Members of human rights and arts organisations met today in Dublin’s Project Arts Centre at an event aiming to repeal censorship in all of its forms.
Anchored by journalist Una Mullally, whose discussion on her Repeal The 8th anthology was cancelled by Dublin City Council, speakers included Project Arts Centre’s artistic director Cian O’Brien – who was forced to paint over the iconic Repeal mural on the Project’s wall.
The Project, alongside the Irish Council for Civil Liberties have launched a campaign aimed at repealing the 1929 Censorship Act.
Event organisers spoke of the situation wherein drag troupe Glitter Hole had their Drag Story Time children’s event cancelled by DLR Libraries following a homophobic backlash. In that instance, Glitter Hole shared “The library decided that the event was a safety risk, which we accepted given the scale and gravity of the vitriol that was being spewed on Twitter.
“However, the statement issued by DLR last night cites ‘age appropriateness’ as their reason for cancellation. The implication here is that the content of our drag shows for adults has deemed us inappropriate children’s storytellers….DLR has labeled the queer people the risk in this scenario.”
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It is with a heavy heart that I have to announce that our upcoming Drag Story Time event has been cancelled by @libraries.dlr We were contacted by DLR last month and asked to put on one of our drag storytelling performances to celebrate Pride and I wasn’t aware that it had been announced by them yet. Over the weekend we have been inundated with extremely violent homophobia from a frighteningly large group of bigots who believe that a few drag queens reading books to children amounts to child abuse. The library decided that the event was a safety risk, which we accepted given the scale and gravity of the vitriol that was being spewed on twitter. However, the statement issued by DLR last night cites “age appropriateness” as their reason for cancellation. The implication here is that the content of our drag shows for adults has deemed us inappropriate children’s storytellers. There is no mention in this statement of the safety concerns for the performers and audience of the event due to the ongoing abuse we’re receiving online. It seems like the most despicably archaic homophobia to me that DLR have labelled the queer people the risk in this scenario. The irony is that we were booked for Pride and yet after having hate speech directed at us all weekend, DLR have responded to that by deciding that we are incapable of providing an age appropriate family event. We have performed drag story time three times now and the response has always been entirely positive. We believe in the importance of this event and are determined to continue presenting it.
Beth Hayden, the founder of Glitter Hole, told The Journal that she is “no longer going to take organisations at face value when they say they want to put it on and promote diversity. I don’t necessarily believe them anymore.”
Discussing the censorship event, Cian O’Brien stated, “The situation in Ireland is very complicated; where official bodies are using their power to decide what art is political, how it’s political, and when it’s acceptable. This has serious ramifications for artists, venues, festivals and for society in general.”
In a statement, the coalition to repeal censorship said: “Ireland has seen ground-breaking referendums on marriage equality, abortion, and blasphemy. Now our coalition is calling for the repeal of the Censorship of Publications Act, in the name of personal freedom and mutual respect.”
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