Every year, Dublin Pride is celebrated in increasingly vibrant, rambunctious and joyous fashion. In this, the final year of the second decade of the 21st Century, the capital of Ireland ranks among the most LGBT+ friendly cities in the world. But what is the queer experience like for people across the rest of Ireland? In a special four-part hotpress.com series, Pride Beyond the Pale intends to find that out. We begin in the legendary Kingdom of Kerry, where we meet some wonderful, pioneering locals, and hear what they have about the queer experience here.

at Carey was the last person to lead the Tralee Pride Parade. That was back in 2015. Originally from the small Co. Kerry town of Castlemaine, Pat is a former Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht affairs, holding office from 2010 to 2011, in the Fianna Fáil-led coalition government with the Green Party. Pat came out as gay late in life, but as a former Grand Marshal of Tralee Pride, a call to him seemed like a good place to begin research on Pride in the Kingdom. His response was hugely disheartening. “I left Kerry in 1965, I am afraid,” he said, “and I haven’t been back much since then.”

My worst fears – that Kerry is still small, parochial, closed-minded, no place for queer people – seemed to be confirmed before I even started. Any prejudice I had was enhanced with his closing remark: “The battle is far from won I’m afraid.” He had put me on notice.

My next call opened up a very different vista.

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Article is from HotPress edition of June 2019 by Niamh Browne