Kildare LGTB group makes history

FOR the first time ever, the county has crowned its own Mr and Ms Gay Kildare, and Miss Alternative Kildare. The Derby House Hotel, Kildare town hosted an LGBT Diversity seminar for the South East and Midlands on Saturday May 28, which was followed by the ground breaking social event, organised by Sunrise LGBT Kildare.

FOR the first time ever, the county has crowned its own Mr and Ms Gay Kildare, and Miss Alternative Kildare. The Derby House Hotel, Kildare town hosted an LGBT Diversity seminar for the South East and Midlands on Saturday May 28, which was followed by the ground breaking social event, organised by Sunrise LGBT Kildare.

Sunrise LGBT chairperson and founder, Cris Pender was chosen as Mr Gay Kildare, while Mary Gibney was voted Ms Gay Kildare and Sky Summers was crowned Alternative Miss Kildare 2011.

“It was the first time ever we had such an event in Kildare. It was brilliant,” said Cris.

The event was a resounding success with contestants in their own categories arriving on stage in their day wear where they were introduced to the judges - Bernadette Smyth (LGBT Diversity, South East), Hayley Fox Roberts (LGBT Diversity, North West), Vanessa Lacey (Transgender Equality Network Ireland), Sheila Bilge and Seanie Bergin (LGBT South Tipperary)) by Dee Valishus, an extremely talented drag queen from Waterford who was MC for the night.

The contestants then arrived on stage in their beach wear for a nerve-wracking question and answer session from the judges, where they were greeted with some surprising questions.

The final round consisted of the contestants performing their “special talents” which ranged from dance routines to singing and even a martial arts routine.

The event followed the day-long seminar, “Exploring Community and Culture”, which included a panel of speakers from a range of LGBT community organisations. Izzy Kamikaze of Northwest Pride spoke of the need for the LGBT community to be creative in bringing together existing and new supports, while James O’Connor from Open Heart House gave a presentation on the supports provided to people living with HIV in Ireland.

“There is lots more to be done, but things are happening, especially for the youth. People are really getting on board in terms of being aware and stamping out bullying and providing support for young people in their community so they don’t have to leave their community,” said Bernadette Smyth, South East Development Worker for LGBT Diversity.

A series of smaller workshops were also held throughout the day.

“I thought it went amazingly well. There were people there that I had never met before. I work with people in the county and it was good to meet other people who are doing the same work in other areas. There was a great sense of community,” added Cris.