Identity is a new Gay Journal published by the National Gay Switchboard in Dublin. At the time of writing Gay Star No. 10) three issues had appeared, the latter two of which are discussed here.
Let it be said straight away that ‘Identity’ is very welcome. It is modeled though not too obviously on journals such as Body Politic and Christopher Street in that it seeks to combine substantial literary content (short stories, poems, reviews of books and films) with political polemics and special items of news and current day affairs.
A good balance has been struck and the serious is necessarily tempered by the humourous. The writing is in general of a high standard, and it is never less than interesting. ‘Identity’ wisely eschews long, rambling, and invariably tedious ‘consciousness-raising’ in favour of shorter, more trenchant pieces, which in most cases make a strong impact. The diversity of the journal is its greatest strength.
Several items deserve mention – T C Breen’s admirably researched articles on the Dublin Scandals of 1884 (no. 21), and the ‘Strange Case3 of Bishop Atherton’ (No. 3), lend an instructive historical dimension to the paper; David Norris’s article on the Christian Churches (No. 2), is lucidly erudite if a little blib; Damian Stewart’s ‘Last Dance’ (No. 3), an engaging story which captures the ‘treadmill’ nature of the gay scene and the desperate anxieties of its patrons; and David O’Connor’s ‘Crumbs’, while frequently losing its way in the author’s frenetic attempts to intellectualize his characters, still manages to be a refreshingly unconventional piece of writing.
It is still possible to quibble. While some pieces in ‘Identity’, most notably those of Father Joe O’Leary and Conor Davidson, raise important controversial topics, there is nowhere to be found a serious discussion of them. the journal exudes a ‘Glad to be Gay’ tone which is to be applauded; equally necessary is a facility for self-criticism and a questioning approach to many aspects of current gay lifestyles.
It is to be hoped that in future issues, ‘Identity’ will open up debate on such topics as the positive and negative aspects of gay ghettoes, and the opinions before the Gay movement in its attempt to pursue political change.
- National Gay Federation – Identity
- Key dates for lesbian, gay, bi, and trans equality
- The Boys on the Rock by John Fox
The National Gay Federation is now known as National LGBT Federation (NXF) –
Review of ‘Identity’ first published in Gay Star No 10 (held int he Linenhall Library Archives)