UCC launches Ireland's first LGBT+ history course

UCC launches Ireland's first LGBT+ history course
Giant poster of a male couple hugging by Joe Caslin, Dame Street, Dublin.The work was part of a project called Yes Equality made in favor of marriage equality in Ireland.

UCC has launched Ireland's first course to examine the history of the LGBT+ community.

‘From Shame to Pride? A Short Introduction to LGBT+ Irish History (1970s-2020)’ is being taught by historian Dr Diarmuid Scully as a course in UCC’s Adult and Continuing Education Programme.

It examines LGBT+ identities and the struggle for LGBT+ rights in Ireland since the Stonewall Riots in New York in 1969, as well as how the LGBT+ community was criminalised by the law in 1970’s and 1980’s Ireland is examined and the homophobic murder of Declan Flynn in Fairview Park, Dublin in 1982 and its impact on Irish attitudes.

“The history of LGBT+ people in Ireland was hidden or written from a hostile perspective until recently; this course is an opportunity to discover an often painful and inspiring history and learn about Irish LGBT+ people’s experiences,” commented Dr Scully

Dr Diarmuid Scully
Dr Diarmuid Scully

Other themes covered in the course include the Churches and LGBT+ identity and sexuality, the Irish LGBT+ diaspora in the United States and the Marriage Equality referendum in Ireland in 2015.

"I was in Dublin Castle when the Marriage Equality referendum results were announced. The atmosphere was electric," Dr Scully said.

I felt only rage and desolation. Such joy in the courtyard, but so many lives destroyed by centuries of hate.

"I heard Christy Moore singing in my head: ‘This graveyard hides a million secrets/And the trees know more than they can tell’. That song was written by Philip Chevron, who was gay, and it spells out what oppression does to people.

"I then decided to teach modern LGBT+ Irish history to raise awareness and explore the struggle against homophobia by LGBT+ people and Allies in modern Ireland."

The course runs from January to March 2020 in UCC.

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