The Lord Mayor of Dublin Paul McAuliffe and Senator David Norris unveiled a plaque at the former location of the Hirschfeld Centre, 10 Fownes Street in Temple Bar.
The Hirschfeld Centre was a full time lesbian and gay community venue in Dublin. It had a cafe, a cinema and a disco at weekends called ‘Flikkers.’
The centre opened its doors on March 17, 1979, but was badly damaged in a fire in 1987. In its short history, the centre provided supports to LGBT+ people and helped lay the foundations for the LGBT+ community, developing civil rights and the road to marriage equality.
Very moved thinking of bravery & fighting spirit of lesbians & gay men in 70s & down the years. Delighted to see Hirschfield Plaque now at 10 Fownes St @DubCityCouncil @DublinPride @tonie_walsh @ActUpDublin #DublinPride2019 pic.twitter.com/dTW7lKAtyc
— Ailbhe Smyth (@ailbhes) June 21, 2019
The centre also provided a vital lifeline for the LGBT+ community in the late 70s and early 80s. The centre provided counselling including the ‘Tel-A-Friend’ which supported people coming to terms with their sexualities.
Speaking ahead of the unveiling, Lord Mayor McAuliffe said “I am delighted to see this significant cultural centre have a commemorative plaque erected in the year of the 40th anniversary of its opening. As the first event in Dublin Pride, it symbolises the vital importance of honouring and remembering the history and level of work that went into fighting for and achieving gay and civil rights.”
The centre was named after the self-proclaimed “Jewish, gay, and socialist sexologist”, Dr Magnus Hirschfeld. Hirschfeld in addition to founding the Berlin Institute of Sexual Science helped found the 1897 Scientific Humanitarian Committee whose purpose was to create a better understanding of homosexuality to then change the German penal code which criminalised homosexual acts.
Senator Norris spoke about the naming of the centre: “When I started the Hirschfeld Centre in 1979 I deliberately named it after Magnus Hirschfeld in order to preserve the memory of this courageous man whose career had been largely obliterated by the Nazis.”
— Paul McAuliffe (@PaulMcauliffe) June 21, 2019
The plaque was unveiled as part of Dublin City Council’s Commemorative Plaque Scheme which commemorates people, groups and events that make a unique and significant contribution to the life and history of Dublin’s history.
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