University gives an honorary degree to drag queen

PinkNews logo on a pink background surrounded by illustrated line drawings of a rainbow, pride flag, unicorn and more.

Irish drag queen Panti Bliss will receive an honorary degree for her services to LGBT activism.

The drag artist was confirmed as one of six people set to be honoured by Trinity College, Dublin (the University of Dublin) tomorrow.

Bliss, real name Rory O’Neill, caused controversy in January this year when she labelled Catholic lobbying group the Iona Institute ‘homophobes’ on an Irish talk show, prompting state broadcaster RTE to award a payout of over €85,000 (£70,000) to the group and associated journalists.

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

Panti Bliss has since become a household name in Ireland, speaking out for gay rights and same-sex marriage and releasing her own autobiography.

It is the second honorary degree for O’Neill – previously honoured by the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT), according to the Outmost.

She will be honoured alongside Senator David Norris, who last month accepted a Lifetime Achievement award at the PinkNews Awards.

The Senator was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in the Republic of Ireland back in 1987 – and has been a consistent champion of LGBT rights.

Founding of the Campaign for Homosexual Law Reform, he pioneered the country’s early gay rights movement, and led the court challenge that eventually saw the Irish law criminalising homosexuality thrown off the statute books in 1993.
University gives an honorary degree to drag queen
He was also influential during the country’s recent referendum on same-sex marriage – with a landslide in favour of equality.