Coming Out, Queer Sex, and Heteronormativity in two Irish-language Novels
- Gender and Literature,
- Irish Queer Fiction,
- Micheál Ó Conghaile,
- Pádraig Standún
It has been nearly 30 years since Teresa de Lauretis coined the term “Queer Theory” in a special edition of Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies (1991). Since then, Queer Theory has evolved and changed, becoming an interdisciplinary in-vogue “methodology” that questions the subversive and the different.The social, cultural, and literary landscape of Ireland has also changed in those 30 years, a country that was once seen as a place where “homosexuality has occupied an uncomfortable place” (Conrad 2001, 124). This paper will discuss the literary texts of two Irish-language writers, Micheál Ó Conghaile and Pádraig Standún, who both reflect these shifts in attitudes in contemporary modern Ireland. Both writers unpack public and private expressions of identity, sex, and heteronormativity in their work. Bringing bold new themes to a language that was once perceived to be linked to nationalism and the Catholic Church, both Ó Conghaile and Standún engage with queer themes in their literary works, which have largely gone unnoticed by English language critics. This paper will seek to flesh out how these Irish-language writers spoke to, and for, a community within a community and for a minority within a minority. Discussing both Sna Fir (1999) (Amongst Men)1 and Cion Mná (1993) (A Woman’s Love), I will explore how queer identity has intersected with Irish-language literature and will question how these texts interact with broader cultural phenomena such as coming out, queer sex, and heteronormativity.