This surprised me, but some gay readers recently suggested to me that in their experience, Ogra Fianna Fail “was where it was happening”. I’d always thought that the Young Greens and Labour Youth would have been the more logical home for young gay political activists, but both these guys say that although Ogra is not somewhere where gays openly flaunt their sexuality, both of them (they’re both out) had been surprised with the amount of non-out gays they were meeting in Ogra. One referred to it as “lonely farmer’s sons syndrome” where they, as open gays, could be discreetly approached by young Ogra guys wanting to discuss their sexuality with a sympathetic person. To its credit, Ogra FF has been very up front of late in its public support of gay rights.
Funnily enough, there’s an added bonus to being gay in Ogra. When I was in the Young PDs we used to go to a lot of Lib Dem Youth and Students events in the UK, and you could not move for gay guys there. Or straight women, for that matter. Actually, at one conference, a scandal erupted when a gay candidate for chair of the youth party turned out to be a closet heterosexual only pretending to be gay to win the gay vote! Don’t be surprised if Ogra attendance at their new sister party’s events starts to shoot up. By the way, the Young PD record on gays was pretty mixed. Dublin was pretty liberal, and had openly gay members, but Cork had a reputation for being a little bit too fond of the stiff right arm, and not being too fond of “the gays”. Ironically, some of the Cork members came to regard Jorg Haider as a figure worth admiring. Oooh the irony!