Transmen: “Adam” on BBC iPlayer & Elliot Page on top surgery … Exploring late 80s LGBT Ireland … Photobook: Out In The City trips

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Adam on BBC iPlayer

Inspired by the life of Adam Kashmiry, Adam tells the remarkable story of a young trans man and his struggle across genders and borders to be himself. Originally a multi-award-winning stage play, Adam has been reinvented as a compelling, theatrical on-screen drama. 

Born in Egypt, Adam was assigned female at birth but always knew he was a boy. Trapped in a deeply conservative society where falling in love with the wrong person can get you killed, he knew that he had to escape. With a borrowed laptop he typed in a question: ‘Can the soul of a man be trapped in the body of a woman?’ What followed was a catalyst to begin the epic journey for the right to change his body to the boy he knew himself to be. 

Written by playwright Frances Poet, and reworked for the screen, this hour-long drama focuses on Adam’s isolating experiences in a Glasgow flat while awaiting a decision on his asylum claim.

Trapped in a Catch-22 where he cannot prove his need for asylum as a trans man until he transitions but is unable to start transitioning until he is granted asylum, Adam is left alone to wrestle with his conflicting thoughts and feelings as every waking moment sees him haunted by figures from both his past and his present.

Contains some strong language and some upsetting scenes – duration 59 minutes.

First shown 6 Mar 2021 and available for 10 months on BBC iPlayer.

Follow this link.

Elliot Page with Oprah Winfrey

‘It is life-saving’: Elliot Page opens up about surgery

Actor Elliot Page is revealing how happier he feels after having top surgery and how important he believes it is to support health care for transgender people.

“I want people to know that not only has it been life changing for me, I do believe it is life-saving and it’s the case for so many people,” the actor told Oprah Winfrey on her new show. During the interview, Page teared up when Winfrey asked him what has brought him the most joy.

The Oscar-nominated star of “Juno,” “Inception” and “The Umbrella Academy” said it was the little things — like wearing a T-shirt, having a towel around his waist after a shower or touching his chest — that made him “feel comfortable in my body for probably the first time.”

Page urged officials to support health care for transgender people and allow them access to sports. Some lawmakers are seeking to ban transgender youth from playing sports that match their gender identity. “Children will die,” Page said. “And it really is that simple.”

He said the surgery has given him newfound energy “because it is such a freeing, freeing experience,” adding: “This is incredibly new. I feel like I haven’t gotten to be myself since I was 10 years old.”

Page came out as transgender in December, an announcement that was widely greeted as a watershed moment for the trans community in Hollywood. He told Winfrey the decision was “imperative” in light of the violence against transgender youth. “It felt important and selfish for myself and my own well-being and my mental health,” he said. “And also with this platform I have, the privilege that I have, and knowing the pain and the difficulties and the struggles I’ve faced in my life, let alone what so many other people are facing, it absolutely felt crucial and important for me to share that.”

Exploring late 80s LGBT Ireland through wonderful RTÉ Archive finds

Curious discussions, interviews with icons and reports continue across Irish television and radio as the media’s spotlight shines brighter on the community.

With the advances we’ve made as a community in the last few years, it can sometimes be overlooked the sheer bravery it took for LGBT+ people to proudly share who they were with the world in decades gone by. As part of a new series diving into the RTÉ archives for a trip through the LGBT history of Ireland, we continue with this selection of clips from the 1980’s.

RTÉ Television is a department of Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ), the Republic of Ireland’s state controlled national broadcaster.

The LGBT+ community of Ireland continued to dazzle as conversations surrounding sexual identity, and icons of LGBT culture, received more airtime.

Conflicts emerged though, as the media began its reports on the rapidly growing AIDS crisis. Yet, the end of the decade saw hope as a long-winded legal battle succeeded in laying down the ground work for LGBT+ rights in Ireland for years to follow.

First, it’s over to Brenda Harvey and Tonie Walsh of the Dublin Lesbian and Gay Men’s Collective as they discuss gay matters in ’80s Ireland.

How Do You Know You Are Gay? 1984

This episode of Access: Community Television was made by the NGF (National Gay Federation). We first meet a group of young heterosexual people discussing their views surrounding homosexuality, having had little to no interactions with LGBT people before with one individual saying, “I think it’s very wrong when they try to flaunt it.”

Later on, Brenda and Tonie join the discussion. Brenda explains to the group that for her, in choosing to tell people that she’s lesbian, she accepts the problems and consequences that could happen as a result of those around her being ignorant towards a gay lifestyle.

“You don’t see ‘so and so is a straight’ written on the wall or something,” adds Tonie.

Some individuals in the group felt that Brenda was being negative, to which others in the group stood in her defence. One woman challenges them by saying:

“Forget about being gay for a moment, if you come up across anything that you don’t understand … what do you do? You automatically slag it. To get away from your own ignorance.”

In this brief report, we see a prayer vigil take place outside RTÉ Studios as American authors Nancy Manahan and Rosemary Curb arrive on The Late Late Show to promote their book, Breaking Silence: Lesbian Nuns on Convent Sexuality.

The book tells of their experiences, through interviews and essays, as young women coming to terms with their sexuality while studying at a convent. The programme had RTÉ’s then highest TV ratings, attracting both praise and condemnation.

You can find the full interview on YouTube with Gay Byrne leading the discussion with Nancy and Rosemary alongside an Irish nun, Sister Maura, and Father Raphael Gallagher.

Speaking in the interview, Nancy clarifies that being lesbian does not equate to a sexual term.

“When we say ‘lesbian’ … we’re not speaking necessarily of sexual activity. We’re speaking of a sexual orientation but we’re also speaking about a spiritual and political commitment to loving women, working for women and that is the bond that connects the women in the book.”

British actor and author, Quentin Crisp chats to Gay Byrne about growing up in England, his sexuality and his eventual move to New York. Gay opens the interview asking Quentin if he had any preconceived notions of what Irish audiences would be like.

“None whatsoever. I start out each day without any prejudices, without any preconceived ideas. I start with each person all over again every day.”

Quentin was born in England in 1908. He became famous on the release of his 1968 book The Naked Civil Servant and was also a gay rights campaigner throughout his life. He died in 1999 in Chorlton, Manchester.

In 1975, The Naked Civil Servant was adapted into a film starring John Hurt.

RTÉ featured many reports on the AIDS pandemic across its programming in May 1987, as the nation began to become more educated on the issue and how to stop the spread of the virus. This clip features a man, living with HIV, sharing his story on a prime time TV panel.

“When I found out that I was HIV positive in February of last year, the first thing I did was have a complete nervous collapse.”

The clip also features comments from the Catholic church, with Bishop Desmond Williams telling a reporter that the church has not condemned the use of condoms but that “the best antidote to AIDS is virtue”.

The anxiety surrounding the pandemic was only fuelled further as government health education committees utilised fear as a desperate means of education. This would only add to the stigma surrounding the virus and so towards the LGBT+ community and those affected by it.

European Court Rules In Norris Case, 1988

A seismic moment in Irish LGBT+ history. After 14 years of campaigning and legal battles, Senator David Norris succeeded in decriminalising homosexual activity between consenting adults in Ireland in the European Court of Human Rights.

In this clip from the RTÉ News, Eamonn Lawlor, states that, according to the now long outdated law, David could face criminal prosecution and that to make him live with that risk was a breach of his right to private life under the European Human Rights Convention.

It took five years for the new law to be brought into effect with President Mary Robinson, an outspoken gay rights activist herself, signing it off in 1993.

All of this happened before the first Pride March in Dublin in the 90s.

(Thanks to Gay Community News, Ireland for permission to reprint this article)

Photobook: Out in the City Trips

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