There are LGBT people working in every profession in the world, and more and more are choosing to be open about who they are among their colleagues
To celebrate the third annual workplace diversity issue of GCN, we meet just a few of the LGBT people in Irish jobs today.
Mikey O’Brian – Midwife
Being a midwife is very exciting. You’re a front-line worker so you’re meeting people from all walks of life.
Every day is different. Yes, some days are hard, especially in our current climate, but I think the benefits of being a midwife outweigh all that. When you’re in with a couple and you’re delivering a baby there’s nothing nicer than that.
Times have changed so much. When I started in the Rotunda in 2009 it would’ve been very rare to see a male gay couple coming in with a surrogate, or a lesbian couple come in pregnant, but now it wouldn’t be uncommon at all, which is really, really good and positive for the LGBT community.
I took the year off in 2013 to work with couples who were going through fertility treatment, to counsel them through their journeys. I worked with a lot of same-sex couples and what was lovely was that when I went back to the Rotunda I met some of them as they were just about to have their babies.
I have an aunt who was a midwife and she said to me: ‘if you ever get to a point where you don’t have a lump in your throat delivering a baby, that’s when you need to get out of the job’. That certainly hasn’t happened to me yet. When you deliver a baby and put it up on a woman’s chest there’s no better feeling.
Click below to read about Kate Dolan the film director.
Kate Dolan – Film Director
I have always loved films. I bought my first camera when I was 11 with my confirmation money and the filmmaking bug never went away. I majored in directing at the National Film School IADT and a lot of the people I collaborate with now I met there. After I graduated I worked for almost two years in an advertising agency and have been working as a director since then.
When I was about eight years old and I kissed a female friend at a sleepover. I had no idea how to deal with what I was feeling; I honestly believed if anyone found out I would be sent away forever. I was full of stress and angst that no child should be feeling in those formative years. It was only when I was 16 and I started seeing my first girlfriend that I began to come out.
I made my short film Little Doll because of that time in my life when I was struggling alone with feelings I didn’t understand. I wanted to make a film that portrayed that you can have feelings towards someone of the same sex from a very early age. People always equate being gay or lesbian with sex, but you can have non- sexual feelings of admiration and affection for someone when you’re young, just like a childish crush. I felt most LGBT films I’d seen hadn’t really explored these early romantic feelings.
During the writing process, I interviewed a lot of my LGBT friends and I found that many of them had a crush or inkling they were gay from as early as four or five. So I felt it was a story that needed to be told.
We had a tough time trying to fund Little Doll and ended up crowdfunding the film using IndieGoGo. I think LGBT stories are not seen as much in Ireland because LGBT content can be seen as commercially viable only for a niche audience and it is believed that non-LGBT people won’t relate to LGBT films. But emotions are universal and you don’t need to be a certain sexuality to engage with a story that’s well portrayed on screen.
I think Irish LGBT filmmakers are finding their voices. Maybe they were in ‘the celluloid closet’, so to speak, and have been hesitant to make LGBT content. I think that has been changing since the referendum last year; there is just so much more visibility now. A lot of talented LGBT filmmakers are making some great work at the moment. It’s a very exciting time.
Little Doll screened with a group of Irish shorts at GAZE this year and the standard was really high, I loved so many of them.
It’s screening at a number of upcoming film festivals over the next few months, so that’s really exciting. I have written a few shorts recently so hopefully get to make one of them by the end of the year. I’m also working on writing a feature at the moment.
I recently was chosen to take part in a scheme called Guiding Lights, where you are paired with a mentor in the UK and over the course of nine months they lead you and help you with any projects you’re working on, so that’s what I’ll be up to this year.”
Click below to read about Kerrie Power – the start-up director.
Kerrie Power – Start-Up Director
My undergraduate degree was a Bachelor of Science and Applied Computing. There were very few women on my course, and very few of us completed the degree. When we did, we graduated in the middle of the dot.com bust, so there was awful unemployment within computer science. I got a job as a receptionist for a hotel chain and I decided that every single person that walked in the door could potentially be a Bill Gates who might have an opportunity for me. I worked my socks off to make a good impression and within six months I had gained a little gig within the hotel chain as a network administrator, which was my first break into IT.
At the hotel chain I didn’t tell anyone I was gay. People assumed I had a boyfriend or whatever, but when I started my next job, I decided I would be completely open and from day one I talked about my girlfriend. There’s always this unconscious bias that people are with opposite sex partners. It’s not offensive, but we have to be aware of it, and feel free to call it out and say we’re gay.
I worked in Buy & Sell magazine as a network administrator, and when my boss took a sabbatical I moved into his role as IT manager. I was 23. From there I moved to Google, and within a year I was IT manager of the Dublin office, then Google’s Office in NYC. From there I moved to Facebook’s User Operations department, where I managed a number of teams both at home and remotely in India and Warsaw.
Nordeus, a gaming start-up came to Dublin looking for someone who could nd an office, build a team, essentially from the ground up – customer relations, and social media and marketing – so I moved there. After that I moved to another tech start-up called YouPass, to manage their team, to build their Dublin of ce and do the same thing as I did at Nordeus.
Last month I spoke at the Wonder Woman event, which was about being a woman working in technology. I spoke about how women have impacted tech. We don’t have to look to far to see countless female entrepenuers. For example, looking at the eventbrite app – which we used as a ticketing solution for the event – it was founded by a woman. Or Daqri. which creates augmented reality headsets that are on the total cutting edge of technology, it was co-founded by a woman. There are so many examples of women driving tech, showing young people that it’s not just a man’s game.
I love driving start-ups because there are so many opportunities, they’re so diverse, and everything needs to be done. You can never say ‘that’s my job’ because a start-up is everybody’s job. Start-ups are for people who like getting their hands dirty and will seize the opportunity.
Click below to read about German Ferrerioa, the tattoo artist.
German Ferrerioa – Tattoo Artist
I started to become interested in tattoos when I was very young. I would buy
tattoo magazines, look at the pictures, and love everything about it. I remember as a little kid saying to my parents that one day I was going to have a full sleeve tattoo. They weren’t happy about it!
When I went to college at 18 in Buenos Aires, I began to meet people who were into tattoos, and that’s how I met the guy who helped me to buy my first tattoo machine. I never had someone teach me to do it, but a very good friend who is an amazing tattoo artist was doing my tattoos at the time. He showed me basic things, and then a lot of friends who trusted me gave me their skin to practice on. It was a lot of fun, but there are some ugly tattoos that my friends are going to have forever!
After years of learning by myself, I started working in my first tattoo shop in my hometown of La Plata in Argentina. After working in some other shops, I decided to travel and this gave me the chance to meet and work with different tattoo artists, a lot of amazing ones. Looking at them working was the best training I could have had. Now I work at The Ink Factory in Dublin.
I know there are a lot of other LGBT artists in the profession, but I have never met any. There is some homophobia. I’ve heard a lot of bad comments from other tattoo artists, and some people don’t take me seriously. Some costumers are weird about it too. Two guys decided not to get tattoos from me because I am gay. I’m happy I didn’t tattoo them because I don’t want my art on the skin of ignorant people. But most people are fine with it and respect me, because at the end of the day my work is what matters.
My style is a mix of different things. It’s based in the traditional style, but I like to add extra elements to give my tattoos a personal touch. I’m an Old School fanatic, and I always use the elements from that style. I like to do solid tattoos with bold lines and a lot of black shading, because that’s the way, in my opinion, that a tattoo is going to last forever.
The most outrageous tattoo I was ever asked to do was a tribal sun. I asked the client what size he wanted and where, and he replied, “I want it around my asshole’. A lot of disturbing pictures came to my mind! I just said I was sorry, that I couldn’t do it.
Tattoos were always popular in different cultures and places, but nowadays it’s a massive trend. This is something that most of the artists aren’t happy about. Most people want a tattoo to look cool because they see famous people with tattoos; they don’t see it as an art form.
Click below to read about Kate Brennan Harding, the radio producer.
Kate Brennan Harding – Radio Producer
A few years ago I was at a real crossroads in life where I was doing the same old, same old stuff. My girlfriend sat me down and said, ‘If you could have your dream job in the morning what would it be?’ And I replied, ‘Presenting The Late Late Show, and a radio show’. She was like, ‘Well, why don’t you do that?’ So I made the necessary steps to see how I could get my foot in the door. I began working as an intern at Today FM, and then they offered me a job. I’ve been doing it for two years now.
You know that thing where you find exactly where you’re supposed to be and everything works? That’s happening for me. I’m the evening producer in Today at FM. I produce two shows. Every show is completely different, so each task is different. I source music, I make scripts, I also organise all our content, anything from something as simple as the competitions, to arranging interviews with musicians, to live events.
I love doing live events and I also obviously love when I get to meet huge acts. I met Beck last year, and Noel Gallagher. There’s a lot of cold calling and constantly keeping on top of what’s coming in, seeing who’s in the country, requesting an interview and then chasing them and following up.
It’s amazing the amount of legwork that goes into radio. After six months of chasing someone, for example Beck, we got a 14-minute interview.
I’m completely out at work. In other jobs I used to get a catch in my throat where I just didn’t say something about my girlfriend, or I referred to her as ‘my partner’, but I’ve never had that in Today FM. It’s such an open, vibrant place, full of creative types.
I can see myself presenting; ultimately that’s what I want to do. What I want is my own show, which I’m fast-tracking. There’s a lot to learn and I have to get my voice on air more before that happens, so now it’s about focusing on that.
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