18 years working as journalist and editor for the main Guatemalan newspapers and several local magazines. My fields: art, culture and history.

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Thursday, 26 May 2016

That sign, that gay sign.

*Picture was taken from  Pantibar FB page /

I was walking lost, close to the Liffey until I saw it: a line of several red letters on black background. “That’s the place”, I said. And I recognized the bar where I was drinking the last night, in my first visit to a gay pub in Dublin, well; in fact, it was my first time in Ireland. If someone abroad would ask me for an icon from the gay Irish scene, with no doubt, I would reply: “the Pantibar’s sign”. 

Recently I read about the DCC asked to Pantibar to remove its sign. How’s possible? There’s no any local law to protect the city’s iconic elements? We are not talking about a sign from a new cinema or recent restaurant. That sign is probably one of the few public things that can speak about gay community in Dublin. I can’t understand why the DCC is interested in a sign when, I’m sure, the city have real problems that need to being solved.

What’s wrong with the sign?

Talking about signs. In Madrid, in “La Puerta del Sol (Sun’s Gate Square) visitors can see the sign of “Tío Pepe (Uncle Joey), a neon publicity of local brewery placed there in 1935. When the local city council removed it in April 2011, citizens began a campaign (like actually Pantibar is doing online) that finally allowed get back the sign (restored) to the square, in May 2014.

Dubliners don’t need to have the same experience with the Pantibar’s sign.

By the way, in spite of local laws that protect Madrid city center from neon signs plague, the Tio Pepe publicity was “reprieved” twice by the city council.

Taking away the sign from a gay bar, in the middle of an international gay-rights movement, and in a development country that became the first one to legalize same-sex marriage by referendum… Hmm? I don’t know but there are a lot of things that don’t make sense.

Please, if you don’t want to lose an iconic sign in the city, sign this petition.

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