Spoken word artist Leon Dunne has released an incredibly powerful video speaking about the continuing homophobia from past generations that didn’t magically disappear despite the giant steps society has taken in the last few years.
Shot by Joe McGovern, A Brief Encounter details an argument with an “older gentleman” – “a traditional oul’ divil’ – not so much that he was sentimental of the ‘old days’ but more in the mental sense of homophobic ways.”
28 year-old Dublin-born Dunne is currently studying film and English in UCD. A love for reading turned into a love for writing, and from that blossomed this video. Explaining his inspiration for the piece, Dunne said that he wanted to use spoken word as a platform to address issues that aren’t being spoken about – backwards views that still prevail.
The piece continues “He had a fear of gays and others that he seemed to deem different. This fear of queer or anything else near that challenges the balance of power that is held quite dear to the likes of him. For you see, this man was the epitome of the heteronormative. I told him nothing is concrete, even gender is performative.”
The video then discusses how society is changing for the better, the overwhelming success of the Marriage Equality Referendum, the lessening power of the Church and the younger generations of LGBTQ+ people and their allies coming into their own.
As it nears its powerful end, Dunne’s video describes “There’s differences between us, me and him, him and me, but if you looked at us both, similarities you might see; white, middle-class, male, straight, but while his sort bars the doors our sort helps to open that gate.
“Because we are all part of a new Ireland. One with a bit more fluidity, a country with a little less fucking negativity towards those brave enough to challenge the norm, because you are all beautiful and shouldn’t have to conform.”
It’s a striking piece with an inspirational message that sends out a call-to-arms for the community and its allies to come together in the face of toxicity and ignorance. We look forward to more from Dunne.
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