Face of Irish Marriage Equality will take a Byron Bay break
THE Irish Drag queen and activist who has been heralded as playing a pivotal role in the marriage equality win in her home country, Pandora Panti Bliss, also known as Panti Bliss, may be coming to Byron Bay for a break during her Australian tour.
Rory O'Neill, Panti's birth name, grew up in Ballinrobe, County Mayo, Ireland.
Panti is considered to be Ireland's foremost drag queens, and regularly hosts the annual Dublin Pride celebrations, which take place in June every year.
On January 19, Panti Bliss commented on her Facebook page about her idea of a short holiday in Byron Bay.
"HEY All, but ESPECIALLY AUSSIES (sic)," the post started.
"I have nine days off mid-February,in the middle of my Australian tour. I'll be in Brisbane so will probably head to Byron Bay area.
"So, I'm looking for suggestions of places to stay and things to do in the Byron area. Any of you got a gorgeous villa on the beach you want to lend me??"
Panti Bliss will be performing her solo show at the Brisbane Powerhouse as part of MELT Festival on Sunday, February 5.
The performer will then travel to Sydney to be part of the the Mardi Grass Comedy Gala on February 28.
On 11 January 2014, O'Neill appeared on (Irish TV station) RTÉ's The Saturday Night Show with Brendan O'Connor, where they discussed homophobia.
O'Neill alleged that some individuals involved in Irish journalism were homophobic. This became known as Pantigate.
Those mentioned threatened RTÉ and O'Neill with legal action,a nd the station removed that section of the interview from their online archive.
On January 25, 2014, O'Connor issued a public apology on behalf of RTÉ to those mentioned by O'Neill in the interview held two weeks previously. RTÉ also paid reparation sums to those named by O'Neill to a total of €85,000 .
On February 1, 2014, O'Neill (as Panti) gave a Noble Call speech at the Abbey Theatre in response to the events surrounding the RTÉ controversy, which garnered over 200,000 views online in two days.
Pantigate has been heralded by Irish and global activists as one of the pivotal moments in the campaign for marriage equality in Ireland.
On May 23, 2015, Ireland voted resoundingly to legalize gay marriage in the world's first national vote on the issue.