No one in the North America had heard of Panti Bliss three days ago. Now this Irish drag queen—Ireland's most famous drag queen—is all over our blogs, our Facebook pages, our news programs, and our Twitter feeds.
@PantiBliss Hello from Canada. We've got queens but maybe not so eloquent as you. Brilliantly said. You're all over Facebook here and beyond
— Michael Seven (@MRM7) February 5, 2014
Here's what happened: Rory O'Neill—the man behind (inside?) Panti Bliss—went on an Irish current events program and when the conversation turned to homophobia, O'Neill called out some noxious Irish homophobes after the program's host asked him to name names.
O’Neill gave an unequivocal answer, name-checking Irish Times columnists John Waters and Breda O’Brien, as well as Catholic think-tank The Iona Institute, as those he believed worthy of that description. Many audience members may have been heard cheering and clapping their approval, but those mentioned were significantly less enthused and began legal action against RTÉ and O’Neill on the grounds of defamation as they weren’t homophobic.
Here's notorious non-homophobe Waters on gay marriage: "This is really a kind of satire on marriage which is being conducted by the gay lobby. It’s not that they want to get married; they want to destroy the institution of marriage because they’re envious of it…" Here's noted non-homophobe Breda O’Brien on civil rights protections for LGBT people: " Equality must take second place to the common good." The Iona Institute, for it's part, opposes civil rights protections for LGBT people and is leading the fight against gay marriage in Ireland—a fight that these noxious homophobic shits are losing—and Iona traffics in distortion, fear-mongering, and misrepresentation, like our very own NOM.
The television network that aired O'Neill's interview, RTE, instantly caved and paid this nasty little collection of slimy homophobic shits €85,000—$114,000—by way of settlement. Everyone can see what's going on here: this is a transparent effort on the part of these homophobic shits to intimidate and shut up a popular and charismatic voice in Ireland's movement for LGBT equality. The haters at Iona are also attempting to set the parameters of the debate: they can say all the hateful things they like, no one is allowed to call them haters. Straight newspaper columnists quickly weighed in. They scolded the homophobes for their bullying tactics and called them out for attempting to stifle free speech—no, wait. Straight newspaper columnists scolded Panti Bliss for calling out these shitty, hateful homophobes on their shitty, hateful homophobia. Panti was being insufficiently civil, they said, to a person who has accused her and other gay people of trying to destroy the institution of marriage out of spite.
I hadn't heard about any of this—I don't think anyone in the states had—until Panti was invited to address the controversy at the Irish National Theater last weekend. If you're not among the 250,000 people who've watched the video already, you need to watch it. If you've already watched it, watch it again. It's amazing. Rory is amazing. Panti is amazing.
So consider this post a thank you note to shitty bigot John Waters and shitty bigot Breda O’Brien and all the shitty bigots at the Iona Institute. Thank you for bringing Panti Bliss to our attention. Thanks to your stupidity and Rory "Panti Bliss" O'Neill's eloquence, Panti has gained an international following. And if you shitty motherfuckers are dumb enough to sue Panti, know this: she not only has thousands of supporters in Ireland, she has thousands of new supporters all over the world. Myself included. And we will spread the word and we will raise money and we will call you shitty fucking homophobes without a moment's hesitation. Because you're a bunch of shitty fucking homophobes.
So congrats, you dumb fucking haters. You made that Irish drag queen an international superstar—and if you are stupid enough to come after her, you've made her an international cause célèbre.