Drag queen Panti Bliss nominated for ‘Pride of Ireland’ awards

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Drag queen Panti Bliss has been nominated for several Pride of Ireland awards, after giving a heartwarming speech about oppression in January.

Rory O’Neill, who plays Panti, caused controversy in January this year when he labelled Catholic lobbying group the Iona Institute ‘homophobes’ on an Irish talk show, over their position on same-sex marriage.

The move prompted Irish state broadcaster, RTE, to award a payout of over €85,000 (£70,000) to the group and its associated journalists.

After the controversy, a heartwarming speech that Panti gave about the oppression that gay people face went viral, and was even sampled as part of a Pet Shop Boys track.

According to the Irish Mirror, Panti has been nominated for several Pride of Ireland awards, including for Lifetime Achievement, Bravery and Special Recognition.

Panti told the newspaper: “Hearing that people have nominated me, I’m astonished and delighted. But then I was astonished and delighted at the response my speech has received.

“I hope the action I took at the Abbey Theatre has gone some way to explain exactly what homophobia means in my life and in the life of many others.

“My only wish is that I’d have realised how far and wide my speech, what has been called the noble call, would have gone. I might have practised it a few more times to make sure there were no fluffs in the lines!”

The Pride of Ireland awards take place on June 3.

Watch Panti’s Noble Call speech again below: