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Monday 20 February 2017

Kirsty at large: A little menstrual equality is no bad thing

Published 26/06/2016 | 02:30

Period pain: New York city has passed a series of bills ensuring free sanitary products are available in public schools, prisons and shelters.
Period pain: New York city has passed a series of bills ensuring free sanitary products are available in public schools, prisons and shelters.
Tonie Walsh and Jed Dowling at the This Is Us! Pride Opening Party at The George in Dublin.
Baz Ashwamy
Vogue Williams at the VIP Style Awards. Photo: Damien Eagers.
Loved up: Emma English and John Delaney, FAI chief executive, share a moment in the stands at the Ireland v Belgium match in Bordeaux.

Mná na hÉireann, take heed. You have been gliding through your lives in a blissful state of ignorance - surrounded by menstrual inequality.

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Yes, you read that right. This week, New York City Council passed a set of bills to ensure there are free sanitary products available in all of the State's public schools, prisons and shelters.

The move is being heralded as the beginning of the end of the so-called "stigmatisation of periods".

Soon, we will live in an era where women no longer have to use clunky phrases like "sanitary napkin" or "Aunt Flo" or pretend periods that look like Persil detergent. We will no longer be led to believe that getting your period is an opportune time to wear white jeans, or play tennis.

I'm usually weary of "sisterhood" rabble calls - it can all become so sanctimonious and preachy - but last week I was encouraged to join the fight.

I was walking down Wicklow Street when the gent I was with stopped short. "Oh look! Someone's dropped a jewellery pouch," he said, reaching towards the ground. "We should report it to the gardaí."

"Ain't no diamonds in that," I said flatly. "That, my friend, is a sanitary towel." He instantly straightened up and we carried on walking.

Granted the towel had been wrapped in a pretty plastic pink cover but the exchange stayed with me. If an Irish man, in his 30s, is confusing jewellery containers with Always maxi pads - perhaps a little menstrual equality isn't such a bad thing after all.

Pearse! Connolly! Casement!  Your Hunky Dory disco needs you

Were he alive today, I like to think that Pádraig Pearse would have embraced Pride with gusto. I can just picture him scurrying down George's Street in fringed jorts screaming about boys, kikis and a sovereign state. With Roger Casement 'Voguing' by his side.

This week, Pride marched in to Dublin town complete with dozens of disco balls, Tricolours and androgynous glam-rockers.

The 2016 theme, Rebel Rebel, pays tribute to Star Man David Bowie and our 1916 forefathers.

"It's a post-modern mash-up," one of the festival organisers told me. "Hunky Dory meets history."

Celebrations kicked off on Wednesday night in that hallowed institution The George.

"Do you think any of the signatories would have been regulars here?" I asked Irish Queer Archive founder Tonie Walsh.

"They wouldn't have needed to - they could have just hung around at Pearse's place."

Tonie told the crowd about the history of Pride and recalled some of Ireland's first gay bars, such as Flikkers - which Freddie Mercury often frequented. After several Trolley Dolly cocktails, drag act Veda took to the stage to perform a few songs.

The party continues today and Merrion Square will be filled with queens, bucking broncos and 'Space Oddity' sing-songs.

"We had to pay homage to Bowie," festival organiser Jed Dowling said. "He was such a icon."

The spirit of Ziggy Stardust hung heavy in the air this week as playwright Enda Walsh returned to our shores to chat about his new drama, Arlington.

Walsh worked with Bowie on his last show, Lazarus. "He was the best collaborator I've ever met," he said. "It was an intense time."

Arlington stars Rebellion actress Charlie Murphy and Hugh O'Conor, and will premiere at the Galway International Arts Festival.

As well as writing the script, Walsh will direct. "Can I ask how the director and writer are getting on in the rehearsal room," one arts critic asked during the press call.

"I'm not sure," Walsh replied. "But I do know they're sleeping together."

Mammy's boy Baz gets a little lost in translation


Sky's golden boy, Baz Ashmawy, is continuing to flog his adventure series 50 Ways to Kill Your Mammy around the world.

"Iran just bought the format, which is exciting," he said.

Despite the show's success, it hasn't all been plain sailing for Baz, and the professional mammy's boy admits he's run into some bumps along the way.

"We had some issues with the title in America," he said. "Mammy is a derogatory term for a large black woman over there, so it sort of had to change."

Since the success of the show, Baz says RTÉ are a lot more interested in meeting with him. Funny that.

"They have been good to me lately," he said. "And definitely more interested in hearing what I have to say."

The presenter is currently slimming down for his upcoming wedding to fiancée Tanya Evans and doled out nutritional advice at Kellogg's Powering Play breakfast this week.

"It's simple - switch Mars Bars for blueberries."


Michael D Higgins

The President’s gleeful celebrations after Robbie Brady’s goal were just priceless.


The Bajan beauty gave a knock-out performance at the Aviva, despite getting totes mosh during her performance of ‘Love the Way You Lie’. Hope Ur OK Hun xx


The Hanky Panky’


The phrase Vogue Williams (pictured) used when discussing her sex life with Brian McFadden. Shudders.


bottomless brunches/ lunches/ dinners

The two-hour table time limit really undermines the

sense of reckless abandon.



Oy vey. This image of FAI boss John Delaney puckering up and kissing his other-half Emma English in the middle of Ireland V Belgium match is not pleasant. The couple, who like to think of themselves as Ireland’s answer to Posh and Becks, are prone to OTT PDAs. They locked lips during the Ireland V England match in the Aviva last year and English has described Delaney as a “big Teddy Bear”. Rein it in, the pair of you — we want none of this in Lyon.

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