Until 4 years ago the very existence of Panto Bliss aka Rory O’Neill was a well-kept secret within the confines of Dublin’s LGBT community. That is until the night of his Noble Call in the city’s Abbey Theater. The ‘Call’ is an old Irish custom borrowed from musicians, who after a night of playing, leave the stage to amateurs to sing their own piece, and traditionally they are allowed to do so without fear of interruption.
When Panti followed the performance of a play about the Dublin Miners of 1931 she had no intention of singing but instead gave an impassioned account of a recent debacle following a television appearance where her definition of ‘homophobia’ was jumped upon by an anti-gay group in an attempt to have her publicly denounced by the Establishment.
In less than 10 minutes Panti’s articulate and heartfelt words so effectively struck right at the core of this trumped-up nonsense that had filled the pages of the bulk of Irish media for weeks. They found that they had picked on the wrong foe, and when the video of the speech went viral and global, we found we had a new champion and leader of the LGBT community.
Months later when Stephen Fry was about to present Panti with her People’s Award of Person of The Year he described the speech as “sheer rhetorical brilliance” and added that she was the most articulate Irishman in history since Oscar Wilde’.
You can see this and so much more in a documentary on Panti Bliss’s life called Queen of Ireland, an unofficial title of reverence after she headed up the successful campaign to get same-sex marriage legalized in Ireland.
Queerguru is going one better. We are in Ireland this week to see our nephew marry his very own princess and we are going to finish the trip by sitting down to film an exclusive interview in Dublin with the Queen of Ireland herself. Life doesn’t get much better than this.
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