2024 Arts and Minds Festival - Queer Religion (Photographic Exhibition & Panel Discussion)

Saturday, May 11, 2024 - 14:00 to 15:00
TSI Building, North Campus, Maynooth University

Queer Religion – Photographic Exhibition and Panel Discussion 

This London-based collection created by Irish queer atheist photographer Frances Marshall, spotlights and celebrates prominent queer leaders in religion. These queer leaders risk so much personally in order to live in their truth and create positive change within the monotheistic religions. The subjects captured openly identify as queer and by their very existence provide a safe space within institutions that actively promote queerphobia. Religious organisations still blend seamlessly into society and with that comes a deep spread of negative and dangerous views towards queer people, inviting discrimination and hate towards this often-vulnerable community. Coming to terms with her own queerness in a Catholic community and education system, Frances believes that the answer to this issue is to bring the secular and religious worlds closer in this conversation rather than pushing each other away. Her goal is to shine light on these individuals that are unashamedly living their true selves and demonstrating that being queer and having religious beliefs can beautifully coexist. This collection is purposefully shot in natural light in order to represent the normality of queer life in religion.  

The exhibition is free and will be available in the TSI Building Foyer (#30 on map) from 10am on Saturday, 11th May until 6pm

Panel Discussion (2-3pm) - TSI Building, Lecture Theatre 1 - Get your tickets on Eventbrite
Exploring the multifaceted aspects of queerphobia through the lens of religion, law and life, our panel discussion will explore what this means to the panellists and the lives they’re living today.  Karen Dempsey (founder and Director of Entheos Ireland) will chair the panel discussion which will include Frances, Maeve Delargy, Founder of Lesbian Lawyers Network and Senior Associate with Philip Lee LLP; Mother Christina Beardsley, a London-based trans Christian advocate and Reverend who features in the exhibition; and Oisín O’Reilly, CEO of Outhouse LGBTQ+ Centre.  

Panellist Information

Frances Marshall, Photographer   Winner of the Portrait of Britain 2023, an award-winning nationwide photography exhibition, run by British Journal of Photography, Frances is an Irish arts photographer, based in London. A Maynooth graduate, her clients include some of the world’s greatest classical musicians and arts organisations.  https://francesmarshall.ie/ 
Karen Dempsey   Karen Dempsey is the founder and Director of Entheos Ireland, an inclusive, not-for-profit organisation founded to serve people who have been ostracised, marginalised or otherwise left behind by traditional faith paths on the grounds of gender, sexual orientation, family status or any other reason. Karen is a passionate campaigner for all kinds of diversity and equality, particularly those related to choice and autonomy. She sees activism as an important form of Ministry, and an expression of Love in Action. Along with her nursing qualifications, Karen holds a degree in English, Irish, Psychology and Women’s Studies, and a Masters in Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy. She is a fluent Irish speaker, and spends her days running Entheos, holding funeral ceremonies, running a home, and engaged in whatever activist campaign is current and close to her heart.
Maeve Delargy   Founder of Lesbian Lawyers Network and Senior Associate with Philip Lee LLP
Mother Christina Beardsley   London-based trans Christian advocate and Reverend
Oisín O'Reilly (he/him)   Oisín is the CEO of Outhouse LGBTQ+ Centre, with 20+ years of experience in social justice campaigns, fundraising, and nonprofit leadership. He has served on boards for organisations like the International LGBTQ+ Youth and Student Organisation and Dublin LGBTQ+ Pride. He is a current Trustee of the Irish Refugee Council. He is a dedicated advocate for LGBTQ+ equity and human rights in Ireland.