Watch: 'Gay, Male, Votes Fine Gael' - a poetic response to the election of Leo Varadkar

Spoken word artist Oisin McKenna releases a short film in response to the election of Ireland's first gay Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar

A shot from the newly released video 'Gay, Male, Votes Fine Gael' of Oisin McKenna standing in front of the Dublin Convention Centre performing his poem to camera. He is dressed smartly as a politician, wearing a shirt and tie.

“If his solidarity can stretch no further than for the likes of marriage equality well then he and I don’t belong to the same LGBT community.”

Irish spoken word artist Oisin McKenna has released a short film for his poem ‘GAY, MALE, VOTES FINE GAEL’.

Originally written two years ago in the aftermath of the marriage equality referendum, McKenna released the poem June 23rd to mark the beginning of Dublin Pride and to consider the state of Ireland’s LGBTQIA+ movement. This is particularly relevant in light of Leo Varadkar’s recent election as leader of Fine Gael and Ireland’s first gay Taoiseach. 

Watch the film below:

The hilarious and insightful short film tells the story of a fictional right-wing gay man who “gets up at 6am every day, because Margaret Thatcher got up at 6am every day”. The character acts as a representation of increasing levels of conservatism within the LGBTQIA+ community, which McKenna is highly critical of.

McKenna, who was recently described in The Irish Times as one of the best spoken word artists in Ireland, is cautious of hailing Leo Varadkar’s election as Taoiseach as a progressive step:

“While it might be tempting to imagine Ireland as a highly progressive country in light of Varadkar’s election, I think this is a total fallacy. From abortion rights to austerity, there are many people in Ireland who have yet to experience the benefits of our new found progressiveness.

Leo Varadkar, who himself recently designed a classist and alarmist anti-welfare fraud campaign, was part of a government who orchestrated an economic recovery only felt by the rich. I don’t think we should be celebrating that as symbolic of any kind of progress”.

The poem was written long before Leo Varadkar’s election as Taoiseach, however, McKenna feels it is more relevant today than ever:

“With rising levels of inequality and the growth of new far-right movements, it is more important than ever for the LGBTQIA+ community to show solidarity with those who experience oppression. The Fine Gael party has shown a demonstrable and utter failure to express solidarity with anyone who has less power than them. The LGBTQIA+ community deserves better”.

The poem concludes with the line “he does not represent me, she, or they”, asserting that just because Varadkar is Ireland’s first  gay Taoiseach, it doesn’t mean that he represents the entire LGBT+ community. 

© 2017 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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