Watch: Revisit queer history with Shane Daniel Byrne on RTÉ

Learn about the origins of the rainbow pride flag, drag balls, and milestones in the Irish LGBTQ+ community.

Shane Daniel Byrne sits at a desk with rainbow colored office supplies and a blackboard that says

“Why is Panti’s hair so big? ‘Cause it’s full of secrets.”

With Pride just about a month away, why not revise some queer history? Hosted by comedian Shane Daniel Byrne, Queer History Lessons discusses different aspects of culture and history such as the rainbow Pride flag, voguing, and “secret codes” used in the past. Simple, short, and informative, the series is suited for those passionate about history, as well as people who are not as well initiated with LGBTQ+ culture.

In 2021, RTE produced original LGBTQ+ content for FM Radio and RTE Player as part of its Pride programming and partnership with Dublin LGBTQ+ Pride. Parts of the programme included video spotlights on the community, a virtual parade, and the Panti Bliss monologues.

The mini web series not only covers specific terms and symbols but also dives into local queer history. In the last two episodes, Shane talks about LGBTQ+ nightlife and historic achievements in Ireland. Some recent wins include the 2015 Marriage Referendum and the Gender Recognition Act. Although a bill prohibiting conversion therapy was introduced in 2018, it is still currently in the works.

However, as the comedian stated in the history lesson, Ireland has come a long way from its uber-conservatism to becoming a more progressive and accommodating country for LGBTQ+ people. RTE itself has made major steps over the years to promote diversity and inclusion.

In 1975, The Late Late Show invited David Norris, who is believed to be the first openly gay person to be interviewed on the program. Now, the public broadcasting channel has closely collaborated with Dublin LGBTQ+ Pride to create Pride-centric content, celebrating those who have fought for the Irish LGBTQ+ community over the years.

On being part of Queer History Lessons, Shane said, “In some ways I feel so spoilt, getting to do these things, and getting these opportunities and stuff. Most of the stand-ups are actually just not really interested in the online as much. So I do feel very lucky and grateful for it.”

Shane has been actively involved in LGBTQ+ advocacy and education, such as participating in the “Dickie Dip” for prostate cancer awareness and even hosting GCN’s In and Out Festival event, Lockdown LOLZ.

Queer History Lessons is available on both YouTube and RTE Player.

© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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