Many objects in the TRC’s LGBTQ+ collection reflect and celebrate the multiple identities of contemporary LGBTQ+ people. Textiles donated by long-time activist and university lecturer Walt Kilroy illustrate this intersection. The pink cotton T-shirt (TRC 2019.1992) from the Irish lesbian and gay choir Glória (see illustration) has a large stylized shamrock on its back, along with the machine embroidered words “Various Voices Dublin”. While the pink refers to a gay identity, the shamrock has been associated with Irish identity since the late sixteenth century. This version of the choir’s many T-shirts was worn at the Various Voices LGBT International Choral Festival, hosted in Dublin (Ireland) in 2014 (For more on the Dublin-based choir, click here; for more on the shamrock as a symbol of Irish identity, click here).
A white cotton T-shirt from the 2000 Dublin Pride celebration (TRC 2019.1993), which features a printed logo of a rainbow circle with a spiral, Celtic-like motif, likewise symbolises a coming together of different identities.
Religious identity is also important for many LGBTQ+ people, who may sport a rainbow coloured Sikh turban to a rainbow decorated Christian stole. The TRC collection also includes two kippahs, the traditional skullcap worn by religious Jews. The cotton, crocheted caps, one white (TRC 2019.1607), the other black (TRC 2019.1608), both feature a rainbow coloured edge around the bottom. “I just am a queer Jew living in Israel and have plenty of Jewish queer friends, some more observant and some less so,” writes Elam B., founder of the online business 2QueerJews, which sells the kippahs. “I always thought the options for combining Jewish identity with queer identity were lacking. Most rainbow kippahs I saw were either handmade, or really ugly, so I wanted to create better options for queer Jews to symbolise their identity, while also helping me and my friends make a living.”