SHAG Week and FREE HIV Testing!

So, as those of you at UL may know, week six is UL Sexual Health and Guidance Week, or SHAG Week for short! As Out in UL is a 100% sex positive society, spreading sexual health information is an important part of our aims. Sex education is particularly important for the LGBTQ+ community in Ireland, as information on queer sexual health is still very much lacking in Irish schools.

Our members’ meeting tomorrow night at 7pm in S116 will be all about sex, covering sex positivity, consent and information on protection and STIs. This is a meeting we hold every year and one that’s really important, so we hope to see as many of our members there as possible!

Next Thursday, we’re teaming up with GOSHH and UL Students Union to provide free rapid HIV testing to students! As HIV is on the rise in Ireland with 2015 seeing more new cases than previous years, knowing your status is more important than ever. Of course, HIV affects not just men who have sex with men, but also heterosexual men and women, and this testing is intended for everyone to avail of.

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Rapid HIV testing is incredibly fast and easy, and anyone who gets tested will be entered into a draw to win tickets for Metropolis! We hope to get as many people as possible tested in the SU next week. Please share our Facebook event page and tell all your friends!

An amazing start to the year!

It is almost the end of week five here in UL and that is hard to believe because the first five weeks of the academic year have flown! It has been an incredible start to the semester for Out in UL and I’m sure our committee speak for the whole society when we say that we have thoroughly enjoyed the semester thus far. Our semester started with an incredible reception at the C&S Recruitment Drive where we got a really satisfying number of signups and massive interest in our society. This made us all the more enthusiastic for the weeks ahead!

Our members meetings have been taking place on Monday evenings from 7-8pm in S116 (just like last semester) and have been really well-received so far! Covering such topics as queer vocabulary, bisexuality/pansexuality/polysexuality and where LGBTQ+ people see themselves in the world around them, all of our meetings engaged our members immensely and were very enjoyable for all involved. Of course, the real MVPs here are our members themselves! We are incredibly grateful for how much members have contributed to the society’s activities so far this semester, particularly new members! The future of Out in UL looks so bright.

So what to expect for the rest of the semester? With week six being Sexual Health and Guidance Week (SHAG Week), our next Monday members’ meeting is going to be all about sex ed! We’re also going to be holding free rapid HIV testing in conjunction with GOSHH and UL Students’ Union next Thursday, and there will be more information to come on that in a subsequent blog post! With Societies of UL Week (SoUL Week) in week eight and Rainbow Week in week nine, there is going to be lots more news to come, so watch this space and keep an eye on all of our social media for updates. The next few weeks are not to be missed!

HAPPY OUT IN UL NEW YEAR!

The autumn semester starts tomorrow, and you know what that means! Lots of things but most importantly that Out in UL is BACK! Everyone at Out in UL HQ is excited to see all of our members again and we are so enthusiastic about the year ahead! This coming week we are particularly looking forward to meeting all of the new LGBTQ+ students at UL and welcoming them to the Out in UL family. Our aim is to be a welcoming, inclusive society that will do our best to support and advocate for LGBTQ+ people on campus and beyond.

For any new students who are interested in joining, here’s what you have to do:

  1. Register for the UL Wolves site if you haven’t already and go to Clubs and Societies > All Societies > Out in UL.
  2. Select “Request Membership” and pre-register for membership.
  3. Come meet us at the recruitment drive and pay the €3 membership fee.
  4. HOORAY YOU’RE A MEMBER NOW!

This year’s recruitment drive will take place from 4pm-7:30pm on Wednesday 7th September in the sports arena! The recruitment drive gives students the chance to sign up for clubs and societies. Out in UL will have a stand there and you’ll get the chance to meet some of our committee members and ask any questions you may have about our society, so do come along and sign up!

Our first members’ meeting of the semester will take place on the Monday of Week 2, that is, Monday 12th September at 7pm! The location of the meeting is to be confirmed but more details about the meeting are to come. Be sure to check your student email towards the end of next week as we send out weekly emails to our members containing information and news about the society!

That’s all for now but be sure to check this space and follow our social media in the coming days for more updates! We look forward to meeting you all! ❤

Pride Season 2016: Out in UL’s trips to Dublin and Limerick Pride!

So, this is our first blog post in a while, and we hope all of our members and friends are enjoying their summer! Even though we’re away from UL, it’s been a lively few weeks for Out in UL as Pride season is in full swing. For the weekend of the 24th-27th June, a number of our members travelled to Dublin for what is Ireland’s largest Pride festival and a fantastic time was had by all. We were among the tens of thousands of people who took part in the annual Dublin Pride Parade on the 25th and it was truly phenomenal.

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The Out in UL entourage at the end of the Dublin parade!

Dublin Pride this year came at a very sensitive time for the community as it took place just a couple of weeks after the horrific Pulse massacre in Orlando. This year’s march was for many of its participants very much a show of solidarity towards victims of queerphobic violence and a demonstration of defiance in the midst of hatred and hostility. Of course, it was also a day for the celebration of our community and how amazingly far we have come.

Fast forward three weeks to the 16th July, the day of the Limerick Pride Parade. While nowhere near on the same scale as Dublin Pride, Limerick Pride is a very special event for the city’s LGBTQ+ community. This year the parade was the largest yet and it is amazing to see the extent to which Limerick Pride has grown. A slightly smaller group of Out in UL members and friends marched in the parade and it was equally amazing to Dublin Pride.

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Out in UL peeps at Limerick Pride!

Another very special thing about this year’s Limerick Pride is that it was the first time Limerick Pride has ever transgender grand marshal. Broden Giambrone, chief executive of Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI), gave a rousing address at Pridefest in the Hunt Museum gardens where he spoke about the advancement of the trans community and the need for restoring the political meaning behind Pride. This was a very important moment for some of our society’s members and friends and a historic moment for Limerick Pride as a whole.

Without a doubt, this year’s Pride season has been fantastic for our society and we thank all of our members who came along, we hope you guys enjoyed it! We hope everyone has a fantastic second half of summer and we cannot wait to see you all again in September!

Out in UL AGM & Mary Pinkhairs 2016!

Out in UL’s Annual General Meeting (also our last members meeting of the semester, sadface) was held on Monday April 18th and our new committee was elected! We are incredibly excited for next semester as our committee looks like a force to be reckoned with, featuring old faces and new. Following our AGM, this year’s Mary Pinkhairs took place, recognising the extraordinary conventional and unconventional achievements of our members. Congratulations to all the winners and those who were nominated, and to everyone in the society for making 2015/16 an amazing year for Out in UL. ❤ Worry not, we’ll be back in a few months and here’s hoping that 2016/17 will be another fantastic year for our wonderful society!

Mary Pinkhairs 2016 – The Winners!
Best Mary Pinkhair: Ciara Gordon
Roots Award for Growth: Sarah Hogan
Best Couple as Shipped by Mary Pinkhair: Ilyana Keohane and Baked Goods
Shadiest Mary Pinkhair: Francis Lee
Best Moment: Lorcan disappearing at Pride and Ciara falling off the bus
Why Jack Off Alone Award: Seán Ó Broin Mike Wazowski-ing Seán Lynch
Best Mysterious Mary Pinkhair: Student centre referendum No campaign (accepted on their behalf by Yes campaign shade-thrower Kiera Thornton)
Honorary Mary Pinkhair: Michelle Whyte

Incoming Out in UL Committee for Autumn Semester 2016/17!
Co-Presidents: Ciara Gordon and Seán Lynch
Vice President and Public Relations Officer: Kiera Thornton
Secretary: Sarah Hogan
Treasurer: Christian Tan
Events Officer: Seán Ó Broin
Events Assistant: James Connolly
Campaigns Officer: Lorcan O’Donnell
Health and Safety Officer: Francis Lee
First Year Rep: Vacant – to be elected at start of Autumn semester
Ordinary Committee Members: Robert Culhane and Catherine Mann

Cirque du Queerbash!

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Queerbash XIII was another AMAZING night! We are super proud of this event as a whole and 2016’s installment was as unforgettable as ever. This year’s time, of course, was #CirqueDuQueerbash, and you could see the spirit of the circus theme around the venue with our beautiful, colourful, circusy decor and, of course, all of the wonderful attendees who got into the circus spirit with their costumes!

The doors for the event at Dolan’s Warehouse opened at 9pm and before the show we had some lovely people from UL Circus Society showing off their amazing skills. Music on the night was provided by our lovely DJ, Eoghan Clark. The show itself started at 11pm and was hosted by the dashing Notorious K.I.D! It also featured remarkable performances from Charnell Clearwater, UL Drama Society and Dance UL, all of which were absolutely breathtaking.

The show finished with a blistering performance from Cosmic Humans, a young band made up of UL students who certainly have bright futures ahead of them in music if their show at Queerbash was anything to go by! They played a mixture of originals and covers and certainly got the crowd going.

All in all, Cirque du Queerbash was absolutely superb, thank you so much to everyone who made it a massive success and we hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did! We cannot wait until next year’s Queerbash plus all the other wonderful events we’re going to have in the meantime.

Queerbash 13: Queers go to the Circus

What’s that? Out in UL’s biggest event of the year is just around the corner?? That can only mean one thing…

QUEERBASH IS HERE!

Yup, it’s finally that time again! Queerbash XIII is happening on Friday 15th April at 9pm in Dolan’s Warehouse in Limerick.

Oh what’s that? You want to know the theme? Well this year’s theme is…

Cirque du Queerbash!

That’s right, for our lucky 13th year of Queerbash we’re going to transform Dolan’s into our very own circus. Think mimes, lions, elephants, monkeys, clowns, jesters, ringleaders, gypsies, acrobats, burlesque dancers and anything you can work your way into being acceptable to see at a big top!

As always, we have plenty of special guests lined up for the night, including our very own AMUL favourite, Notorious K.I.D.! We also have  performances by Dance UL, UL Drama Soc, and Charnell Clearwater, as well as music from Cosmic Humans and a DJ!

So roll up, roll up, as Out in UL invite you to get your 2008 Britney on and join us at the circus!

Sparkles!

Sparkles 2016 took place on Saturday 2nd April and was as successful as ever! Out in UL members and non-members alike gathered in Plassey Village Hall for an amazing day of educational fun. The aim of Sparkles is essentially that, it is a yearly event that seeks to educate and to unite the queer and straight communities, hence it is a very important event in the context of Out in UL’s aims as a society.

This year we had two workshops, both of which were incredibly informative and enjoyable. The first workshop was delivered by Patrick McElligott, the LGBT Support Project Worker at GOSHH. Patrick’s workshop focused on the forgotten letters of the spectrum; that is, orientations which are less commonly spoken in discourse and media. As the erasure experienced by those of some orientations is a major issue for the community and an issue Out in UL seeks to address, we felt this was a particularly pertinent workshop for many in the society. The workshop involved discussions about media representation of sexual orientation as well as the popular perceptions of orientation in society in general, and interactive exercises which involved those present giving their own definitions of what different terms mean to them personally. It was a highly educational workshop which everybody benefited from, and a massive thank you to Patrick and GOSHH for being as wonderful as always!

The second workshop was delivered by Out in UL committee’s very own Ciara and Kiera! This first part of this workshop involved a discussion on gender variance, which sought to educate those at Sparkles about identities and forms of gender expression outside the binary of male and female. Afterwards, this moved into the group talking about issues affecting trans* people, which built upon the Trans* 101 workshop which was delivered during Rainbow Week last semester. This was followed by a discussion on how to be a good trans* ally, with those present giving their ideas as to how they could be good allies towards their trans* friends. The workshop helped raise some much-needed awareness of issues affecting trans* and gender variant people both in Ireland and internationally, and included some very fascinating discussions in which people gave their thoughts on these issues.

All in all, Sparkles was a massive success and we hope that everyone who came along enjoyed it. We want to give a massive thank you to all the members who came and also to UL Tea Appreciation Society who were fantastic to us always, bringing us tea and friends! Out in UL HQ must now go back to planning and scheming for our next big event, so stay tuned!

AMUL 2016!

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On Monday 14th March, Out in UL hosted one of our biggest events of the semester in the form of Alternative Miss UL. AMUL is an annual amateur drag competition held in the Scholars Club and we always welcome numerous performers – kings and queens alike – to take to the stage and unleash their inner disasters.

Preparations for AMUL had our committee working hard over the last few weeks. At our weekly members meeting the previous Monday (7th March), we had a drag workshop, which included a demonstration of drag makeup and an informative presentation on the history and cultural significance of drag. Right up until the night, AMUL fever was at its height in Out in UL HQ and beyond! Indeed, we attracted fantastic crowds to AMUL, Out in UL members and non-members alike. Though some people who were in Scholars beforehand may or may not have been aware that AMUL was taking place there, a few looked ever so slightly taken aback when the action began.

This year, AMUL was hosted by two wonderful queens, Teciara Mockingbird and Ali Kuyt, and featured performances from previous winners of AMUL. We welcomed three contestants, two of whom were first-time performers with no previous drag experience. As a member of the judging panel, I myself was awestruck by how impressive all the contestants were. The winner was Charnell Clearwater, a drag queen from Limerick City, who pulled off a remarkable performance that left the crowd mesmerised. It was a particularly entertaining act for those of us sitting at the judges’ table, right in front of the stage! The winner was presented with a tiara and will have the chance to perform at our next big event.

Speaking of our next big event, Out in UL HQ is now preparing for Queerbash! This is perhaps Out in UL’s largest event of the year. Each year Queerbash has a different theme and the theme is announced at AMUL, and the theme of Queerbash XIII is the circus. Cirque du Queerbash will take place in Dolans on Friday 15th April, tickets will be sold at the door for €10 and will be hosted by none other than Notorious K.I.D, a much-loved previous winner of AMUL who also performed at this year’s AMUL. We have many amazing acts lined up for the night, including the band Cosmic Humans and performances from UL Drama Society and Dance UL. It should be a fantastic event so come along, and here’s hoping it will be an even bigger success than AMUL!

(Originally published in An Focal.)

Rainbow Week 2015!

During the ninth week of the semester (starting Monday 2nd November), Rainbow Week 2015 took place! The mantra of Rainbow Week is “education, fun and educational fun”; it is an annual celebration of the LGBTQ community and its diversity and is one of Out in UL’s biggest yearly events.

Rainbow Week kicked off on Monday with a bake sale in the SU Courtyard, followed later on by the Cocktail Night in the Scholars Club. On Tuesday the society sought to celebrate those outside the community who fight for us, with an Ally Awareness Stand in the courtyard. That evening saw a deeply educational workshop from the Irish Trans* Student Alliance called “Trans 101”. This aimed to educate the members on issues relating to transgender people, too often disregarded not just by the general public but by others on the queer spectrum.

Keeping up the spirit of educational fun, Limerick-based organisation GOSHH visited the SU courtyard on Wednesday afternoon for Sex in the Courtyard, to promote discussion and information surrounding sex education, protection and orientation. That night, Out in UL had its Big Night In for members, which was an informal gathering and movie night held in Dromroe Village Hall to bring members of the society together during Rainbow Week. GOSHH returned the next day to facilitate the Erasure Workshop. This was a crucial educational event, held to raise awareness of the erasure experienced by certain orientations on the LGBTQ spectrum – such as bisexuality, pansexuality and asexuality – that aren’t as prominently portrayed in the media or public discourse.

Thursday night was the peak of the “fun” element of Rainbow Week as we headed to Strokers on Upper William Street for the Big Night Out. Some members partook in the evening’s “gender-bender” theme and the musical and drag performances were enjoyed by all. Our recovery after the Big Night Out was aided the following afternoon by the Tea Appreciation Society in SU Room 3 (shout-out to Tea Society for the really tasty green mint tea). Rainbow Week concluded with a Eurovision-themed TGIF event in Stables, held in conjunction with the International Society.

Without a doubt one of the more remarkable events seen on campus since the beginning of the semester, Rainbow Week without a doubt emphasised the vibrancy and diversity of our queer community.

(via An Focal)