GCN Managing Editor Lisa Connell bids us farewell after 14 years with the organisation.
During my time in GCN, I’ve worked on 140 issues of the magazine spanning over 14 years. Each one of those editions has documented the joys, progress, agony and ecstasy of our fabulous LGBTQ+ community.
When I first joined the team as a part-timer helping with distribution, we LGBTQ+ folks lived in a very different Ireland. In May 2008, there was not yet Civil Partnership legislation, no legal protection for LGBTQ+ families, no marriage equality, no gender recognition legislation, no reproductive health rights, no access to PrEP, huge stigma for people living with HIV, and Ireland was soon to experience a sharp and brutal descent into recession, the death of the septic tiger and the bailing out of the banks.
So much has changed for GCN, for Ireland, for the LGBTQ+ community in those intervening years and while there have been plenty of challenges and struggles along the way, it’s been a pleasure and a privilege to serve the community by working for Ireland’s national LGBTQ+ press all these years.
GCN has reflected queer life since 1988 and has provided me with a job, a queer family, a purpose and an absolutely fantastic working life. I’ve learned so much during my time. How to write and edit, how to sell ads and distribute magazines, and how to run community events and parties alike. How to fundraise and agitate and advocate and amplify the most marginalised voices in our community.
From 2008-2019, I worked on distribution, ad sales and events with brilliant people as teammates (too many to list here but they know who they are) and successive board members of the NXF who voluntarily served their community across a turbulent period of time and seismic social change on the island of Ireland, much of which was driven and led by LGBTQ+ folks!
In 2010, I was part of the creative team who devised Mother, a queer club night for gays and their friends. A weekly fundraiser that kept GCN afloat in the darkest days of the recession and a project that has blossomed and developed over the past 12 years. Mother has given me (and so many others) so much joy and makes me immensely proud. I will still be working on Mother with co-founder Cormac Cashman after my time with GCN is over.
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2010 – 2019 saw many changes in the line-up of the team, a rebrand (or two) of the magazine and a step into the digital landscape, more community events and GCN changing and evolving to meet the needs of its audience and remain relevant.
In 2019, I was appointed Managing Editor of GCN, a role that had long been a dream and aspiration for me. I have spent the past 3.5 years leading the organisation through some pretty challenging times but with the collaboration of the dreamiest and most talented team imaginable, I’m proud to say, I have achieved all the goals I set out at the start of my time and feel that the next person to take on this role is going to be so lucky.
The team and I have loved every second of the last three and a half years and even though there was a literal global pandemic, we worked hard to keep the community entertained, educated and informed, during the hardest days and the saddest days and we acknowledge that there was so much loss and pain suffered in that time.
I want to name these people and thank them for making my job easy and for being so inspiring in their commitment and passion and talent. Peter Dunne, Dave Darcy, Stefano Pappalardo, Katie Donohoe, Seán Kennedy, Samantha McCafferty, Marlon Jimenez-Compton, Han Tiernan, Saoirse Schad, Alice Linehan and Beatrice Fanucci.
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Also to all our volunteers, interns, freelancers, community partners, fellow activists, and readers, especially all of you who rallied behind us during the pandemic and kept us going – thank you.
On a personal note, as a queer Irish woman, it has been such a formative time for me and a significant portion of my professional career. I have always had a strong belief in the importance of telling a story, of being seen and heard and the power of representation in order to effect change, I think that’s why I’ve stuck it out as long as I have.
So here’s to all the visible queers (and the not-so-visible ones, we have your back). Here’s to the agony and the ecstasy and here’s to having a local queer press to document our lives, represent us and lift up our voices when we need amplification.
Your heart is a muscle the size of your fist. Keep loving, Keep fighting.
GCN Managing Editor Lisa Connell’s Goodbye letter is featured in the September 2022 issue of GCN 373.
© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
This article was published in the print edition Issue No. 373 (August 19, 2022). Click here to read it now.
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