Queer Tattoo Artists And Allies To Hold Tattooing Event In Aid Of Teach Solais

With Teach Solais LGBT+ Resource Centre at risk of closing, AWOL Tattoos are holding a "Big Gay Charity Flash Day" on May 17th to raise much-needed funds.

A tattoo artist with tattoos of hearts and the word

Galway-based tattoo shop AWOL Tattoos are due to hold a mass tattooing event, dubbed a “Big Gay Charity Flash Day,” with all proceeds going to Teach Solais LGBT+ Resource Centre.

An announcement in March that Teach Solais would likely be forced to close its doors this November due to a lack of funding triggered an outpouring of grief from the LGBT+ community. Teach Solais is the only resource centre available for the LGBT+ community in the West of Ireland.

The centre, run by AMACH! LGBT Galway, provides vital services including peer support groups, the Galway branch of the LGBT Helpline, free HIV testing by AIDS West and countless social and wellbeing events.

The centre has launched a GoFundMe page in order to raise the €18,000 needed to continue operations. Despite the huge support received so far, its fundraising goal has yet to be met.

The tattoo artist behind the project, Ciaran O’Brien, posted on Instagram to announce the planned fundraiser, saying “Teach Solais LGBT+ Resource Centre is the first of its kind in the west of Ireland, and is a vital safe space for the LGBT+ Community. Ran and founded by Amach! LGBT Galway, It is a great hub of activities, support, education, resources, information and events for the LGBT+ community in galway city and the west.

“Teach solais will sadly have to close its doors if they don’t reach their 18k goal. As they receive NO GOVERNMENT FUNDING !!! Leaving many many people who rely on its services with nowhere to go!”


O’Brien originally intended to run the “Big Gay Charity Flash Day” alone, but later chose to grow the event by getting colleagues involved. He describes how, having been looking for an LGBT+ charity to raise funds for, he happened to find himself tattooing a Teach Solais staff member one day and get talking about the centre’s work. He knew immediately that Teach Solais was the charity to support, and the rest of the AWOL Tattoos team were delighted to get on board.

The team will tattoo all day on Friday May 17, with all proceeds going to Teach Solais. There will be a flash sheet of tattoos to choose from, with all designs set at €50 – though organisers welcome any extra donations in support of Teach Solais’ important work.

“They work with all members of the LGBT+ community from young gays being kicked out of home for being themselves to older gays forced back into the closet in fear of nursing homes,” O’Brien says of the resource centre. “Teach solais is like an oasis for these people who would be forced to travel to Dublin for help if they have to close. I’m fortunate to work a well paying job and even I find the travel expenses hard, never mind a young homeless gay. I think us city gays don’t realise how good we had it coming out, for those in rural Ireland they rely on these type of places!”

A further aim of the event is to break down the stigma around those who are HIV Positive getting tattooed. “Just like any other customer it’s fine,” says the artist behind the endeavour, but many people still don’t know that. The artists at AWOL Tattoos aim to create an inclusive environment where all customers feel comfortable.

Further announcements involving Club Gass and alternative barber Major Fader are promised, and those interested are encouraged to follow those involved on social media for updates.

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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