The LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) collection was launched and created in August 2014 by Stephen Dee and Dermot Casey, researchers at the Cork Folklore Project. The Project was established to record and preserve stories and memories of LGBT life in Cork City and County, with a focus prior to decriminalization in 1993 but also to document the important achievements and struggles that contributed to a society that today is far more accepting of LGBT people.
This is proven today with the legalisation of same sex marriage through popular vote and the increased visibility of LGBT people in all areas of public life. The collection’s aims are to explore three main aspects: ‘Personal Recollections’ including but not limited to identity, coming out and experiences of homophobia; ‘Community Stories’ based on certain areas, streets, and forms of social interaction within the LGBT community; and ‘Political Movements’, chronicling political events, motivations and outcomes such as the creation of the Cork-based Irish Gay Rights Movement in 1976, Cork Gay Collective in 1980, and UCC Gay Soc in 1980.
The collection comprises of eighteen interviews, 2 of these were sourced from the early Folklore archive and recorded in the 1990’s when times were less open to LGBT people so the names have been anonymised by using aliases. Each interview we conducted was unique with each interviewee covering some or all of these topics and with some areas being explored in depth. We hope the material can complement LGBT research in Ireland and also stimulate further interest amongst the public in LGBT history.
To date we have distributed some of this material to the public with an audio visual presentation on YouTube and in 2016 in conjunction with Cork City Partnership for LGBT Awareness week we produced a public exhibition of our sound excerpts at Cork City Library.
Most recently in March 2019 we presented audio from our collection at the first OUTing the Past LGBTQ+ History Festival in Cork, held at the City Hall’s Millennium Hall. This presentation focused on the early years of Cork’s underground gay scene.
Special thanks to all our interviewees and also to Alvina Cassidy whose research also features in this collection.
This LGBT collection of interviews is stored within the Cork Folklore Project permanent oral history archive run in conjunction with UCC’s Folklore and Ethnology Department and Northside Community Enterprises, with both a physical and digital presence. As with all our material, access to full interviews is supervised through a variety of permissions and forms.