Have We Lost Our Fight?

After a protest over the cover up of issues using pro-LGBTQI stances, led to condemnation of vandalism cause, has the world in general lost our will to fight, or care, for the greater good?

There is general condemnation today abounding about the “pinkwashing” of several bank machines and police stations in Auckland, New Zealand.

The group behind the vandalism of an ATM, or as it was branded a “GAYTM” – painted to celebrate pride season – is Queers Against Injustice. They claim that the bank in question, ANZ, is using Gay Rights as a cover up for more disturbing social injustices.

No one has yet taken responsibility for the attacks on the police stations, but the “activists” attached a note to their work which read as follows

PINKWASHING: a term used to describe how the LGBTQIA struggle is co-opted to whitewash over unethical behaviour.

“1. Israel uses a pro-LGBTQIA stance to distract attention from its military occupation of PALESTINE.

“2. We see it in AOTEAROA [the Maori name for New Zealand] when corporations (such as ANZ) strategically use gay-friendly marketing to increase profits by exploiting their workers’ rights.

“3. We saw it at the PRIDE parade on Saturday when a Maori transwoman was tackled by a security guard, her arm broken, and she was refused medical attention by police while she was protesting the inclusion of a POLICE float in the parade.”

There has been widespread condemnation by the attacks, by both straight and LGBT groups, with many saying it is poor form that the activists resorted to vandalism to make a point.

Pinkwashing at an ANZ Branch | Image: Twitter/ANZ

Which has me thinking, are we so refined and overprotected in society today, that we suddenly feel the urge to tut tut every time someone makes a political statement? From a close observation, across social media, many leading gay voices, are disapproving of such action, as nothing more than petty vandalism.

And sadly this is quite worrying. I am most definitely not condoning this sort of behaviour, but what i do condemn, is the idea that people shouldn’t be allowed to make a statement.

That is really what the whole issue comes down to. In our modern world of 24/7 surveillance, we are terrified to step one toe out of line, no matter for what worthy cause. We’d much prefer keep our heads down, and go home to our cozy fire, and sip our ice cold G&Ts. Because after all, it doesn’t affect us.

But everything affects us. No matter how hard we try ignore it, everything has some consequence for us no matter how big and small. As the statement from he activist above claims, many governments and businesses use a pro-LGBT stance, which is popular today throughout the Western World, to distract folk from more sinister stances they may take on other issues. This affects every LGBT person directly, as we are being used as a cover, or a scapegoat.

This should outrage every person who is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Asexual, as it pretty much playing us for nothing more than fools. We should not be allowing our rights and fight for equality be used as a scapegoat, for whatever reason. But, alas we have so many for the community, simply unimpressed and dissatisfied that anyone could “embarrass” us or “step out of line.”

Violence against anyone is deplorable and I would never stand for it. But as much as the voices out there scream about this is a “not a peaceful protest,” surely throwing paint on a wall, or machine is about as peaceful as activism can get.

Our struggle is not over, yet more and more people are becoming complacent, with a mindset of “sure isn’t it grand now, better at least than it used to be anyway.” And while true, we should not just give up because we are 75% there. Our fight was born out of activism, and disturbing the peace.

Change does not always occur through a simple march and banners. Sometimes something a little more drastic is essential. And while pinkwashing may not be the most appropriate solution, it is better than being complacent about issues you feel strongly about.

I am not an activist, and do not condone this behaviour. I am simply expressing our right to protest.

Irish x

Neil Patrick Harris and the Oscars – A Gay Flop?

This years Academy Awards was watched by the lowest number in of viewers in six years. Was Out host Neil Patrick Harris to Blame, or was something else turning viewers off?

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36 million people tuned in to see Neil Patrick Harris walk around I a pair of tightey whities… I mean host The 2015 Academy Awards. Now that’s hardly a number to be sniffed at, but as you look closer, it becomes apparent that this number, is not so good.

When compared to last years show, the drop is a whopping 14%, down from 44 million when Ellen DeGeneres, managed to get the most retweeted photo of all time.

It also wasn’t really a hit on Twitter, with tweets peaking at the 6 million mark, down from over 11 the year before. Now, granted 2014 was a bumper year for the Oscars. The show was the highest rated since 2000.

So why was this years Oscars such a flop. Many blame the lack of successful films nominated. The two top nominated films Birdman and Boyhood only grossed a collective $60 million ($35 million and $27 million, respectively). Only one film, American Sniper grossed over $100 million.

The nominations were also criticised for the overly white nominations (maybe why they graced Mexican born director Alejandro Iñárritu – Birdman – with so many accolades). This lead to a Twitter trend of #OscarSoWhite, and even a joke from NPH himself “we are hear tonight to celebrate Hollywoods best and whitest.”

But is there something more so sister at play? Neil Patrick Harris is an openly gay man, living in a country that only recently showed a majority in favour of same sex marriage? Could his sexuality have made the Oscars a flop.

NPH has hosted the Emmys and the Tonys before, and been quite successful at it. However, both shows are much more liberally based and more open to the idea of gay people. After all, musical theatre is extremely open to us gays.

The Oscars, is a much more conservative affair. A muted procession of handing out Gold plated statuettes from the boys, to the boys. The girls barely got a look in this year, with hardly any woman receiving awards.

Thank yous often almost always feature the “thank you God, thank you mom and dad,” you expect from the conservative audience. Actors are much more closed about who they are than say musicians, and Hollywood is famous for having more than a few closeted faces.

In 2015, even while Hollywood claims to be a liberals playground, being gay is still not 100% accepted. And many people in the US especially might not have been impressed to see an openly out man, who has a family, present a show almost dedicated to showing the world the power of American cinema is on the Propoganda and psyche.

While controversial to say so, it is a possibility. Of course, then there is the contention that last years show was hosted by a lesbian and manage to score one of the highest ratings the Oscars has ever seen.

All in all, it’s a hard call. But whether the viewers were turned off by the gay or the gaga, it’s fair to say that poor NPH couldn’t save the Oscars from being its usual drab affair. Even while in his Y-Fronts. (in which he rocked by the way).

For the record I love Neil Patrick Harris. He is a truly inspirational man, and one I look up to dearly.

Still waiting for my Oscar,

Irish x

Fuck Fashion!

This year, New York Fashion Week saw an interesting addition that no one was expecting. Introducing BCALLA F/W 2015. Warning this post is certainly NSFW.

BCALLA FW 2015 | Image Cocky Boys and BCALLA

BCALLA FW 2015 | Image Cocky Boys and BCALLA

Brad Callahan is a self-proclaimed queer designer who lives in Brooklyn, NY. His fashion borders on fetishism and blends sexually charged designs with the futuristic underground scene. His work has been donned by some of the worlds top celebrities including Azealia Banks and none other than Lady Gaga.

His label BCALLA is one that isn’t afraid to push the boundaries between sexuality and fashion. “I think to be queer is to fight; the very first collection I designed was about fashionable street warriors and I think that vibe is really prevalent in my work,” is how he describes his queer label.

So it is no surprise, that for NYFW, the boat had to be pushed slightly further. And who better to collaborate with than adult entertainment company Cocky Boys. 

Cocky Boys in their own right describe their work as a blend of “porn and art.”  And if this collaboration is anything to go by, they have done just that. With a 1990s “cartoon vibe,” with vibrant colours and the donning of haute couture, backed with trips music, their video for BCALLA is the ultimate blend of fashion, sex and queer.

The collection is describe by Cocky Boys as

Last night we premiered the short film COLBY DOES NY. Not only is this part of Colby Keller’s epic erotic series “Colby Does America,” but it’s so much more. This is also the preview of iconic homo designer, Brad Callahan’s, BCALLA 2015 Fall Winter Collection. Brad has been called a fashion maverick, and has dressed superstars and punks alike, including Azealia Banks and Lady Gaga.

While BCALLA says

Brooklyn nightlife is the glue and sweat that holds the BCALLA FW15 collection together. A familiar venue for BCALLA, the electric sandbox with no rules and no gender embraces the pop sexuality of a media-frenzied and porn-infused underground. This season’s video presentation is a collaboration with Colby Keller and CockyBoys

It may not be to everyones taste, but as BCALLA himself says “bad taste is the best taste.”

Check out the short film “Colby Does NY” here (Very NSFW).

Shop BCALLA here, and download the FW 2015 brochure here

Below is a sneak peak of some of the BCALLA FW 2015 Collection in collaboration with Cocky Boys. All images are copyright of their respective owners, and where known the copyright is given. 

BCALLA FW 2015 Collection | Image: BCALLA/Cocky Boys

BCALLA FW 2015 Collection | Image: BCALLA/Cocky Boys

Brad Callahan and Jake Jackson at BCALLA FW 2015 NYFW Launch Party | Image: Cocky Boys

Brad Callahan and Jake Jackson at BCALLA FW 2015 NYFW Launch Party | Image: Cocky Boys

BCALLA FW 2015 Launch Party at NYFW | Image: Cocky Boys

BCALLA FW 2015 Launch Party at NYFW | Image: Cocky Boys

BCALLA FW 2015 Collection | Image: BCALLA/Cocky Boys

BCALLA FW 2015 Collection | Image: BCALLA/Cocky Boys

BCALLA FW 2015 Collection | Image: BCALLA/Cocky Boys

BCALLA FW 2015 Collection | Image: BCALLA/Cocky Boys

Get Ready Mothafucka, Coz I’m Happening

I’m gonna go and grab life by the balls and ain’t no one in here gonna stop me. This week a lot is about to go down, and there won’t be a split second to even contemplate time itself.

In less than five days I will become an immigrant. And an emigrant. Isn’t it weird that you can’t become one without becoming the other?

But the next five days will see me embark on a tour of Ireland as I try to see every friend, colleague, acquaintance and relative I have. And, believe me when I say there are a lot of them.

It’s gonna be a busy week which will culminate me in lying in a foreign bed, in a foreign house, in a foreign city, in a foreign land. Wow, that’s really something.

And people better be ready, because I’m happening this week.

Keep it here for updates

Irish x

The Irish Traveller

This Irish Gay will soon become one of the many Irish Travellers living outside of the Emerald Isle

Ireland. The Emerald Isle

On February 27th, 2015 I will make the biggest leap I have ever made. I will step on to a plane and I will leave the beautiful Eireann behind. And the truth is, I may never call this land home again. I will touch down in London and start a new life. One filled with so much promise, potential and prowess.

It is the beginning of a new beginning, one I have slowly been laying the foundation of since I finished university in May 2014. I had been drifting since then. Never truly sure of where I was going or what was happening. Now, the date is set, and life is about tho really begin.

The terror flows from my head right through my toes. I have no idea what to expect. How to survive in one of the worlds largest metropolitan areas. How to live in a different country. But I know I’ve made the decision.

I will miss Ireland. While I always go on about how I was dragged here from London (which ironically is my home place through birth), it is my home. I am Irish. And I always will be Irish. And Ireland has been good to me. I have some of the best friends I could ever ask for. I have always managed to find employment, even while the world told us that Ireland was an unemployed wasteland. My boyfriend is Irish.

It is a great place to grow up in. It has an unparalleled eduction system. But there’s so much more than that. The greenness of the country is so beautiful, it is no wonder we are the envy of the developed world. We have architectural marvels like Newgrange (which, no offence makes Stonehenge look like a bunch of rocks). And landscapes that would make any botanist green, including the Burren, the Giants Causeway and even our numerous bogs (which exist solely in Ireland).

We have a capital city that has seen more foreign rulers than humanly possible. From the Vikings, to the Normans, to the British, Ireland has been a unique prize in a jewelled encrusted world. We never seemed to offer much on the surface, and yet were such an important piece of the British Empire, that they struggled for 800 years to control us.

We are a strong nation. Full of stubborn people who are more proud of their country than life itself. We are willing to live, breathe and die by our loyalty to her pebbled shores.

It truly is the people of Ireland that make me a proud Irishman. We are the friendliest nation on the planet by far. We welcome all visitors and have a charm that keeps them coming back. We know how to party, and ahem drink to. Nobody has the craic like us, and our sense of humour is delectably black, that it comes off as morbid to others.

But we get one another. We are able to laugh in the face of adversary and nothing will ever be too big or too high to get in our way. We even will travel to the ends of the earth to find who we are, yet never forgetting who we are at the same time.

The Irish people are unique. There are more of us worldwide than in our country, yet our identity never waivers. We always keep our traditions. We keep our spirit alive. And most importantly we know that Ireland will always welcome us home, should we ever make it back.

The green pastures. The gaelic game on the TV. The bitta damhsa every Saturday. The facades may change. We may modernise. The venue may be different. But some things will never change. And we are the most grateful nation for that.

Ireland is a country of unparalleled beauty. One where, no matter how much we complain about it, holds a dear place in our hearts. Adversary throughout history has only made us stronger and more loyal and I am so happy to be Irish.

I will step on that plane, and I will fly the nest. I must do, to further my life. But, I will never forget who I am, or where I came from. I am an Irishman. And I will always be Irish.

Ní neart go cur le chéile.

Go n-éirí an bothar linn agus go raibh maith againn mor chairde

An buchaill aerach x

Only Human

I am physically exhausted. I am mentally exhausted. I am just exhausted.

My mind has gone numb. I sit here staring at the blank screen. Not one word written. I have so much to say, yet nothing to say. My eyes droop. I sigh. I close out of WordPress and I watch Netflix.

In all my 21 – going on 22 – years have I ever felt just so exhausted. Everyday by the time 9pm rolls around, I am ready to just collapse into bed and let my dreams steal me away.

A lot has happened in my life in the last year. A total upheaval from everything I knew, and I have been tossed into an unknown. This scary world with so many problems, and hurdles I never knew existed. And I’m gonna say it. it’s hard. It really does suck sometimes.

We don’t often talk about our problems. And for so long I joined in with this chorus. I rode the wave of “ignorant bliss” and pretended to the world, to myself, that everything was perfect. Yet, I knew it wasn’t. There was so many things wrong. Some major. Some minor. There was good things too. Some perfect, some not so perfect.

But for so long I carried all my problems on my [broad-ish] shoulders. I thought I would be able to control everything. I am a control freak, and when things aren’t in my control, my stress levels rocket. I thought to myself, I can handle this, I don’t need help.

And for so long I got away with this. Things ticked by and I had a handle on things. I thought everything was actually going quite well, and that I didn’t need any help. Things seemed to working themselves out. Like they had always done in the past.

But then, things began to slip my grasp. My iron fisted control quickly found itself melting away, and before I knew it everything was falling apart. The world around me I had built, came crumbling down. I desperately tried to save it, throwing my whole weight at the ever-growing ruins, quickly trying to rebuild this false world I had created. But, alas it was too late.

I had failed. Everything I had tried to hide from myself and all those around me spewed out into the open. And I thought so strongly that I had failed. I was always The Strong One. That’s what people called me, and I felt like I had failed.

I remember clearly how, I just broke down, in tears. Any shimmer of silver from the clouds vanished, and in their place rolled in dark thunder clouds. My head was so fuzzy. Nothing made sense. And all I could say was “I don’t want to be strong anymore.

Too often we tell people “you are so strong.” I believe it’s time to stop. It is time to say to people “It’s okay not to be strong.” It’s okay to feel bad. We all hurt. We all feel pain. At the end of the day we are Only Human.

When things bother us we need to stand up and say it. We need to let somebody know. In our society, we have trained ourselves that this is bad. That being emotional is “weak.” The “you are so strong,” attitude. Men are especially affected by this, including myself, being told it is “unmanly” to feel emotional pain.

The problem is however, that unlike physical pain, emotional pain is completely invisible. We cannot tell the wounds and cuts that exist within someone. Emotional scars leave deeper marks, yet can never truly be seen.

I was the same. I can keep my demeanour so well. I have trained myself never to let emotions slip out. I have created this cold exterior. A barrier almost. This way, I believed I could never get hurt. But this is all lies. Because unlike a physical shield, when an emotional sword hits, the shields just collapses around you.

And yet through it all, simply opening myself up to someone helped. My world was over. It was in ruins. And yet after that it got a small bit better. I was brought back to reality. Back to life.

This was 2014 for me. And as it began to draw to a close I realised that I just couldn’t go on living this way. I was just sick of it all. As I mentioned earlier, it finally got to me. It got too much to control. Thankfully I found myself surrounded by people willing to listen, willing to hold my hand as I rose from the burning ruins of my emotional world.

2015 was going to be the year I became myself again. It wasn’t going to be easy. And it hasn’t. I am physically exhausted. I am emotionally exhausted. But, I am happy again. Not 100% happy. There are still moments of sadness. But I’ve accepted them and I talk with people about them. No longer does every emotion turn into a nightmarish turmoil.

Talking really does help. Everybody at some point feels the way I felt. And most of us, act the way I did in the situation. I just want everyone to know, that at the end of it all we are only human and that we cannot control everything. Sadly bad things happen. And by not dealing with it, it begins to build up until it is no longer controllable.

I broke. But I was fixed. And this is possible with every human. We just need to let someone know that “we are not ok.” And if they say “you’re so strong,” let it be known it is ok to say “no I am not. And I don’t want to be.” Because that truly is the strongest thing you can do. Let people in. And then that sliver lining will begin to shimmer.

All my love,

Irish x

PS the song that inspired me to write this post

Wow, so Justin Bieber Isn’t Perfect? Well, Guess What? Neither Are You

I’m not fat. I’m definitely not fat. No one would put my name and the word “fat” in the same sentence as me. But, I’m not skinny either. In fact I am far from it. And yet, neither am I ripped.

With the release of Justin Bieber as the new face of Calvin Klein, and the subsequent release of the non-photoshopped photos, it made me realise how, as a culture, we are obsessed with body image. And gay men, even more so.

 Britney had it right when she said “Mrs. she’s too big, now she’s too thin.”

It may sound like a generalisation, but a quick scroll through my Facebook feed, revealed to me, the amount of people who got immense pleasure out of the fact that Calvin Klein, beefed up Bieber’s arms, and torso. And, gave him a more impressive package. And guess what, a large proportion were male gays.

People seem to take great pleasure and joy in deriding celebrities, for not being perfection, while at the same time, disapproving, when these same people, don’t sound, look and act perfect. The irony of it all is just too delicious.

Buzzfeed reports on how Justin was photoshopped | Image: Buzzfeed

Buzzfeed reports on how Justin was photoshopped | Image: Buzzfeed

As a culture, we are obsessed with body image. We constantly belittle and pine for how our bodies aren’t in the same vein, as Justin Bieber’s, or for girls the likes of Taylor Swift. Yet, in the same breath we act disgusted that now “they’re too skinny,” “oh no, wait, now their too fat.” Britney had it right when she said “Mrs. she’s too big, now she’s too thin.”

I, personally have body issues. As a young child I was quite overweight. In fact I weigh just a small bit more now, than I did when I was 10 years old. The world told me this was not ok. A 10 year old should not be that fat, it’s child abuse. And so, by the time I was thirteen, I had lost a stone and a half, and frankly was more than likely borderline, anorexic.

(In case you’re wondering I weigh 73kg now, if you wanna try do some maths).

I’m not perfect, but I know that nobody is.

But, still to this day, even as I have once again moved up the notches of belts, through the gaining of muscle mass, I still bear the scars of what society did to me. I constantly see that fat kid in the mirror. I am constantly haunted by the fear of being overweight.

I feel for Justin Bieber. And every celebrity in fact. Imagine how cruel it must be to see the world find pleasure in the fact you’re body isn’t perfect. These are the same people I guarantee who, go on a diet every week, until Friday, when the WKDs and Chinese takeaways start flowing. The same, who wake up Monday morning unhappy in their own skin.

Now I’m not out to abuse them, as they also have their own body issues. But, I just wish as a society, we realised that the human race, especially the ones we hurt love the most. Photoshop is a great invention, but in 2015, why is anyone surprised that every picture in a magazine, on a billboard, even on TV  isn’t the real one?

I’m not perfect, but I know that nobody is. I wish society would realise that too.