30th anniversary of decriminalisation of homosexuality in Ireland to be marked with unmissable event

June 2023 markes the 30th anniversary of decriminalisation in Ireland. The photo was taken at Dublin Pride 1993 following the verdict. In the image a crowd are gathered on the steps of a brutalist concrete building (the old Central Bank on Dame Street, Dublin). There is a drag queen at the front with arm raised in a salute. Behind her the crowd are holding up banners from various Pride organisations.

This Pride month marks the 30th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexual acts between men in Ireland. It was a seminal moment in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights in the country, and an exciting new conference at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) will commemorate the achievements of the activists, groups and the legal battle that brought about the new legislation.

The day-long event will officially be opened with an address from the University’s Provost and President, Prof. Linda Doyle, and will be followed by four plenary sessions.

Session one, ‘History and the Archive’, will be chaired by Dr Carole Holohan, Assistant Professor in Modern Irish History. Papers in this session will include ‘Decades of activism prior to decriminalization’, presented by Orla Egan, Founder of the Cork LGBT Archive; ‘Decriminalisation through the GCN Archive’ by Han Tiernan, Assistant Editor of GCN; and ‘Gender and the LGBTI+ archive: researching queer feminities’ by historian Dr Mary McAuliffe, Director of Gender Studies at UCD.

Session two will be chaired by Dr David Kenny, Associate Professor of Law. The panel will cover ‘Rights, Justice and the Law’ and will feature papers by TD Ivana Bacik on ‘Legal History of LGBT rights activism in Ireland’; Kieran Rose, former Co-Chair of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, on ‘Remarkable Journey: from Gay Law Reform to Equality legislation, Civil Partnership and Civil Marriage and full Constitutional equality’; and Dr Amanullah De Sondy, Head of the Study of Religions Department at University College Cork and Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Islam, on ‘Sexual and Gender Liberation in Pakistan: An Inside or Outside Issue?’.

The third panel will explore ‘Media and Representation’ and will be chaired by Dr Miranda Fay Thomas, Assistant Professor of Drama. Panellists will include Seán Kissane, Curator of Exhibitions at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) speaking about ‘Art in the Closet: The emergence of queer subjectivities in Irish Visual Art’; Dr Paraic Kerrigan, who will present ‘A Battleground for Social Change?: Decriminalization, Media Visibility and Irish Queer Media Activism’; and Associate Professor Anne Mulhall, Director of the MA Gender, Sexuality & Culture and Co-Director of UCD Centre for Gender, Feminism & Sexualities, with a paper titled, ‘Coming Out and Staying In’.

The final session of the day will be a writers’ roundtable, in partnership with Poetry Ireland, chaired by poet and writer Dr Seán Hewitt. The esteemed literary guests for the discussion will include Mary Dorcey, Dr Diarmuid Hester, Will Keohane and Gail McConnell.


Hosted by the School of English in conjunction with Poetry Ireland and GCN, the milestone event marking the 30th anniversary of decriminalisation will take place on June 8, 2023, from 9am to 5pm, in the Long Room Hub at Trinity College Dublin. It is a free in-person event and will also be streamed by GCN. To book tickets go to Eventbrite.

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