Monday 16 December 2019

Exhibit A: Faces of Donegal exhibiton

Photo for 'Faces of Donegal' exhibition
Photo for 'Faces of Donegal' exhibition

Sophie Gorman

Two happy Donegal lads almost nose-to-nose. They are called Darren and Ian, and what happened next is anyone's guess, but the thought that would have been unthinkable in Ireland even as recently as just 10 years ago is that they could be about to kiss.

This picture was taken for the Faces of Donegal exhibition by Breakout, Donegal's LGBT youth group. It now features in a major exhibition of photographs in the National Photographic Archive in Temple Bar, Dublin.

It is curated by artist Kevin Gaffney for BeLonG To (belongto.org), the national organisation for LGBT people, and with the provocative title Belonging: Irish Queer Youth, it charts a decade of LGBT youth rights in Ireland.

The featured photographs document young people's participation in gay pride events, advocacy work, political protests and actions and global solidarity work. There are also simply pictures of the people involved and shots of the country's first gay prom.

Images of BeLonG To's international work also feature, including activities with UNESCO in Brazil and Paris to develop the first global guide on tackling homophobic bullying.

BeLonG To was founded in 2003 and 52 young people attended their youth services that year. In 2013 alone, there were more than 3,000 young people attending BeLonG To.

This exhibition is intended both to celebrate how much positive change has happened for Irish LGBT young people over the past decade, but also to indicate how much more needs to happen.

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