Revisiting LGBT Ireland In 30 Years Of Covers

A look back over 30 years of covers for GCN's 30th birthday

Poster for GCN30 exhibition

To celebrate GCN’s 30th birthday we are taking a trip down memory lane, taking a look at the history of LGBT Ireland through some of our most iconic covers, counting down to our 30th-anniversary issue.

 

We begin with GCN’s very first issue, GCN Issue 1

 

 

Founded by Tonie Walsh and Catherine Glendon and published on February 10, 1988, GCN Issue One featured articles about cross-dressing, Ireland’s ongoing criminalisation of sexual conduct between men, and a quiz about what rights readers enjoyed, or mostly didn’t, as gay and lesbian citizens of Ireland.

 

 

Issue 37

 

Issue 37 Cover

 

The new look of GCN aimed to reflect a broadsheet newspaper, with plenty of news, views and reviews beneath snappy headlines, all edited by Francis Thackaberry. We love the ‘Holy Homophobia’ headline for a cover story about Irish queers travelling to NYC to protest the banning of LGBTs marching in Patrick’s Day Parade there.

 

 

Issue 48

 

Issue 48 Cover

 

This iconic cover from February 1993, just four months before homosexuality was decriminalised in Ireland, celebrates the first time members of the gay community were invited to Áras an Uachtarain by then President Mary Robinson. We recognise a few faces on the steps of the Áras, do you?

 

 

Issue 54

 

Issue 54 Cover

 

Published in June 1993, the people celebrating the decriminalisation of homosexuality in front of the Dáil are, left to right, Kieran Rose and Chris Robson of GLEN, Phil Moore from Parents Support and GCN News Editor and GLEN co-chair, Suzy Byrne.

 

 

Issue 91

 

Issue 91 Cover

 

For the first time Gay Community News moved in the direction of a magazine, with a specially commissioned, full-colour photo (by Niall Sweeney and Eamonn Doyle), at the centre of which sat Panti Bliss in her first ever cover-shoot.

 

 

Issue 100

 

Issue 100 Cover

Edited by Deborah Ballard, the 100th issue of GCN saw it get a glossy cover for the first time ever. Inside, a cornucopia of articles about all things currently political and cultural in queer Ireland, and the launch of a writing competition called Queer Writes.

 

 

Issue 165

 

Issue 165 Cover

 

With complete rebranding and new design, courtesy of Fionán Healy, and new editor, Brian Finnegan, GCN went full colour, and changed format too. The new size was ‘magaloid’, a cross between magazine and tabloid. The mix of politics and community was retained, with a new emphasis on cover stars, interviews and lifestyle content.

 

 

Issue 200 

 

Issue 200 Cover

 

This terribly blasphemous cover, shot by Emily Quinn and ‘Pantified’ by Niall Sweeney, features GCN’s founder Tonie Walsh as an irreverent sacred heart in a hoodie, complete with a pink triangle for a heart. It was a fitting celebration of the legendary activist, without whom GCN would not exist.

 

 

Issue 201 

 

Issue 201 Cover

The first ever GCN Youth Issue cover was shot on a rooftop in Temple Bar and featured members of the BeLonG To Youth Services, some of whom you might recognise today (James Kavanagh, anyone?). 19-year-old youth editor, Kevin Gaffney was mentored to produce an issue full of bright young voices, and he played a blinder.

 

 

Issue 223

 

Issue 223 Cover

 

Ah, would you look at them all! For the Pride 2008 cover, we did a great big shoot with the doyennes of Dublin’s Drag Scene, brandishing bouquets for gay marriage (which wouldn’t come our way for another seven years). Don’t they all look like spring chickens?

 

 

Issue 230

 

Issue 230 Cover

 

As we geared up to celebrate 21 years of GCN with a massive queer party at Dublin’s Red Box with lots of iconic Irish guests, we photographed the winners of our own be a GCN cover star contest, with this crazy and colourful shoot.

 

 

Issue 231

 

Issue 231 Cover

 

The 21st birthday issue featured queer Irish icons and ‘stately homos’, Senator David Norris and Ailbhe Smyth dressed French Regency style, and photographed at No’10 Ormond Quay. “It was a great, fun shoot,” says our editor Brian Finnegan. “Chatting to David Norris while he dressed as Louis XVI was an experience in itself, and Ailbhe’s wig had a life of its own!”

 

 

Issue 235

 

Issue 235 Cover

 

Artist Will St Leger gave Judy Garland a subtly queer makeover for this Pride issue, which had a feature making the connection between the ultimate gay icon’s death in June 1969 and the Stonewall riots, which sparked the Pride movement.

 

 

Issue 248

 

Issue 248 Cover

 

Our first typographic cover ever features a momentous quote from the speech Senator David Norris gave in the Seanad on the day that civil partnerships legislation was passed.

 

 

Issue 250

 

Issue 250 Cover

 

For our 250th issue we re-created the iconic ‘V-J Day Kiss in Times Square’ photo. Editor Brian Finnegan remembers “We shot it at 6am on O’Connell Street before the world woke up and pedestrians might start questioning why two ‘sailors’ were wearing the faces of each other on our main thoroughfare.”

 

 

Issue 251

 

Issue 251 Cover

 

Styled by Veda Beaux Reves and photographed by Peter Fingleton, our 2010 youth issue cover is one of our favourites. Inside we asked LGBT+ teens what superheroes they would be, and what their powers would be. The four queer kids who featured on our front cover were as patient as saints for a shoot that literally took hours to do. The results, we think you’ll agree, were super!

 

 

Issue 265

 

Issue 265 Cover

 

The Rubberbandits were well up for this über-queer recreation of the infamous nipple-pinch painting, Gabrielle d’Estrées et une de ses soeurs, which was shot in The Sugar Club. If you look very closely, you’ll see Santa in the background, calmly observing the surrealism, a gentle nod to the fact that it was our 2009 Christmas issue.

 

 

Issue 283

 

Issue 283 Cover

 

Heigh ho! The last ever winner of Alternative Miss Ireland, Minnie Mélange, aka Sinéad Burke got the crown playing Disney’s Snow White with a terrific twist. So, we decided to go all Disney on her commemorative cover with a shoot in the Phoenix Park by Emma Haugh and illustration by Stephen Byrne. For Minnie, it was a dream come true.

 

 

Issue 291

 

Issue 291 Cover

 

In January 2014, Panti Bliss went on telly and called some people who said nasty things about gays, “homophobic”. All hell broke loose and they all threatened to sue her and the national broadcaster. RTÉ bent over and gave those people lots of dosh, but Panti wasn’t for bowing down. We felt we had to show our absolute support with a special shoot by Aaron McGrath Photography.

 

 

Issue 302

 

Issue 302 Cover

 

In February 2015, Leo Varadkar T.D. became the first member of the cabinet to come out as gay, on the Miriam O’Callaghan show. Little did we know (or did we actually suspect?) that in just two years he’d be the first gay Taoiseach. He gave his first post-Miriam interview exclusively to GCN and looked smouldering on the cover.

 

 

GCN Issue 305

 

Issue 305 Cover

 

In the days before the marriage referendum, President Mary McAleese gave a speech saying that it was the moral thing for Catholics in Ireland to vote yes to equality for the generations to come. It was a huge moment, and this cover celebrates her contribution and that of all other straight allies to the Yes Equality campaign. Go, Mary!

 

 

Issue 306

 

Issue 306 Cover

 

We shot this triple-fold commemorative cover before the marriage referendum, asking the leaders of the Yes Equality campaign to look very proud, but not celebratory. At the time we didn’t know whether the cover would be celebrating a Yes, or saying we’d fight on in the wake of No. We commissioned two versions of the entire issue too, one in case it was a Yes and one in case it was a No. It was published the Monday after Ireland voted Yes.

 

 

Issue 309

 

Issue 309 Cover

The Director of TENI – Transgender Equality Network Ireland, Broden Giambrone, and chair of the TENI board, Sara Phillips posed for this special cover commemorating the passing of the Gender Recognition Act in July 2015. The resulting legislation is some of the most forward-thinking in the world, and that largely comes down to the campaigning work of everyone at TENI.

 

 

Issue 310

 

Issue 310 Cover

 

Shirley Temple Bar, who has been a columnist with GCN since 2005, providing her services for free as her contribution to the community, graced our cover for the second time in 2015, celebrating 30 years of The George Bar, Dublin’s oldest and most beloved gay bar. We made her eat every bit of that cake. Honest.

 

 

Issue 311

 

Issue 311 Cover

 

Laura Harmon & Annie Hoey of Union of Students in Ireland (USI) graced the cover of our 9th Annual Youth Issue to honour the role of USI and the students of Ireland, that were so integral to achieving marriage equality and discussed how students changed the face of Irish politics.

 

 

Issue 321

 

Issue 321 Cover

 

We stated our position on Repeal of the 8th Amendment, becoming the first cover of an Irish magazine to endorse a Yes. We chose MASER ART’s mural, which was removed from the Project Arts Centre after complaints from pro-life campaigners. We felt GCN’s cover was a way to preserve the image and the moment.

 

 

Issue 330

 

Issue 330 Cover

 

For the second anniversary of Marriage Equality, we chose to remind our readers of Joe Caslin’s iconic mural, which appeared on the bottom of Dublin’s South Great George’s St during the campaign. It’s a beautiful reminder of how our country embraced Yes, endorsing our relationships.

 

 

Issue 331

 

Issue 331 Cover

 

This arresting image by the writer and photographer PP Hartnett set out our stall for the relaunch of GCN with a brand new design in June 2017. The concept behind the new GCN you see today is “a strong, bold, opinionated, must-read magazine that holds on to its original ideals while confidently embracing the future.”

 

 

Issue 337

 

Issue 337 Cover

18 brave and fabulous people answered our callout to get naked for GCN‘s first ever Health and Wellbeing special, celebrating body positivity. The shoot, by Hazel Coonagh Photography, was one of our favourite of all time, and it was one of our most popular covers ever. And we can see why: aren’t they all gorgeous?

 

 

Issue 340

 

Issue 340 Cover

 

The #GCN30 Birthday Issue celebrates 30 years of LGBT+ history in Ireland through the pages of GCN: from decriminalisation of homosexuality to marriage equality, 30 columnists remember 30 moments that changed Ireland. The gorgeous cover, specially created by Will St Leger captures those moments.

To celebrate GCN’s 30th birthday we are taking a trip down memory lane, taking a look at some of our most iconic covers, counting down to our 30th-anniversary issue.

 

We begin with GCN’s very first issue, GCN Issue 1

 

 

Founded by Tonie Walsh and Catherine Glendon and published on February 10, 1988, GCN Issue One featured articles about cross-dressing, Ireland’s ongoing criminalisation of sexual conduct between men, and a quiz about what rights readers enjoyed, or mostly didn’t, as gay and lesbian citizens of Ireland.

 

 

Issue 37

 

Issue 37 Cover

 

The new look of GCN aimed to reflect a broadsheet newspaper, with plenty of news, views and reviews beneath snappy headlines, all edited by Francis Thackaberry. We love the ‘Holy Homophobia’ headline for a cover story about Irish queers travelling to NYC to protest the banning of LGBTs marching in Patrick’s Day Parade there.

 

 

Issue 48

 

Issue 48 Cover

 

This iconic cover from February 1993, just four months before homosexuality was decriminalised in Ireland, celebrates the first time members of the gay community were invited to Áras an Uachtarain by then President Mary Robinson. We recognise a few faces on the steps of the Áras, do you?

 

 

Issue 54

 

Issue 54 Cover

 

Published in June 1993, the people celebrating the decriminalisation of homosexuality in front of the Dáil are, left to right, Kieran Rose and Chris Robson of GLEN, Phil Moore from Parents Support and GCN News Editor and GLEN co-chair, Suzy Byrne.

 

 

Issue 91

 

Issue 91 Cover

 

For the first time Gay Community News moved in the direction of a magazine, with a specially commissioned, full-colour photo (by Niall Sweeney and Eamonn Doyle), at the centre of which sat Panti Bliss in her first ever cover-shoot.

 

 

Issue 100

 

Issue 100 Cover

Edited by Deborah Ballard, the 100th issue of GCN saw it get a glossy cover for the first time ever. Inside, a cornucopia of articles about all things currently political and cultural in queer Ireland, and the launch of a writing competition called Queer Writes.

 

 

Issue 165

 

Issue 165 Cover

 

With complete rebranding and new design, courtesy of Fionán Healy, and new editor, Brian Finnegan, GCN went full colour, and changed format too. The new size was ‘magaloid’, a cross between magazine and tabloid. The mix of politics and community was retained, with a new emphasis on cover stars, interviews and lifestyle content.

 

 

Issue 200 

 

Issue 200 Cover

 

This terribly blasphemous cover, shot by Emily Quinn and ‘Pantified’ by Niall Sweeney, features GCN’s founder Tonie Walsh as an irreverent sacred heart in a hoodie, complete with a pink triangle for a heart. It was a fitting celebration of the legendary activist, without whom GCN would not exist.

 

 

Issue 201 

 

Issue 201 Cover

The first ever GCN Youth Issue cover was shot on a rooftop in Temple Bar and featured members of the BeLonG To Youth Services, some of whom you might recognise today (James Kavanagh, anyone?). 19-year-old youth editor, Kevin Gaffney was mentored to produce an issue full of bright young voices, and he played a blinder.

 

 

Issue 223

 

Issue 223 Cover

 

Ah, would you look at them all! For the Pride 2008 cover, we did a great big shoot with the doyennes of Dublin’s Drag Scene, brandishing bouquets for gay marriage (which wouldn’t come our way for another seven years). Don’t they all look like spring chickens?

 

 

Issue 230

 

Issue 230 Cover

 

As we geared up to celebrate 21 years of GCN with a massive queer party at Dublin’s Red Box with lots of iconic Irish guests, we photographed the winners of our own be a GCN cover star contest, with this crazy and colourful shoot.

 

 

Issue 231

 

Issue 231 Cover

 

The 21st birthday issue featured queer Irish icons and ‘stately homos’, Senator David Norris and Ailbhe Smyth dressed French Regency style, and photographed at No’10 Ormond Quay. “It was a great, fun shoot,” says our editor Brian Finnegan. “Chatting to David Norris while he dressed as Louis XVI was an experience in itself, and Ailbhe’s wig had a life of its own!”

 

 

Issue 235

 

Issue 235 Cover

 

Artist Will St Leger gave Judy Garland a subtly queer makeover for this Pride issue, which had a feature making the connection between the ultimate gay icon’s death in June 1969 and the Stonewall riots, which sparked the Pride movement.

 

 

Issue 248

 

Issue 248 Cover

 

Our first typographic cover ever features a momentous quote from the speech Senator David Norris gave in the Seanad on the day that civil partnerships legislation was passed.

 

 

Issue 250

 

Issue 250 Cover

 

For our 250th issue we re-created the iconic ‘V-J Day Kiss in Times Square’ photo. Editor Brian Finnegan remembers “We shot it at 6am on O’Connell Street before the world woke up and pedestrians might start questioning why two ‘sailors’ were wearing the faces of each other on our main thoroughfare.”

 

 

Issue 251

 

Issue 251 Cover

 

Styled by Veda Beaux Reves and photographed by Peter Fingleton, our 2010 youth issue cover is one of our favourites. Inside we asked LGBT+ teens what superheroes they would be, and what their powers would be. The four queer kids who featured on our front cover were as patient as saints for a shoot that literally took hours to do. The results, we think you’ll agree, were super!

 

 

Issue 265

 

Issue 265 Cover

 

The Rubberbandits were well up for this über-queer recreation of the infamous nipple-pinch painting, Gabrielle d’Estrées et une de ses soeurs, which was shot in The Sugar Club. If you look very closely, you’ll see Santa in the background, calmly observing the surrealism, a gentle nod to the fact that it was our 2009 Christmas issue.

 

 

Issue 283

 

Issue 283 Cover

 

Heigh ho! The last ever winner of Alternative Miss Ireland, Minnie Mélange, aka Sinéad Burke got the crown playing Disney’s Snow White with a terrific twist. So, we decided to go all Disney on her commemorative cover with a shoot in the Phoenix Park by Emma Haugh and illustration by Stephen Byrne. For Minnie, it was a dream come true.

 

 

Issue 291

 

Issue 291 Cover

 

In January 2014, Panti Bliss went on telly and called some people who said nasty things about gays, “homophobic”. All hell broke loose and they all threatened to sue her and the national broadcaster. RTÉ bent over and gave those people lots of dosh, but Panti wasn’t for bowing down. We felt we had to show our absolute support with a special shoot by Aaron McGrath Photography.

 

 

Issue 302

 

Issue 302 Cover

 

In February 2015, Leo Varadkar T.D. became the first member of the cabinet to come out as gay, on the Miriam O’Callaghan show. Little did we know (or did we actually suspect?) that in just two years he’d be the first gay Taoiseach. He gave his first post-Miriam interview exclusively to GCN and looked smouldering on the cover.

 

 

GCN Issue 305

 

Issue 305 Cover

 

In the days before the marriage referendum, President Mary McAleese gave a speech saying that it was the moral thing for Catholics in Ireland to vote yes to equality for the generations to come. It was a huge moment, and this cover celebrates her contribution and that of all other straight allies to the Yes Equality campaign. Go, Mary!

 

 

Issue 306

 

Issue 306 Cover

 

We shot this triple-fold commemorative cover before the marriage referendum, asking the leaders of the Yes Equality campaign to look very proud, but not celebratory. At the time we didn’t know whether the cover would be celebrating a Yes, or saying we’d fight on in the wake of No. We commissioned two versions of the entire issue too, one in case it was a Yes and one in case it was a No. It was published the Monday after Ireland voted Yes.

 

 

Issue 309

 

Issue 309 Cover

The Director of TENI – Transgender Equality Network Ireland, Broden Giambrone, and chair of the TENI board, Sara Phillips posed for this special cover commemorating the passing of the Gender Recognition Act in July 2015. The resulting legislation is some of the most forward-thinking in the world, and that largely comes down to the campaigning work of everyone at TENI.

 

 

Issue 310

 

Issue 310 Cover

 

Shirley Temple Bar, who has been a columnist with GCN since 2005, providing her services for free as her contribution to the community, graced our cover for the second time in 2015, celebrating 30 years of The George Bar, Dublin’s oldest and most beloved gay bar. We made her eat every bit of that cake. Honest.

 

 

Issue 311

 

Issue 311 Cover

 

Laura Harmon & Annie Hoey of Union of Students in Ireland (USI) graced the cover of our 9th Annual Youth Issue to honour the role of USI and the students of Ireland, that were so integral to achieving marriage equality and discussed how students changed the face of Irish politics.

 

 

Issue 321

 

Issue 321 Cover

 

We stated our position on Repeal of the 8th Amendment, becoming the first cover of an Irish magazine to endorse a Yes. We chose MASER ART’s mural, which was removed from the Project Arts Centre after complaints from pro-life campaigners. We felt GCN’s cover was a way to preserve the image and the moment.

 

 

Issue 330

 

Issue 330 Cover

 

For the second anniversary of Marriage Equality, we chose to remind our readers of Joe Caslin’s iconic mural, which appeared on the bottom of Dublin’s South Great George’s St during the campaign. It’s a beautiful reminder of how our country embraced Yes, endorsing our relationships.

 

 

Issue 331

 

Issue 331 Cover

 

This arresting image by the writer and photographer PP Hartnett set out our stall for the relaunch of GCN with a brand new design in June 2017. The concept behind the new GCN you see today is “a strong, bold, opinionated, must-read magazine that holds on to its original ideals while confidently embracing the future.”

 

 

Issue 337

 

Issue 337 Cover

18 brave and fabulous people answered our callout to get naked for GCN‘s first ever Health and Wellbeing special, celebrating body positivity. The shoot, by Hazel Coonagh Photography, was one of our favourite of all time, and it was one of our most popular covers ever. And we can see why: aren’t they all gorgeous?

 

 

Issue 340

 

Issue 340 Cover

 

The #GCN30 Birthday Issue celebrates 30 years of LGBT+ history in Ireland through the pages of GCN: from decriminalisation of homosexuality to marriage equality, 30 columnists remember 30 moments that changed Ireland. The gorgeous cover, specially created by Will St Leger captures those moments. 

Check out our anniversary issue at gcn.ie/current-issue

© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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