Thursday, July 31, 2014

Panti Bliss versus Homophobia // the annual Amnesty NI Belfast Pride lecture (+ audio)

The annual Amnesty NI Belfast Pride lecture was delivered by Panti Bliss this evening in The MAC.

The packed audience listened to Panti's forty five minute address [MP3 download] which took in reaction to her comments on RTE (which resulted in legal action) and her subsequent after-show speech in the Abbey Theatre. During the talk, Panti looked at many of the common arguments put up by anti-gay campaigners and tried to debunk them, including some of those raised by EANI's Peter Lynas and callers to this morning's Stephen Nolan show. Why should those attacking equal marriage and other gay rights issues be allowed to define what gay people should judge to be homophobic?

Smart, witty, and avoiding over-stereotyping those who oppose extending gay rights, Panti was rewarded with a standing ovation at the close of her speech.

The Q&A afterwards (not recorded) chaired by William Crawley took in a wide range of topics. Is marriage a hyper-romanticised institution? Is it possible to change the minds of people to support equal rights? (Answer: Yes for those in the middle ground - "Susan from Banbridge" - but the fervent campaigners are probably a lost cause.)

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