to India and Chile. Some of the stories included are of the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization (ILGO) which was founded in a Japanese restaurant in New York city in 1990, the Brixton Faeries, a gay theatre troupe based in the UK in the 1970’s, and an Irish participant in the Stonewall riots.

Often left out of mainstream Irish history and exhibitions it’s a notable opportunity to explore often hidden histories.

The exhibition highlights 12 stories under six themes – exclusion, community, love, defiance, solidarity and return – which were chosen as they speak to significant parts of the Irish LGBTQ+ experience. By using a thematic approach, there are opportunities for intergenerational conversations and reflections upon contemporary LGBTQ+ history. 

The exhibition will feature both a physical and online “storyboard” whereby visitors can write their messages, reflections and personal stories to be featured in future iterations of the exhibition and online, creating an opportunity for these stories to become part of the exhibition in their local embassy or consul.

Dr Patrick Greene, CEO and Museum Director, says “EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum shares a view of Ireland from the perspectives of our emigrants, to understand the social and cultural context of why they left. We research, collect and share the stories of Ireland’s diaspora through exhibitions, education and engagement in person and online. Out In The World: Ireland’s LGBTQ+ Diaspora is a unique vantage point you won’t get anywhere else. This exhibition is a chance to understand Ireland and its influence around the world through our LGBTQ+ emigrants, what they brought with them and their influence on the world.”

The exhibition was researched and developed with the consultation of various international Irish diaspora LGBTQ+ groups and LGBTQ+ members of the diaspora. 

Click here to get your free tickets.

Elsewhere on District: Abandoned car showroom reimagined as a food court and exhibition space.