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Queer Joy: What Is It? Why We Need More Of It?

Illustration: Henrick Dulin/Oxfam

June is widely marked worldwide as a Pride month - a celebration of the LGBTQI+ community and commemoration of their struggle for equal rights and justice. We say “widely” and not “universally” because although LGBTQI+ people live in every country and are part of different religious, ethnic and cultural communities, their existence and equal rights are not universally recognised. In a world experiencing wars, famines and other crises, it’s easy to not keep in mind things that propel justice and equality.

As a global movement fighting for an equal and just world for everyone, Oxfam celebrates Pride month to express gratitude to our LGBTQI+ partner organisations and activists for contributing to social progress, human rights and equality. This year we’ve teamed up with artists, LGBTQI+ activists and their allies to celebrate queer joy.

Here’s our take on what queer joy is and why we need more of it.

Queer Joy is a Positive Feeling

Queer joy is an idea everyone can understand, even if you’re not an LGBTQI+ person. You may have experienced queer joy while eating a cake at a same-sex wedding, when our same-sex friends celebrate an anniversary, or when your company hires a transgender colleague. Queer joy is even more critical for LGBTQI+ people. It sustains the fight for being recognised as equals before the law and in the eyes of society. It is even more precious for LGBTQI+ people in contexts where progress on gender justice is minimal.

Queer joy is a positive feeling we get from encountering signs of progress in gender equality and gender diversity.

Queer Joy is Powerful

Research proves that a robust feminist movement is the most powerful factor for progress in eliminating gender-based violence and moving closer toward gender equality.

LGBTQI+ movements are a significant and integral part of it.

Queer activism and scholarship help expand our understanding of gender and sexuality and champion the messages of diversity, acceptance and inclusion in our societies. As of 2022, marriage between same-sex couples is legally performed and recognised in 30 countries - Chile and Switzerland are the most recent additions. It is inspiring and empowering to see LGBTQI+ rights recognised as inalienable human rights by more states. That’s how we’ll win!

Queer Joy is Empowering

Queer joy helps sustain the struggle for social justice. Dealing with issues like gender-based violence and conversion therapy and constantly facing backlash and hate is exhausting. Pride Month gives us a welcome break to balance the fight with a well-deserved celebration. And the experience of Queer joy is not only felt during Pride. The LGBTIQ+ community supports its members 365 days a year. It’s now up to our governments and us to support the LGBTQI+ community in creating a safe and welcoming environment for everyone, irrespective of their gender identity and sexual orientation.


Queer Joy is Bittersweet

Despite the progress made in recent decades across the globe, we are still miles away from full gender equality. LGBTQI+ people are disproportionately affected by every crisis that hits the world – from climate emergencies to wars. They experience adverse effects of the “ignored pandemic” of gender-based violence and the social and economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Queer joy is bittersweet: even amidst the celebration, we never forget those who fall victim to these crises due to their gender identity and expression or sexual orientation.

Queer Joy is Resilient

Sometimes the progress feels like two steps back and one step forward. However, LGBTQI+ activism continues to result in positive change. The message of gender equality is winning the hearts and minds of people worldwide. Strong people uplift queer joy despite the struggle. They take that step forward, no matter how small.

Queer Joy is for Everyone

Everyone has a role in bringing together a just and equal world for all. Together with different teams, campaigns and partners working on advancing gender justice, we’ve developed a Queer Joy Manifesto to express how such a world may look like for LGBTQI+ people. We hope that this vision will inspire more people – queer or not, to join hands in bringing it one step closer every day.

Happy Pride Month, and may queer joy be with you!

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5 ways you helped Oxfam fight inequality in 2021

In a year of continued struggle and upheaval, you never stopped showing up in the fight against inequality.

As 2021 has come to a close, we are amazed by Oxfam’s supporters and their dedication to ending poverty and injustice around the world. 2021was not easy—with an ongoing pandemic - but you continued to show up and make your voices heard.

Here are some of the ways you made a difference in 2021.

1. You helped the most vulnerable survive COVID-19 in India.

When the second wave of COVID-19 hit India in April this year, it created a public health crisis that overwhelmed hospitals and left people literally dying in the streets. Within a month, there were more than 100,000 deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to over 300,000—the third highest in the world behind the United States and Brazil.

Through your donations and support, Oxfam was able to provide medical equipment such as oxygen tanks, beds, PPE kits, and more to frontline health workers at hospitals across India, and we worked with 60 partners to provide hygiene kits, thermometers, and oxygen level meters to families.

In addition to providing material resources, Oxfam has urged the Indian government to assist migrant workers returning to their homes with free COVID-19 tests, cash, shelter and isolation centers for those needing them, as well as to increase efforts to prevent violence against women.

Oxfam staff Nikhil Wagh and Parmeshwar Patil carrying an oxygen concentrator into the Yashwantrao Chavan Memorial Hospital. Oxfam has distributed two oxygen concentrators and 50 safety kits for frontline health service providers in Pune, Maharashtra state. Oxfam India

2. We demanded a People’s Vaccine.

Oxfam co-founded the People’s Vaccine Alliance in order to fight for a patent-free, mass-produced, and fairly distributed vaccine available free of charge to everyone, everywhere. We are in partnership with Amnesty International Ireland, Trócaire, The Irish Global Health Network, and many more organisations. Over 400 leading doctors and scientists have issued a letter to An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin TD, requesting an urgent meeting to ensure Ireland is working to support the TRIPS waiver. A small representation from the Doctors for Vaccine Equity group, who are part of the People’s Vaccine Alliance in Ireland, and the Irish Society of Immunology presented the letter to the Taoiseach’s office.

3. You responded to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

In May of this year, Gaza was devastated by rocket attacks and shelling in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel, resulting in nearly 450,000 people in need of humanitarian assistance, and over 100,000 displaced people. Contributions from people like you allowed Oxfam to work with local aid organizations in Gaza to provide blankets and mattresses, hygiene items, and the material needs to supply drinking water for 400,000 people. We also were able to give cash to farmers so they could restart their work. Oxfam plans to aid 19 schools in repairing their water and sanitation systems.

An escalation in the conflict in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel has brought extensive damage to residential and commercial buildings, schools, roads, electricity network and water installations, and agricultural lands in Gaza. Fady Hanona

4. You supported ongoing humanitarian work in Bangladesh, Yemen, and other countries.

Oxfam supporters remain crucial in our ongoing humanitarian work in places like Bangladesh, where Oxfam and local partners have been assisting Rohingya Muslims who fled violence in Myanmar and are now living in dangerous, overcrowded conditions. In Yemen, your support has enabled us to assist 3 million people since 2015. This year, because of donations from people like you, we were able to provide aid to those in the Marib region who were recently displaced by fighting in the area. We delivered cash to more than 2,000 families and dislodging 55,000 litres of sewage from latrines each day.

Families seeking safety in Marib, including this man and his six-year-old son, have had to flee fighting multiple times. Kaff Media / Oxfam

5. You fought inequality worsened by the pandemic.

If there’s one thing that become abundantly clear during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that inequality makes everything worse. This year you continued to join us in our fight for equality and justice.

This year has not been easy for any of us, and yet you have remained dedicated to tackling inequality at its roots. Your support has helped people living in poverty across the globe, whether they were impacted by COVID-19, surviving a conflict, or fighting for their rights.  None of this work would be possible without you. 

Be part of something amazing - join Oxfam Ireland's dynamic board

Oxfam is a global movement of people working together to beat poverty for good. Supported across the island of Ireland for more than 60 years, we save lives and rebuild communities when disaster strikes. When it comes to working with communities to lift themselves out of poverty and thrive, we combine innovation and practicality to ensure they succeed. And we amplify the voices of people whose lives are most impacted by conflict, climate change, poverty and inequality to influence the local and global decisions that affect them.

Our multifaceted approach to tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice is reflected in the make-up of our talented Board of Trustees. This diverse, skilled group of individuals is responsible for overseeing the direction of the organisation and includes senior leaders from the private, public and voluntary sectors across the island of Ireland. They bring a wide range of experience, knowledge and expertise to Oxfam, further enhancing the work we do.

We are currently looking for new members to join our board and support our work as we launch our new, exciting ten year strategic framework. Service is voluntary and involves attending at least five board meetings a year as well as participating in strategic sub-committees. Each member serves a three-year term which can be renewed once.

In return, Oxfam Ireland offers our board members the life-changing opportunity to be part of our development, humanitarian and influencing work, and make a lasting difference to the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people.

For more information on our organisation, please see our year in review: oxfamireland.org/yearinreview

Please send a note of interest and details of relevant experience to the CEO, Oxfam Ireland:Oxfam Ireland,

2nd Floor Portview House, Thorncastle St, Ringsend, Dublin 4


Oxfam Ireland, Elizabeth House, Suite 1, 116 – 118 Holywood Road, Belfast, BT4 1NY;


Closing date: Friday June 25th 2021 at 12 noon.

Diversity and inclusion are core values of Oxfam Ireland and we expect our board to be representative of the diversity on the island of Ireland.

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Fashion Relief's pop-up shop is back (with a treat in store for brides-to-be)

18 May 2021

Get ready to shop till you drop – Lorraine Keane’s Fashion Relief with Oxfam’s pop-up shop at Blackrock’s Frascati Centre is reopening its doors tomorrow!

And alongside the brand-new and pre-loved and designer bargains from the likes of Burberry, Diane von Furstenberg, Victoria Beckham and Irish talent Fee G, Deborah Veale and Louise Kennedy, there’s a very special treat in store for brides-to-be.

Over the next few weeks, and as part of a Frascati Centre bridal campaign, the pop-up will display a selection of beautiful new and pre-loved wedding dresses and accessories from Oxfam’s Bridal Boutique on George’s Street.

So, not only will future brides get the chance to shop for more affordable and sustainable options for that special day, they’ll also be supporting Oxfam’s global work to beat poverty for good.

But that’s not all - the Fashion Relief Pop-up at Frascati will also be packed full of designer and boutique bargains that would be perfect for any mother of the bride.

 “We are thrilled to be reopening this week and I am so excited about the bridal campaign at Frascati – who so generously offered us space for our Fashion Relief Pop-up,” said Lorraine. “I’m sure many of us know couples who had to postpone their weddings over the last year, but hopefully planning can recommence now and central to that is of course the wedding dress.

As Oxfam Bridal say, ‘You don’t have to spend a fortune to look a million dollars.’ Oxfam have a beautiful collection of brand new and pre-loved wedding dresses. From vintage to the occasional Vera Wang, Oxfam’s dedicated Bridal Boutiques stock all styles and have bridal gowns to suit every figure.

Fashion Relief and Oxfam Bridal are part of Oxfam’s solution to ‘throwaway fashion’, encouraging people to donate pre-loved items and reduce the amount of clothes that end up in landfill as well as shopping second-hand to give pre-loved clothes a longer life.

By working with retailers, boutiques, and wholesalers, supporting them to donate their end-of-line or excess stock instead of sending it to landfill, Oxfam Bridal and Fashion Relief offer a more sustainable solution for people and planet.

“By bagging a bargain from the Fashion Relief Pop-up, you’ll be shopping more sustainably, helping to divert pre-loved and end-of-line clothes from landfill, and doing your bit for people and planet,” said Lorraine.

“I’ve seen first-hand how the profits raised support some of the poorest and most at risk people through Oxfam’s work – people made even more vulnerable because of the deadly threat of Covid-19. When you shop with Fashion Relief and Oxfam Bridal, know that every purchase helps to transform lives and support those most in need – including communities most at risk from the climate crisis.”

Drop into the Frascati Centre tomorrow, Wednesday 19 May, to browse an amazing range of fabulous fashion finds at discounted prices, bag yourself a unique bargain or gift and feel good as you do good!  

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Missed Fashion Relief TV? Don’t worry, you can still bag a bargain!

Tuesday 13 April 2021

Friday 9 April saw the return of Fashion Relief TV – Lorraine Keane’s sustainable fashion fundraiser with Oxfam Ireland!

Missed it? Don’t worry, you can still tune in and shop any time at www.fashionrelief.ie.

Earlier this year, Lorraine teamed up with broadcaster and fashion designer Brendan Courtney for a nationwide donation drive. Thanks to the generosity of some of Ireland’s most fashionable women, and boutiques from Dublin to Dingle, the Fashion Relief team was back with a bang on Friday, showcasing rails of pre-loved, brand-new and designer pieces.

The show featured designer labels like Preen, Celine, Ganni and Alexander McQueen, and much-loved Irish labels including Aideen Bodkin, Louise Kennedy and Fee G.

And while some of the fabulous items were snapped up on Friday, there are still some amazing bargains to be had, including this brand-new Preen dress at an incredible price:  

Preen one-shoulder tulle trimmed red midi dress. New with tags. RRP €1,119 | Fashion Relief Price (FRP) €295
DKNY Tan Trench Coat with belt and leather detail. Preloved RRP €295 | FR Price €70
Ganni Newman: Floral print gathered maxi dress by cool Danish brand Ganni. Donated by Lorraine Keane. Original RRP €295 | FRP €110
FRNCH Coat: FRNCH mid-length coat is designed in a gorgeous orange and white wool mix adding a smart tailored look to your spring look. Original RRP €165 | FRP €55

“Thanks to the generosity of donors we have created our very own little Fashion Relief circular economy – as long as people continue to donate fabulous items, we will continue to have fabulous bargains up for grabs,” said Lorraine.

“When Covid hit, Fashion Relief pivoted to an always-on online platform with the tech knowhow of our incredible partners, Axonista, so we could continue to offer our supporters amazing bargains with the added bonus of shopping more sustainably while also supporting Oxfam’s global work to beat poverty."

Fashion Relief is part of Oxfam’s solution to ‘throwaway fashion’, encouraging people to donate pre-loved items and reduce the amount of clothes that end up in landfill as well as shopping second-hand to give pre-loved clothes a longer life. So, by bagging a bargain from Fashion Relief you’ll be shopping more sustainably and doing your bit for people and planet.

“I’ve seen first-hand how the profits raised by Fashion Relief help some of the poorest and most at risk people through Oxfam’s work. Even though things may have slowed down or come to a stop here, humanitarian crises are continuing, and in some cases worsening across the world,” Lorraine continued.

Just three weeks ago, a massive fire swept through the refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. The fires left 10,000 families displaced and in urgent need of basics like food and water. Hundreds more were injured. This was yet another devastating blow to the Rohingya people who fled shocking violence and persecution in Myanmar. Oxfam continues to be able to support and respond to events like this because of the generous support of people across Ireland.
If you have any designer and high-quality clothes or bags you’d like to donate to Fashion Relief, email Aisling at aisling.wallace@oxfam.org to order a pre-paid, pre-addressed Fashion Relief donation bag. Simply pack the items in your donation bag and bring them to your local post office. You can donate up to 12 items at a time.
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