Key dates in the history of the National LGBT Federation (NXF)

February 2020- NXF and GCN host GALAS 2020

The 9th annual GALAS, celebrating the outstanding contributions of people nationally and internationally to the LGBT+community took place Sat, Feb 8th at the Mansion House with GAA referee David Gough, political representative Katherine Zappone, sociologist and LGBT+ rights activist Evgeny Shtorn and the INTO (Irish National Teachers Organisation) among this year’s recipients.

The awards were co-hosted by Anne Doyle, former RTÉ broadcaster and journalist along with James Kavanagh, writer, presenter and social media influencer. Sixteen awards (two of which were decided by public vote) were announced and presented to organisations and individuals for their contributions in areas such as arts, media, culture, health, social inclusion, sport, politics, advocacy and public life.

Evgeny Shtorn was announced as recipient of the GALAS Person of the Year award. The Kazakhstan born sociologist and LGBT+ activist was forced to leave Russia in 2018 and seek asylum in Ireland. He has been a vocal opponent of the Direct Provision system and in particular the treatment of LGBT+ people while in Direct Provision.

February 2020- NXF launches GE2020 Manifesto

The National LGBT Federation (NXF) called on all political parties to urgently implement legislation aimed at establishing full and equal rights for all LGBT+ people in Irish society.

The NXF Election 2020 Manifesto: Securing Equality was released on Wednesday, Feb 5th and sets out ten key priority areas; among them the urgent need for Hate Crime legislation that is LGBT+ inclusive and also that LGBT+ themes are a compulsory element of the new RSE (Relationships & Sexuality Education) curriculum and applicable to all schools, regardless of ‘ethos’.

June 2019- NXF host 2019 Dublin Pride Debate at CHQ Building
Representatives from civil society groups and political parties joined to take part in the 2019 Dublin Pride Debate on “the state of the LGBT+ nation in 2019” at the CHQ Building. Participants in this year’s debate, chaired by Adam Long (NXF) discussed the progress of LGBT+ rights and also the challenges that remained as set against religious fundamentalism, the emergence of autocratic regimes, and the utilisation of social media platforms as a means to amplify hate speech.

The debate also examined the on-going drive for Education Equality and the rights of LGBT+ students to an affirming school environment. The soon to be published National LGBTI Strategy was also discussed along with a host of other LGBT+ related topics. Speakers on the night were Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty TD, Fine Gael, Mary Lou McDonald TD, Leader of Sinn Féin, Barry Andrews, MEP, Fianna Fáil, Roderic O’Gorman, Cllr, Green Party, Aoife Martin, Transgender campaigner, Evgeny Shtorn, LGBT asylum seeker and activist.

November 2018- Far from Home: Life as an LGBT Migrant in Ireland launched by the NXF
Research by the National LGBT Federation (NXF) has found that over 50% of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) migrants living in Ireland rated their mental health negatively and that up to a fifth reported having severe or extremely severe symptoms of anxiety and depression.54% of respondents also felt they were excluded from Irish society and up to 40% said they had experienced homophobic abuse.Participants also called for an end to the current system of Direct Provision in Ireland, with some describing it as “immoral”.The findings were published in a new report “Far from Home: Life as an LGBT Migrant in Ireland” launched by the NXF on Thursday, November 8th at the Science Gallery, Dublin.

October 2017- NXF host 8th annual GALA awards
The National LGBT Federation & GCN held the 8th annual GALAS, Ireland’s LGBT Awards, in Dublin’s Mansion House on Saturday, October 21st, 2017.The GALAS were set up by GCN and the National LGBT Federation (NXF) to honour LGBT+ people and organisations for their contributions to Irish society.The awards are also to honour politicians, employers and others who are committed to advancing equality and social acceptance for LGBT+ people in Ireland.

February 2016- 7th annual GALAS take place
The 7th year of the annual GALA awards took place recognising the contributions of people from a number of sectors nationally and internationally for advancing equality and social acceptance for LGBT+ people in Ireland. The 2016 recipients included Community Organisation: BeLongTo; Voluntary Organisation (Unpaid staff): Running Amach; Volunteer: Sheila Crowley; Employer: EY; LGBT Student Society: Laura Harmon/USI; Sports Award: Dublin Front Runners; Social Media: Get The Boat To Vote; LGBT Ally: Mary McAleese; Campaign: Yes Equality | Campaign for Gender Recognition

June 2015- Launch of Burning Issues II
In 2015 after decades of activism, marriage equality and gender recognition was achieved.Following these momentous gains, the focus turned to “what’s next for LGBT Ireland and what’s important to YOU“? On Wednesday June 29th in Wood Quay, Minister of State David Stanton,TD officially launched the findings from the largest consultation of the LGBT community. Burning Issues II is the result of the findings from this survey which has highlighted significant issues that require urgent and radical reform in order to provide legislative equality for LGBT people.

April 2015- NXF launches YESX10 Campaign
On April 22nd, one month from referendum day (May 22nd), the National LGBT Federation (NXF) has launched the ‘YesX10 for Marriage Equality’ Campaign. This campaign asks every individual to take personal responsibility for getting at least TEN people to the poll to vote YES in the upcoming marriage equality referendum.

March 2014- NXF hosts largest ever GALA awards
The National LGBT Federation (NXF) and Gay Community News (GCN) staged it’s biggest and most successful Gay and Lesbian Awards (GALAs) to date on Saturday night in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin. Award winners on the night included Fintan O’Toole of The Irish Times, who picked up the award for Journalist of the Year, while the Political Figure of the Year award was given to Senator Averil Power, who has been a strong and consistent champion of LGBT rights.

February 2014- NLGF renamed to National LGBT Federation
The National Lesbian and Gay Federation was renamed as the National LGBT Federation (NXF).

National LGBT Federation (formerly NLGF) Celebrates 35 Years of Supporting LGBT Rights and Equality. The National LGBT Federation, formerly the NLGF, is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. Founded in 1979, and one of Ireland’s oldest NGOs, the group has played a proud role in all the major efforts to improve the rights of LGBT people in Ireland.

October 2013 – Marking National Coming Out Day
The NLGF and Outhouse ran an information session on the afternoon of Friday 11th October, in conjunction with some of the key groups and services, for those who wanted to find out more or support someone they know in the process of Coming Out. The evening event was called ‘Making Out’ – an evening of short plays on the theme of coming out by Acting Out, with support from the NLGF.

June 2013 – To mark the occasion of Dublin Pride, the NLGF hosted two screenings in the IFI

‘Where I Am’, the heart-breaking tale about Robert Drake and his return to Sligo and ‘Beyond Gay – The Politics of Pride’, a multi award-winning documentary which examines the relevance of Gay Pride celebrations internationally, against the backdrop of opposition to such events in a number of countries.

April 2013 – Submission to the Constitutional Convention
The NLGF made a submission to the Constitutional Convention regarding the extension of equal marriage rights to same-sex couples. The following month, Convention delegates met to discuss the issue, and voted by an overwhelming 79% to recommend to government that marriage equality for same-sex couples not only be provided for but enshrined as a constitutional right. A referendum to enable this to happen is expected to take place in 2014. Although the NLGF strongly maintains that this basic civil right should be legislated for as a matter of urgency and not subject to a referendum, the organisation will be joining with the many other LGBT and civil society groups in campaigning vigorously for a ‘Yes’ vote.

March 2013 – NLGF elects a new Chair
Ailbhe Smyth resigns as the Chair of the NLGF after 14 years of dedicated service to the organisation, during which time she worked assiduously for the rights of, and to combat discrimination against, LGBT people. Ailbhe also placed GCN on a financially sustainable footing, and ensured that the NLGF maintained a strong, sharp focus on the goal of marriage equality for same-sex couples.Olivia McEvoy becomes the Chair of the NLGF.

February 2013 – 4th Annual GALAs
Michael Barron accepts the NLGF’s ‘Person of the Year’ award.

February 2013 – Outing Exclusion Conference
In conjunction with Dublin City Council’s Social Inclusion Unit and The Community Foundation for Ireland, the NLGF organised ‘Outing Exclusion’: the first conference in Ireland to examine the issues of poverty and social exclusion in the LGBT community. The event highlighted how issues relating to poverty, economic inequality and multiple disadvantage impact upon LGBT people. The conference also acted as a platform for LGBT organisations and anti-poverty organisations to discuss solutions to address poverty and inequality amongst LGBT people.

The conference was opened by the Polish MP, Anna Grodzka, who discussed the need to tackle social exclusion by reasserting the importance of human need in politics and regulating the worst excesses of corporate and financial greed which stunts democracy and human rights.

GCN’s 25th birthday anniversary issue is published.

Watch the video: 


The 25th anniversary issue of GCN featured the historical highlights of the past 25 years in LGBT Ireland, plus 25 pivotal LGBT moments from 25 years, as picked by the readers of GCN.

October 2012 -1st National Coming Out Day event

NLGF organised a screening of the documentary film ‘TransAction’ about the personal journey of Polish Transgender MP Anna Grodzka to celebrate National Coming Out Day..

2011 – 3rd Annual NLGF GALAS
Writer Emma Donoghue wins the NLGF ‘Person of the Year Award’ and MarriagEquality wins the Community Organisation of the Year Award. The event opens with a powerful and moving tribute to the NLGF from former Irish President McAleese who wins the LGBT Political Figure of the Year Award.

2010 – NLGF becomes a member of the EU’s Fundamental Rights Platform
The NLGF becomes a member of the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Platform (FRP) which has been established by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA). The FRA collects data on fundamental rights, conducts research and analysis, provides independent advice to policy-makers, networks with human rights stakeholders, and develops communications to raise awareness of fundamental rights. The Fundamental Rights Platform (FRP) is a network for cooperation and information exchange, set to act as the main channel for FRA’s cooperation with civil society – across the EU – and to ensure a close cooperation between the FRA and relevant stakeholders.

2nd Annual NLGF GALAS
Lydia Foy, campaigner for transgender rights, is the NLGF’s ‘Person of the Year’ while An Garda Síochanna are awarded ‘Employer of the Year’.

2009 marks a new stage in the development of the NLGF
The 21st birthday issue of GCN was published in February 2009 and the fabulous GCN ICON party was held in TRIPOD to celebrate this historic event in Irish LGBT history. The NLGF symposium: ‘Marriage Matters for Lesbian & Gay People in Ireland’ was held in Dublin in May 2009, supported by the EU and the Equality Authority.

The NLGF GALAS, the 1st annual LGBT awards, were held in Dublin in September 2009

The Gay and Lesbian Awards (GALAS) were set up by the National Lesbian and Gay Federation to honour lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgendered people and organisations for their contributions to Irish society. The awards are also to honour politicians, employers and other people who are committed to advancing equality and social acceptance for LGBT Irish people in Ireland. Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan accept the prestigious NLGF ‘Persons of the Year’ Award.

‘Burning Issues: Listening to the Voices of the LGBT Community in Ireland’ was published in November 2009. Burning Issues was a seminal-scoping study that provided a comprehensive evidence base of the political, social and equality issues of central importance to Irish LGBT people.

GCN since 2008
Since the economic downturn beginning at the end of 2008, advertising revenue across the magazine publishing world took a large hit. In the face of GCN’s advertising revenue decrease, a new fundraising campaign was launched for the magazine. GCN Forever continues to raise funds through charitable donations and fundraising events, to secure GCN’s future in the short and long-term. To donate to GCN Forever, or to find out more, please click here. http://www.gcn.ie/forever.aspx

2008 – Handover of Irish Queer Archive (IQA) to the National Library of Ireland
In June 2008 the NLGF handed over responsibility for the Irish Queer Archive to the National Library of Ireland. The massive collection, which is now housed in the National Library building on Kildare St., contains 250,000 press cuttings, clippings from international gay magazines dating back as far as 1950 and a complete set of every lesbian/gay title published since 1974 on the island of Ireland. There is also a collection of Irish lesbian and gay films, an archive of letters from individuals all across the country dating from 1970, and a fascinating collection of audiovisual material, photographs and slides, flyers, posters, badges and other ephemera.

Development of Marriage Equality
The NLGF was instrumental in helping to establish the MarriagEquality organisation in 2007, a key national LGBT NGO that is advocating for civil marriage rights for LGBT people in Ireland.

2007 – 1st NLGF Symposium
‘Marriage and Partnership Rights for Lesbian and Gay People’ is held in Dublin in December 2007, providing the catalyst for the establishment of the ‘Platform for Equality’, a network of LGBT organisations campaigning for full civil marriage rights for lesbians and gay men in Ireland.

2006 – Publication of 200th issue of GCN

2003 – Re-launch of GCN from newsprint to magazine format
In July 2003, GCN changed from a newsprint freesheet into a high-quality, full-colour magazine. The decision to do this was based on the need for GCN to compete in the commercial market and attract advertising in order to survive. At that time, GCN was operating at a loss.In the years following the re-launch of GCN, the magazine made record advertising revenue, branching out from only LGBT advertising into the mainstream.

2001 – GCN moves to new offices on Scarlett Row, Dublin 8, while Outhouse moves to new premises on Capel St., Dublin 1.

2000 – The National Lesbian and Gay Federation (NLGF) is established as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee.

1999 – Establishment of Irish Queer Archives Working Group
In December 1999, the NLGF appointed a working group of academics, historians and writers to focus on exploiting the collections of the Irish Queer Archive and making suggestions for a future safe home. This IQA group consisted of Dr Eibhear Walshe, lecturer in English at UCC; Dr Mary McAuliffe and Dr Katherine O’Donnell, both staff of the Women’s Studies Department at UCD; Joan Murphy, an RTÉ archivist; librarian Elizabeth Kirwan of NLI; and Tonie Walsh, former president of the NLGF and founding editor of Gay Community News.

1997 – Publication of the 100th issue of GCN

1997 – NLGF/GCN move to Outhouse & IQA public office opens

The NLGF/GCN moved office from the old Hirschfeld Centre building, to the temporary new premises of the Outhouse LGBT Community Resource on Wicklow St, Dublin 2. The IQA archive and reference library was put on a more organised footing with the move into the new premises. At that point, civil rights activist and writer Tonie Walsh directed a systematic re-organisation of its holdings. A limited public office was set up in a short time, facilitating researchers, students and journalists in addition to servicing the research needs of GCN.

1991 – National Gay Federation (NGF) changes its name to the National Lesbian and Gay Federation (NLGF)

In September 1990 the Board of the NLGF approved a proposal to change the name of the organisation from the NGF to the NLGF. The proposal was ratified by the members of the organisation by an overwhelming vote of 84% in favour and 16% opposed. The change was made to be more inclusive of women in the organisation, as the term gay was no longer considered to adequately represent gay women who preferred the term lesbian, which was considered more feminist and political. On 1st January 1991 the organisation officially changed its name to the NLGF.

1988 – Gay Community News published

On February 10th 1988 an eight-page tabloid newspaper called Gay Community News (GCN) hit the streets for the very first time. It was published from the remains of the badly damaged Hirschfeld Centre.

“We wanted it to be irreverent and earnest at the same time and it had to look like a newspaper,” says founding editor Tonie Walsh who developed GCN with the general secretary of the NGF, Catherine Glendon. Glendon tragically died from a stroke on August 5th 1987, at the prime of her career. Her loss was a huge blow, delaying the launch of the paper by several months.


GCN, Issue One, was designed by Niall Sweeney, who went on to become one of Ireland’s leading graphic designers and one of the founders of the Alternative Miss Ireland (AMI). The first issue flagged a story about three gay women abseiling into the House of Lords to protest against Section 28 in the UK, a feature about cross dressing and an item on criminal law written by barrister Jim Treanor. The only professional journalist involved in Issue One was Walt Kilroy, who went on to become an RTÉ news reporter.


“GCN is the longest continuous queer periodical in Ireland,” says Walsh.

“It continues to be a unique and defining voice of gay people in this country and in time will become an invaluable historical document.”


1987 – Fire closes down Hirschfeld Centre
In 1987, the Hirschfeld Centre was badly damaged in a fire – presumed to be accidental – that closed the community centre in the building which had acted as the beating heart of Dublin’s lesbian and gay community for over eight years.
1984 to 1988 – Out magazine published by NGF
From 1984 to 1988 the NGF published Out magazine, Ireland’s first commercial lesbian and gay publication. Out was a news and review magazine that was aimed at the gay community and a general audience who were interested in LGBT issues and LGBT culture. Distributed by Eason’s, the magazine achieved more widespread penetration nation-wide than any previous gay publication. Nell McCafferty, Walt Kilroy, Tonie Walsh, Nuala O’Faoláin and Thom McGinty were among its regular contributors. Unfortunately it was undercaptialised throughout its three-year history and the final issue in October 2008 was delayed for some time because the magazine’s printers – the Carlow Nationalist and Leinster Times – refused to print the previous issue due to an “offensive” Gay Health Action ad on safer sex for gay men.

1981 to 1984 – Identity magazine published by NGF
A quarterly review published by the NGF, it was the first gay periodical, as opposed to a newsletter in Ireland, and it set an important benchmark in LGBT publishing. Although it was criticised in some quarters for being too academic and elitist, this journal set new standards in design and LGBT journalism. Eason’s refused to stock it, as the words “gay” or “lesbian” appeared on its cover. Eight issues were published with contributions by Derek Jarman, David O’Connor, Frank McGuinness and others. In a social and political climate that made advertising difficult to acquire, this journal was a huge drain on the finances of a voluntary, non-profit-making organisation and it ceased publication in March 1984.

1981 – 1st national gay conference in Ireland
Members of the NGF participate in the first national gay conference in Ireland, held in Cork and organised by the Cork Gay Collective.

1980 – Pre-cursor to the Irish Queer Archive (IQA) set up
In 1980 a sub-group within the NGF began to maintain documents and media cuttings of relevance to LGBT people, establishing an embryonic national lesbian and gay archive, which acted as a precursor of the Irish Queer Archive (IQA) that developed later.

1979 – National Gay Federation (NGF) established
In 1979 the NGF was established and it leased a building, which it called the Hirschfeld Centre, named after the German Sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld, in the then underdeveloped Temple Bar area of Dublin. The community centre was the first full-time lesbian and gay venue in Ireland. It housed a meeting space, a youth group, a café, a small cinema and film club and it ran discos at the weekend where gay men, lesbian women and transgender people socialised.