The Cork Gay Collective was set up in 1980.
The Cork Gay Collective was established as a new, more radical type of Irish gay group, a departure from what many would have seen as the more reformist policies of groups like the Irish Gay Rights Movement and the National Gay Federation.
The CGC recognised that legal change was important but that this was not enough. What was needed was a deeper challenge to society’s view of sexuality and gender stereotyping. They sought to encourage more positive and open attitudes among gay people to their sexuality. They also located the struggle for gay rights as part of a wider movement for social change and made links between homophobia and discrimination against gays and lesbians and other oppressions in Ireland and internationally.
The following is the text of the Cork Gay Collective’s Manifesto:
“The laws on homosexuality are an unwarranted intrusion on personal freedom. They must be repealed. Legal changes are merely a beginning: society’s view of sexuality and the structures reflecting that view, must be altered. The Cork Gay Collective encourages gay people to have a positive view of their sexuality, to live fully and to challenge society’s control by coming out in the family, work, church and social life.
We fight against job discrimination, for equal access to accommodation, for freedom from harassment and for the equal right to express our feelings. Underlying this fight is the need for access to and dissemination of positive information about sexuality in the media and through all educational structures.
We are convinced that this struggle cannot take place in isolation and that gay liberation involves the freeing of all oppressed groups. Therefore we work towards forging links with other movements for social progress. In particular we emphasise our solidarity with the Women’s Movement, recognising that our shared oppression derives from the abuse of sexuality as a tool of exploitation which necessitated strict gender stereotyping and the denial of sexual fulfilment.
Further, we are internationalist; the oppression of gays is not solely an Irish problem not a feature of one particular economic or political system. We pledge solidarity with our sisters and brothers everywhere who suffer oppression because of their sexual orientation and we make this solidarity part of our practical work. We are products of society’s conditioning and are aware of the danger of oppressed relations amongst ourselves. We are attempting to overcome this danger by developing more open and responsive structures for communication.”