Powerful poem highlights impact of racism on queer people of colour in Ireland

Horrified by the racism of the Dublin riots, activist and artist Pradeep Mahadeshwar shares his provocative poem written in response.

The image shows a split screen portrait of Pradeep Mahadeshwar who wrote a poem about racism in Ireland. The image shows two portraits of Pradeep. in both he is looking away to the left with his head slightly tilted upwards. The image on the left is saturated in Blue, the image on the right is saturated in red.
Image: @brianteeling via Instagram

Following the violence and racism witnessed in Dublin City on the night of November 23, activist and artist Pradeep Mahadeshwar was prompted to pen a moving poem about the experience of being a queer person of colour in Ireland.

The horrific night of rioting shocked and terrified many of the city’s residents, but none more so than our Irish immigrant population. With the added anxiety of growing anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment, primarily being levelled at the trans community, queer people of colour (QPOC) have been left feeling particularly vulnerable. 

As a queer person from India who now lives in Ireland, Pradeep explained to GCN it was “heartbreaking” to witness the violence that ensued during the Dublin riots. He emphasised that the situation was “avoidable” and added the Irish LGBTQ+ community has been “pressing the rising issue of the far-right” for some time now.

“I came to this country to find a safe space to live. I am not safe. We are not safe. The far-right is not going anywhere. We need to keep united, keep visible and keep connected,” he explained.

However, Pradeep, founder of Queer Asian Pride Ireland (QAPI), also highlighted the importance of not “pointing fingers” and being mindful of the language used when referring to those who carried out the violence. He noted that racism and anti-immigrant sentiments exist in many circles, and it’s important for members of the queer community to also check their biases. 

He urged people to consider how they can really fix this problem rather than simply participating in “performative activism” and shifting the blame onto others.


As well as curating the Queer Spectrum Film Festival, which was postponed as a result of the riots, Pradeep has made several films, performances and visual artworks dealing with his experience of micro-racism in the Irish queer community. His latest work, ‘An Untitled Poem’, expands on the theme of racism through the new lens of the overt violence, destruction and anti-immigrant chants delivered during the riots.

An Untitled Poem in the light of the 23rd November riots in Dublin

In the crucible of adversity, a journey unfolds,
A migration from the known to the unknown,
A quest for a haven, a sanctuary, a “safe place.”
Yet, within the tapestry of relocation,
Threads of racism weave a sinister pattern,
Fear of isolation and the bitter taste of “othering.”
It affects not just the body but the very fabric of the mind.
A viral voice message echoes, a poison in the air,
“Got to kill the foreigners in the streets.”
A symphony of hatred that reverberates,
A dissonance that fractures the fragile harmony of acceptance.

As a QPOC of colour, I stand as a witness,
Eyes wide open, ears attuned to the nuances of discord.
White queer men cast judgments on far-right anti-immigrant mobs,
Labelling them “scumbags” as if from a distant planet,
Yet, within their own ranks, a paradox unfolds.
Pride in nationality, ethnicity, and skin colour wore as a crown,
A boastful tag, a perceived superiority that erects barriers,
Dividing, delineating, a subtle form of othering.

White gay men seek equality and acceptance,
Yet, they render judgment on immigrant gay men of colour,
A hierarchy of belonging where lines are drawn,
Making them feel out of place, a painful exclusion.
Respect and fair treatment denied, a betrayal within the kin.
Contradictions echo in history’s expanse,
Irish gay men sought refuge, a distant dance.

As a gay man of colour, I navigate uncharted waters,
An unsaid anti-immigrant sentiment, an elephant in the room.
Racism, an insidious undercurrent at the touchpoints of the queer community,
Silent whispers of sexual objectification, shame draped in silence,
An elephant that doesn’t burn buses or scream in the streets,
Yet, its presence etches deep, invisible cuts on brown skin,
Burning self-esteem without a visible plume of smoke.

Amid this silent struggle, I stand resilient,
A testament to the strength of the human spirit.
For in the face of prejudice, in the shadows of discrimination,
I declare my identity unbroken, my self-esteem unwavering,
A voice rising above the dissonance, proclaiming
That the silent cuts and burns will not define me,
For I am more than the pain etched on my brown skin.

© 2023 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

Support GCN

GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.

During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.

GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.

0 comments. Please sign in to comment.