Back in February of this year, Panti Bliss, Ireland’s top drag queen, became a YouTube sensation when video of her passionate speech on anti-gay prejudice in Ireland went viral.
Panti, aka 45-year-old Rory O’Neill, was invited by the Abbey Theatre (Ireland’s national theatre) to participate in their celebration of the centenary of the 1913 Dublin Lockout with a revival of James Plunkett’s The Risen People. Each night the Abbey invited a guest performer to feature in Noble Call. Those invited included artists, journalists, historians and actors who offered their own personal response to the play through what form they chose (spoken word, song or poetry). O’Neill was invited to speak on February 1 for the show’s closing night.
He took to the stage as Panti and proceeded to speak for 10 minutes about Ireland’s anti-gay attitudes. According to the National Post, the video of the speech spent the following ten days at the top of the Ireland YouTube channel, the video that O’Neill posted currently has over 573,000 views, and sparked social media debate as well as the production of “I’m on Team Panti” t-shirts popping up for sale around Dublin. Some celebrity supporters included Madonna, Stephen Fry and Graham Norton.
Attention is once again to turn to Panti and her words as British electro-pop duo Pet Shop Boys released their new song on Saturday (March 8) through their website. Called “The Best Gay Possible” the song features Panti’s entire speech set to a trance track.
Panti responded to the tribute yesterday (March 9) saying,
— Panti Bliss (@PantiBliss) March 8, 2014
Pet Shop Boys released their 12th album, Electric, last year. They will shortly begin a 10-date US tour at the beginning of April, which includes an appearance each Saturday of the Coachella Festival.
You can check out the original video below: