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Drag queen gets standing ovation for speech on homophobia
Date: Sunday 11th January 2015

Irish drag artist Panti Bliss has delivered a jaw-dropping follow-up to her viral speech about homophobia.

Last February, a heartwarming speech that Panti gave about the oppression that gay people face went viral online, receiving millions of views.

The speech launched Panti as a major star in Ireland, releasing her own autobiography and even being sampled as part of a Pet Shop Boys track.

Almost a year on, a follow-up speech that Panti gave as part of TedX Dublin has been released.

The drag queen is just as honest as ever in the new clip, which sees her discuss the internal conflicts that gay people face around intimacy.

Panti says: “I am 45 years old, and I have never once unselfconsciously held hands with a lover in public.

“I don’t know how many of you can even imagine what that might be like. Of course it’s a small thing, isn’t it? It’s not that nobody wanted to, it’s just that we didn’t feel comfortable to.

“Every day, I am jealous of straight people, because that tiny intimate expression of affection has never once been mine.

“I see straight couples walking through the park and they are casually holding hands and I am jealous of them. I will sometimes see a man unselfconsciously put a protective arm around his girlfriend… and I am jealous of that.

“I am jealous of that because gay people do not get to hold hands in public without first considering the risk.

“Gay people do not get to put an arm through another arm, or put a hand on a boyfriend’s waist before first considering what the possible consequences might be.

“We look around to see where are we, who’s around, what kind of area is it? Are there bored teenagers hanging around?

“Are there bunches of lads outside a pub? If we decide maybe it’s okay, maybe we do hold hands – but the thing is that now those hands are not casual and thoughtless – they are considered and weighed.

“It’s no longer a small intimate gesture – it’s a political act of defiance and it has been ruined.

“Sometimes people notice. They may only notice because they’re thinking ‘oh isn’t it nice to see two gays holding hands in public?’ but they still notice – but I don’t want them to notice.

“Then our small, little, intimate human gesture has been turned into a statement that I don’t want it to be.”

“It’s just a small thing… but there are lots of small things that LGBT people have to put up with, that other people don’t have to put up with.”

Click here for the video: http://youtu.be/hIhsv18lrqY

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