How to not kill your plants

A short guide for amateur plant enthusiasts

It’s always the same scenario: you wake up with an abnormal determination to reconnect with nature, or perhaps you’ve built up some motivation after hearing your friends getting excited by their new leafy friends — whatever it is, you decide that it’s finally time to bring home a few plants to take care of.

You read up countless mom blogs telling you how to care for your plants, scroll through “Top 20” lists telling you what fertilizer brands to get and avoid and the different types of soils you must get. After a trip to the store, where you get a couple of cute, small succulents, you set them up on your windowsill… Only to see them grow browner and sadder every week.

Having a collection of plants has become a really popular hobby recently. This isn’t so surprising, considering the many benefits of adding greenery to your home or work space, on top of the desire to bring the outdoors inside while we wait for this pandemic to allow us to leave our houses again.

But for those who have not been blessed with a green thumb, buying a new plant is more complicated than just going to the store, finding a nice looking one, and reading off the small care tag stuck in the soil. As a recovering serial plant killer myself, I thought I’d share some tips to help you one day build your own indoor forest.

Start small. Get one plant that you’ll be focusing your attention on for a little while until you’re certain you have the time and energy to dedicate to your plant friends. Remember, plants are alive, and although you can always go back to the store to buy more, you can save yourself the heartbreak, trouble, money, and negative environmental impact by testing out your ability to care for them before going all out.

Dracaenas and snake plants are pretty safe bets if you don’t have much time to care for or water your plants. They’re both also quite versatile when it comes to the amount of light they can tolerate.

Be realistic. Just like we have to accept that we need to donate that shirt that hasn’t been worn in months but could be useful “at some point,” we can’t pick our plants based on the level of devotion we think we could give it. In other words, don’t pick your leafy friend if it means you’ll have to adapt to its lifestyle and care needs, or at least not while you’re just beginning. Take it from me, someone who has killed more than one cactus thinking less water meant less maintenance, and then went on to forget to water them altogether.

If you’re the opposite and you tend to give your plants a little too much love, try going for a Chinese evergreen or a Boston fern — they won’t turn yellow when overwatered.

Assess your space. Be wary of where you place your pots. Don’t place a low-water plant in the bathroom, where it will be at the mercy of an overly humid and steamy environment. And if you’re not sure where to put that plant that needs “medium light,” you can do a shade test: wait until noon, when the sun is brightest, and stand around in your house. The more well-defined your shadow, the brighter the light in that area.

With time, you’ll find yourself looking into more advanced (and daunting) aspects of plant-owning, like soil drainage and water acidity. You’ll get there eventually, but just focus on keeping them alive for now.


Feature graphic by @the.beta.lab

Getting vitamin D is not as hard as you think

Here are some small things to add a bit of sun in your day-to-day life

The grass is starting to grow beneath the shrinking piles of snow, the flowers are awakening from their long winters’ nap, the air has a slight hint of manure. Yes, spring is here!

When spring comes around, the craving for fresh air and sun is always running high. This is completely natural, as stated in an article by NBC; humans tend to “hibernate” for the winter by staying in. This leads to us awakening from our slumbering and groggy selves as spring rolls in.

Giving in to spring’s good looks can be hard as it tends to go hand in hand with the busiest time of the semester. But the fresh air isn’t as out of reach as it may seem, as you don’t need to dedicate an entire day to soak up the benefits of the sun.

Experts say as little as 10 to 15 minutes outside can lift your mood, improve your immune system and help you sleep. (Which you definitely still need to do, even during finals). A lot of these benefits are related to how the sun boosts your serotonin levels, otherwise known as the “happiness hormone.”

One of the best ways to feel those rays is to sunbathe! Have you ever seen your dog or cat wander the house and sit in a tiny ounce of sunlight that is beaming into the room? Well, they have the right idea. Sunbathing is one of the simplest ways to enjoy UV rays and is often overlooked. It takes next to no effort and can be done from nearly anywhere: your balcony, backyard, a park, or even just next to a window.

While you’re out there taking it all in, you don’t have to sit around and do nothing. You can always take that growing pile of books outside with you and set up an outdoor office. Sunlight improves your mood and your creativity levels, according to an article in Time Magazine. This would put you in a better state of mind to study.

If outdoor lounging or studying doesn’t quite interest you, then find a different time of day to squeeze some sunlight in, like lunch time. You can always have a little picnic at a local park or even in your backyard. It doesn’t have to be a whole setup with a blanket (although every once in a while it is really fun). You can just walk to your favourite nearby spot and take some time to enjoy your food.

With the end of the semester comes high stress, and 15 minutes in the sun may not be enough to soothe your anxieties. You can always go for a walk. Students get told this millions of times a day, but that just shows how helpful and easy it could be. Going for a walk is a triple whammy: it will allow you to enjoy the sun you have been craving, move your body and take a break from your workspace.

An article in the New Yorker mentions how going for a walk can boost your mood: “Because we don’t have to devote much conscious effort to the act of walking, our attention is free to wander.” By allowing your mind to wander, a lot of those worries will be put on the back burner for a bit and reduce stress levels.

Spring for some means stress and finals, but it is also a time of new beginnings and growth. Allow these ideas to inspire you to make some small changes in your day to enjoy spring’s warmth and brightness. All you need is 15 minutes.


Graphic by @the.beta.lab

Plants: filling the void and helping you succeed

Plant babies are offering hidden benefits in their new homes, especially during quarantine

Are you a plant parent? No? What are you waiting for? Many see those green leafy items just as some-thing to forget to water. Those ideas are changing.

In recent months, there has been a rise in plant culture. Videos of plant tips and tricks, and some of plant parents just showing off their collections, have been taking the internet by storm. You can scroll through the vines of Instagram as well as “PlantTok,” the plant side of TikTok, watching plant-filled content for hours.

Odarlyn, the creator of plantiiplants on Instagram and YouTube, started her page in October 2020 and has since grown a community of over 22,000 plant lovers. With her community rapidly growing, she shared her thoughts over Instagram on why plants were suddenly becoming such an interest: “Quarantine! People are in need of feeling responsible for something. In this case, keeping plants alive.”

All throughout quarantine, many nurseries reported soaring plant sales, as people used plants as an outlet for all things they were missing from the pre-COVID world.

“Somewhere amid COVID-19 lockdowns, pandemic plant parents are filling the voids in their social life — and apartments — with an influx of flora,” stated an article by NBC.

Plants can actually do more for you than fill the void left from pre-COVID times. Overall, houseplants have countless benefits, especially in your workspace.

When spending all week preparing for an exam, the last thing you want to worry about is the space in which you work. However, your space can have an impact on your studies. Small changes like adding some greenery to your desk can actually improve your concentration. Multiple studies have been conducted over the years demonstrating how having indoor plants can lead to better focus and more productivity overall.

Even for the most focused students, school can be extremely stressful. Getting a plant to put on your desk won’t eliminate all that pressure; however, a study done by the University of Hyogo in Japan proved that having plants in your work environment can lead to less stress in your life. The researchers agreed that stress is a pressing issue in today’s workspaces and felt that adding some greenery is a solution that is often overlooked.

Nature and greenery have been known to reduce stress compared to urban landscapes. By adding a small house plant on your desk and looking at it when you feel stressed, you are providing your brain with a little bit of natural scenery to decompress.

When you have a new plant and it’s thriving, you feel as though you’re thriving too. New leaves can be almost as exciting as passing that course you have been working so hard for. This is because the answer is also in the interaction: the Hyogo study showed that people who took care of their plant grew a positive attachment, which leads to greater stress relieving benefits.

Don’t worry — there is no need to buy millions of houseplants and turn your office into your own personal forest (although you could if you want). The study shared that even just one small plant reduced the stress of their participants.

Now after all that information, there is only one final step in becoming a plant parent, and that is to buy a plant. This can seem like a daunting task as there are many varieties of houseplants you can choose from. It’s important to take a look at the kind of environment the plants will be living in and use this to guide your decision.

Plants aren’t always easy to take care of, especially if you don’t have the greenest of thumbs (I know I’ve killed quite a few in my time). What’s important is that if you keep trying; eventually, you will find the right plant.

And don’t forget to water it.


Photo by Christine Beaudoin

Student Life

Green lifestyle swaps

I have changed my lifestyle because I feel like no other significant action to fight the climate crisis has been taken, and I don’t want to be held responsible when it becomes impossible for me to take my kids swimming without their skin burning off.

The angst surrounding the climate crisis makes my blood boil. There are some things you can do to reduce your waste and fight the climate crisis on an individual level: change your diet, stop buying single-use plastic, stop using chemical cleaning products.

The simple solution is to buy less. No matter how many people go vegetarian or vegan, not everyone will be convinced to do so, nor should that be the only solution to becoming more sustainable. The same goes for fully zero-waste lifestyles. Avoiding waste is nearly impossible if you are like the average person who has a billion things to do. It is unattainable.

Every morning, I leave my apartment trying to remember if I grabbed my mug—a pasta sauce jar with the sticker still on it that I lugg everywhere I go—an old margarine tupperware for food, and some cutlery I probably stole from my high school cafeteria.

Even when actively trying to avoid single-use plastic, some useless piece of packaging or junk will find its way into my hands––it doesn’t matter if it’s a plastic wrapping on the candy bar I deny I buy myself every day, or a stress ball I’ll never use from a guest lecturer; wasteful objects are everywhere. The key is recognizing them, knowing how to say no, and finding innovative ways to avoid harming the environment that work for your lifestyle.

In order to help the planet, buying new goodies that are pushed onto you through targeted advertising is not the answer. We need to be finding new and innovative ways to lower our waste, and integrating those habits into our lifestyle, one by one.

There are zero-waste/sustainability influencers like YouTubers  Sedona Christina and Sarah Hawkinson that you can look to for inspiration to be able to identify what changes you can realistically make to your lifestyle. Cooking and meal prepping are an amazing example: by making your own food, you can avoid the single-use plastic wrap of the sandwich you might normally buy.

Making your own products like face wash and cleaners can help reduce the amount of plastic in your household. I was a sucker for buying every new body product. By making my own skincare products, I was able to cut my budget from $100 every two months to the $15 it initially cost me to buy the ingredients. Green tea, aloe vera, hemp seed oil and castile soap are the only ingredients I used—and my skin has never looked better!

Think “what can I do with this?” rather than “how quickly can I get rid of this?” At the end of the day, there’s only so much that individual change can do. We must hold our government, clothing stores, and even favourite junk food suppliers accountable for their actions. And it’s with collective action that real change will prevail.

Graphic by @sundaeghost


This is fine, I’m fine

You know the meme of a dog in a room on fire, where the speech bubble says: “This is fine”? Yeah, that’s me, I’m the dog. Also a plausible comparison is me as Ross in Friends after having too many margaritas: “I’M FINE!”

Why am I “fine,” you ask? Hi, my name is Kayla-Marie Turriciano, and I take on too many projects at once (as seen in my Twitter bio), and am definitely not in over my head.

In my first year at Concordia, I wrote about how it’s important to maintain a balance between work, school, and a social life, and how you can’t do better than your best. In my second year, I called myself out for being a hypocrite because I had completely gone against my own advice and had a terrible work-school-life balance. I was literally in a perpetual state of stress and anxiety and admitted that it was easier said than done.

Now in my third year, I have something else to add to this stream of articles about balance in life. This past year has honestly been one of the most emotionally draining. From last summer to present, I’ve barely had time off: I went from the fall semester, to winter, to a summer semester intensive, then an internship and a job, to now back in school full time while holding down three jobs. On top of that, I regularly contribute to sections within the paper other than my own.

A lot of people in my life – family, friends, peers, coworkers, basically everyone – worry that I’m going to soon suffer a burnout. They say I’m overworked, over-stressed, and am generally doing too much. Our lovely opinions editor, Youmna, regularly keeps me in check to make sure I don’t have a breakdown by spreading myself too thin. I constantly reassure her I’m doing fine – and here I am writing this article when I have two others this week on top of all my other work and assignments.

See, the thing is I actually am fine. I’ve definitely not been fine in the past, suffering mini breakdowns from being overworked and overtired, resulting in me crying at the kitchen table after someone slightly raises their voice at me.

But truly, this time, I am fine. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve mastered all this multitasking, if I’ve become numb to everything or if I’ve just peaked and reached nirvana. Maybe all the theoretical political science courses discussing Lucretius and Seneca have taken a toll on me.

Whatever it is, I just know that, while I am taking on too many projects at once, I’m actually not stressed, nor do I feel like I’m going to be crushed under the weight of everything.

I truly, finally, actually am fine and I’m not in a theoretical room that’s on fire – I’m just living my life, totally fine.

Graphic: Salomé Blain.

Student Life

November Events Calendar

School events:

Nov. 4-9: International business week, JMSB

Nov. 6: Discover Multi-Faith Fair 2019 

Nov. 8 and 28: Therapy Dogs in the Zen Dens

Nov. 9: Music Therapy Workshop



Nov. 8-10: Zero-Waste festival

Nov. 27: Concordia Farmers’ Pop-Up Markets



Nov. 9: Science Fiction and Fantasy Used Book Sale!

Nov. 9: DANCE PARTY 2000 Icons Edition

Nov. 9-10: Opening The Arts of One World

Nov. 16-17: Expozine 2019

Nov. 23: Santa Claus Parade


Graphic by @sundaeghost


Writing is not a job, it’s a way of life

On a cold, autumnal weekend, I curled up on my couch, hot chocolate in hand, ready to watch Eat, Pray, Love. Based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestseller, it’s the story of Gilbert herself – played by Julia Roberts – in a borderline existential crisis, unhappy in her marriage, unsatisfied with her personal life, struggling to find herself. Ultimately, she buys three tickets to Italy, India, and Bali to get a new perspective.

Personally, I have always been a fan of the “Eat” part of this movie. Watching Roberts down all the carbs Italy had to offer is all the spiritual journey I need in my life.

However, in that first part of her quest for self-discovery, there is a scene that has always bothered me. A simple detail that may have gone unnoticed by most.

Roberts’ character is having lunch with some friends when they start brainstorming words to describe the various cities they’ve been to.

“Stockholm?”  “Conform.”

“New York?” “Ambition, or sut.”

“Rome?” “SEX!”

Then one of her friends asks her what she believed to be her word. After a few musings, she confidently states, “my word is writer.”

“Yeah, but that’s what you do,” her friend tells her. “It isn’t what you are.”

Liz quietly chews her food and ponders that thought, while I got ready to hurl my mug at the TV screen. If I were Elizabeth Gilbert, as soon as he had uttered those words, I would have put down my fork, stared straight into his eyes, and said:

“Have you ever woken up from a restless night because thoughts were being translated into words, and you just had to get them out? A feeling so strong that the need to find a pen and paper seemed paramount? The words escaping you; your hand moving so fast that your writing would be unintelligible to anyone but yourself? Have you ever felt a lump form in your throat, and nothing could appease it t, but to bleed on paper? Have you ever been in a place so captivating that you just had to describe it down to every single detail, because pictures could never express how it made you feel? Has a thought ever crossed you, and made you reach for your bag, cursing to yourself when you realize you’ve forgotten your notebook at home? Have you ever smiled at the simple sound of how a word made you feel? Until you’ve felt the pain of not being able to pour your words on paper, until you’ve laid your soul bare between the pages of your notebooks; until you’ve felt the magic in your fingertips as you type or write your words, you don’t get to tell me writing is just a job. You don’t get to tell me it doesn’t consume every fibre of my being. Because you don’t question an athlete’s love for a sport. You don’t put in question a musician’s passion, or a painter’s consuming art. So why do you question a writer’s?”


Graphic by Victoria Blair


Keeping up with the chaos of being a student

Why the daunting task of saving up is almost impossible when you’re in school

Does anyone else feel as though the world is rigged against students? I’m referring to the financial pressures to keep up with the trends and behaviours which have been glorified by society. For example, as a student, you have to pay for your tuition, books, public transit, etc. This is just a small list of the necessities. You also have to consider the coffee it takes to survive these long days, the phone plans we all have to pay to stay in touch, and our basic needs such as clothing and so on. Honestly, the daunting list never ends.

Even a student who receives help from their parents will see the bills add up, and fast. Is it just me or is all of this one giant trap set up by the society we live in? How are we supposed to pay for all those basic necessities, while keeping up with the latest travel or fashion trends, let alone save anything? There is so much pressure to be living our lives to the fullest, yet if we do so, we end up broke with an uncertain future.

Another aspect that needs to be mentioned is that we are expected to achieve high levels of education with acceptable grades, but we’re also supposed to work and be productive members of society. On the surface, this is a good thing, since working allows us to gain experience, meet people, become responsible, etc. But the harsh truth is that not all university students have the time to work. Different programs have different schedules that aren’t flexible and make it difficult for some students to work consistently throughout the semester. Yet, the expectations and expenses are the same for all of us. How does that make sense?

The solution could be to make sure students are educated on when and how to spend money, and how to budget. However, if our parents don’t teach us how to save, the difference between bank accounts, and how to set them up, we’re already five steps behind. The banking system is overwhelming and intimidating to say the least, and anyone who isn’t taught how to move within it may be too scared to ask the questions needed to achieve success. Essentially, students who aren’t good with saving money might find themselves torn between wanting to pursue a desirable, luxurious lifestyle that’s promoted in society, versus aiming for a financially stable but ‘boring,’ life.

Where do we go from here? Do we live in the moment, travel and gain memories that last a lifetime? Or do we focus on our future and save for our first car and down payment? The truth is, it’s up to you, and there’s nothing wrong with trying to achieve a little bit of both. It seems the best solution is patience. Hold off for one more summer before going on that trip; skip those unbeatable sales for a few months and accept that this is the choice we all have to make at some point.

The pictures we see on social media of our acquaintances’ amazing travels don’t show how hard they worked or the debt they acquired from that trip. The amazing fashion influencers we try to keep up with don’t advertise the best places to get similar, cheaper alternatives, nor do they acknowledge the fleeting moment of a trend and how quickly it will be replaced.

While a certain lifestyle might seem easily accessible, there is often a lot more hard work involved than advertised. Attention must be given to the negative impacts of these trends.

Graphic by Ana Bilokin



How to approach an anti-materialistic lifestyle

Taking small steps to become less dependent on our belongings goes a long way

In a world where something newer and better is almost always available for purchase, society tends to value material objects. We often seek out the latest, trendiest gadgets we can find. As consumers, we tend to forget about the importance of the natural world which exists beyond material possessions.

The value we place on our material objects is a prominent characteristic of the western world. Some people might not even realize their own materialistic habits. For the purposes of this article, I will define materialism as: “A preoccupation with or stress upon material rather than spiritual or intellectual things.”

The fact is we are currently more attached to our belongings than people ever have been. Many of us cannot imagine life without our favourite possessions, let alone without any possessions.

The best, if not the only way to combat this epidemic is to start with yourself. We can’t change the mindset of millions of people living materialistically. So instead, I’ve listed some tips to help you become less materialistic, and a little more in tune with the natural world around you.

The first step to becoming a little less materialistic is being aware of your problem. It’s unrealistic to claim that you’re not a materialistic person, especially living in today’s western society.

Unless you are practicing an anti-materialistic lifestyle, living in the woods in a house you built yourself, there is no way you don’t place too much value on your material goods. For the most part, we all do. Begin your path to a less materialistic lifestyle by acknowledging your attachment to your belongings, and admit you want to work on that.

Since many of us value our technology, such as cellphones, laptops and tablets, more than most of our other belongings, limiting the time you spend on your devices can make a difference. Start by monitoring just how much time you spend on your electronic devices, and try to periodically knock off 10 per cent of that number until you reach a point where you are happy with your typical device usage.

Another basic tip is to just spend more time outside. The power of nature is stronger than you might think. Plan an afternoon, a day or even a weekend of walking, hiking, biking or any other activity that lets you enjoy the outdoors and get back to nature. Taking notice of the natural world can do wonders for your mental health, and can be a sharp reminder that belongings are not everything.

Most importantly, get to know yourself. Sometimes, life becomes chaotic and we get lost in the sea of our to-do list. We have so much on our plates, and we tend to reward ourselves with material things. But by submitting yourself to your belongings, you might forget who you are and what you truly enjoy. Look for those pockets of time, and spend that time on you.

Finally, I’m not saying you have to get rid of everything and live an entirely new life. I’m not asking you to throw away all possessions and meditate for eight hours a day. Instead, if you feel you are too glued to your belongings, take small steps to become less attached.

The best way to change your lifestyle is to start small and work your way up. The goal of implementing a less materialistic mindset in your everyday lifestyle is to make changes in moderation. Instead of feeling addicted to buying new things, you should hope to feel like there is more to life than just your belongings. Trying out one or two of these tips is a great way to get started.

Graphic by Alexa Hawksworth

Student Life

How to become actively involved in the zero-waste movement

Quebec actress Mélissa de La Fontaine talked about her experience joining the movement

Quebec actress and environmental health advocate Mélissa de La Fontaine talked food waste and consumption during her Conférence Zéro Déchet on March 21 at Université de Montréal.

During the conference, which was held in French, de La Fontaine touched on her experiences living a zero-waste lifestyle and offered tips for people interested in joining the movement.
She talked about her experience moving from Shawinigan to Montreal, and how she started raising her awareness on environmental issues and the rising problem of food and material waste in Canada. She said through her activism, she wants to encourage all Montrealers to make better environmental decisions.
“You should all know that the garbage that we throw daily, it does not disappear. It ends up at landfill sites,” de La Fontaine said. According to de La Fontaine’s research, there are two ways these sites pollute our environment—many non-compostable materials, such as plastic produces methane and well-water. “Methane ends up in the air that we breathe, while well-water is a form of juice that garbage creates, which can end up in our oceans and deeply harm fish,” she said.

De La Fontaine propelled herself in the movement after reading environmental activist Bea Johnson’s book Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying your Life by Reducing your Waste. The book helped de La Fontaine become more educated on waste and environmental issues in Canada. The environmental advocate said she believes if everyone made small, regular contributions towards waste reduction in their own homes, it would do a lot of good for the planet. According to a 2016 Huffington Post article “Let’s Work Towards A Zero-Waste Future By Creating A Culture Of Reuse,” people throw out “an average of 4.7 trash bags of clothing every year,” which is equal to 2.6 billion pounds of garbage that goes into landfills per year.

“We do not need to count every piece of garbage we throw out, but rather all contribute according to our personal limits. We all have limits, so it’s not about going to extremes,” de La Fontaine said. She said following a minimalist lifestyle is a good way to reduce waste. When you live a minimalist lifestyle, you are dedicated to buying less and focusing on only necessities.

She outlined a four-step technique to limiting waste in urban households. The steps are refusing, reducing, reusing and recycling.

Refusing is about saying “no” to extra, unnecessary items. This includes trinkets organizations tend to give away at conferences. It also includes promotional cards and flyers distributed on the street, or “freebies,” as de La Fontaine called them. “You are telling the organizations to make more of these items, which causes an issue when they use petrol and energy to create them,” she said.

Reducing is about minimizing the purchase or use of household products, among others. Reducing not only saves money but also lowers the demand for certain products that harm the environment, but that also create pollution when they are manufactured.

Reusing is about utilizing items such as bags and containers. De La Fontaine suggested to buy reusable plastic containers and grocery bags that can last for many years and do not cause damage to our planet.

While de La Fontaine said recycling seems fairly self-explanatory, it’s important to do it correctly. Composting is one of the most important waste-reducing processes, she said. About 50 to 60 per cent of garbage being thrown out in Quebec is compostable, according to Statistics Canada.

“I would recommend composting things like fruit peels, which is very easy to do,” de La Fontaine said.

De La Fontaine said she hopes in the next five years, Canadians will start taking serious action towards environmental health, reducing waste and saving the environment from further pollution.

For those interested in finding out more about the zero-waste movement in North America, de La Fontaine highly recommends reading Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying your Life by Reducing your Waste.

Student Life

How one drag queen is ending homophobia in Ireland

Miss Panti Bliss would describe herself as being “a national fucking treasure.”

After attending the Q & A with Ireland’s most loved Drag Queen and accidental gay rights activist at Concordia on March 25, one could not help but agree.

The talk was organized collaboratively by Concordia’s Canadian Irish Studies and Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, and ended with attendees—about 100 people—giving Miss Panti Bliss a standing ovation.

Emer O’Toole, an assistant professor of Irish performance studies, started the Q&A by reminding the audience that Miss Panti Bliss has been involved with gay right activism for a very long time.

Back in 1987, Miss Panti Bliss began hosting the Alternative Miss Ireland Pageant, which aimed to raise awareness for the

Photo by

rape crisis, and later to raise money for HIV and AIDS. The pageant was open to everyone, including animals, and later became a part of the Dublin Saint Patrick’s day parade. Many drag queens took part in the pageant, and it became an alternate pride celebration.

“I always described the work that I do, jokingly, as glamour routed in despair… I am trying to say something important by using something that seems silly, like me,” Miss Panti Bliss said.

On Jan. 11, Rory O’Neill, which is Miss Panti Bliss’s given name, appeared on RTÉ’s The Saturday Night Show with Brendan O’Connor to discuss homophobia. While on the show, O’Neill said that some people involved in Irish journalism were homophobic.

After showing the room the video, a round of applause ensued.

“I haven’t seen that in months and it seems so innocuous,” she said. “I think that I was really reserved about what I said. I could’ve been a lot harder on those dicks!”

Miss Panti Bliss explained that, at first, this seemed like a situation that would make Ireland look bad.

“It looked like it was saying ‘Ireland is such a backward little shithole of a country that somebody can’t even point out that a homophobe is a homophobe anymore in that country or they’ll be sued and dragged through the courts,’” Miss Panti Bliss said.

“However, what happened in the end was that the good, decent, ordinary Irish people were as horrified as everybody that those people would sue someone for saying that, especially when they clearly are a bunch of homophobes.”

These people, according to Miss Panti Bliss, are the reason that the movement, known as both “Team Panti” and “Pantigate,” became such a phenomenon.

In the first few weeks after the show on RTÉ, a lot of people attacked Miss Panti Bliss. These were the people who had felt insulted by what she had said. After those weeks passed, though, the Irish people took her side.

“I spent maybe three weeks being attacked…but then I spent maybe the last three months being, you know, a national fucking treasure!”

On Feb. 1, Panti Miss Panti Bliss responded to the events that surrounded the RTÉ controversy by speaking at the Abbey Theatre. The video of her speech went viral, with people from all over the world responding.

“It was outstanding to me that Irish people cared. But it absolutely blew me away that people in bloody Montreal, Canada give a shit about this.”

According to Miss Panti Bliss, less than half of her fans were LGBT people. Many were people who apologized for how they had treated LGBT people, others had gay siblings, many were in wheelchairs or had Aspergers syndrome, and felt that they were treated in a similar way as the gay population.

It was astounding to her the amount of people who cared about the speech she did on such a specific issue.

In the speech at the Abbey Theatre, Miss Panti Bliss spoke of some issues gay people deal with on a daily basis, a few of which she considers her dirty little secrets. One of these was feeling embarrassed when friends publicly “acted gay.”

“Here am I, a 45-year-old drag queen, who’s made a living doing this for the last thirty years, I own a fucking gay bar, and I’m still embarrassed sometimes by how gay my friend is in public. I thought that that was my dark little secret and it turns out that every single gay in the world sometimes feels that. That blew me away,” Miss Panti Bliss said.

O’Toole then showed O’Connor’s apology, done on behalf of RTÉ, which aired two weeks after the show had aired. The original interview had been taken off of RTÉ’s online archive. Although Miss Panti Bliss hated the apology, ‘Pantigate’ would never have become what it is without it. RTÉ paid the people who had threatened to sue. Since RTÉ is publicly funded, it paid them with taxpayer’s money, which angered people, and gained Miss Panti Bliss more supporters. Miss Panti Bliss believes that, had RTÉ not payed off the people named in the interview, she would have been dragged through the courts. Because taxpayer money was involved, Miss Panti Bliss’s supporters increased, and suing her at that point would have angered the population even further.

Miss Panti Bliss later spoke of gay marriage in Ireland, and of her definition of homophobia and explained that, in a way, homophobes have an irrational fear of gay people.

“I don’t think that those newspaper columnists walk by the hairdresser’s and shudder, but what they do have a fear of is what the world will look like, and what their place in the world will be, if gay and lesbian people are given full equality… It is a fear of change. That is an irrational fear, and when you boil down it’s the same as being afraid of gay people,” Miss Panti Bliss said.

Miss Panti Bliss explained that the reason people attacked her after she called them homophobes was that they knew that, when the gay marriage referendum came around in 2015, calling someone a homophobe would make all their arguments null.

“They had to shut down any possibility that they could publicly be called homophobes and I just happened to be the one who, at that particular time, called them a bunch of homophobes,” Miss Panti Bliss said.

Miss Panti Bliss then spoke of her work with the New York City Saint Patrick’s day parade. Gay people are not allowed to participate in the parade, and every year, many public spats take place about this.

“I think that homophobes are particularly annoyed when a bloke in a dress calls them out on something. It always reminds me of the power of drag. There is something incredibly powerful about not gender conforming. It freaks out homophobes.”

“They don’t go after the gay guy in a suit and glasses, they don’t go after the lesbian in the three inch court heels and nice skirt, they go after the lesbian with the butch haircut and the leather jacket and they go after the gay guy in a dress.”

About 15 years ago, an alternative parade called the St. Pat’s for All Parade was created in Queens, NY. The parade got a lot of attention this year, as the mayor of the city and the entire city council refused to walk in the mainstream parade. Twenty members of city council walked in the alternative parade alongside Miss Panti Bliss.

At the end of the Q&A, the floor was opened to the audience who shared their personal stories with Miss Panti Bliss, and asked more questions about ‘Pantigate’.

The event ended with a standing ovation, with people lining up afterwards to go meet and personally thank Miss Panti Bliss.

All eyes will be on Miss Panti Bliss, and on Ireland, as the country heads into its gay marriage referendum next year. Miss Panti Bliss hopes that ‘Pantigate’ will impact the referendum’s results.

“While I don’t want to overemphasize what’s happened recently or just sort of have an overly optimistic view of how things might change it is possible that this stupid ‘Pantigate’ incident could actually change everything for gay people. I’m not saying it is going to happen, but it’s possibl.,”

“Ireland is [so small] that a single incident could have a massive effect… I could hope that that is the case, not just for gay and lesbian people, but particularly for trans people. At the moment it seems like an important moment for them. And I would hope that maybe this could be a time for them that could dramatically change everything in Ireland.”

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