Bridget Coll & Chris Morrissey

Born in Donegal in 1934, Bridget Coll met her lifelong partner Chris Morrissey in the early 1960s when both women belonged to a Franciscan order of nuns in the US. Coll and Morrissey spent 1981-9 in Pinochet’s Chile, where they were involved in protests against the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. In 1988, the couple returned to Morrissey’s native Canada. Here, they undertook an ultimately successful constitutional challenge to Canadian immigration law to make it more inclusive for LGBTQ+ couples.

Photo courtesy of Chris Morrissey

The St Patrick’s Day Battle

On 28 April 1990, a group of Irish immigrants and Irish Americans founded the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization (ILGO) in a Japanese restaurant in New York city. When ILGO first attempted to march on 16 March 1991 in the 5th Avenue St Patrick’s Day Parade, they faced hostility from parade attendees and organisers. The ILGO campaign to challenge the exclusion of Irish LGBTQ+ people from the official New York St Patrick’s Day Parade on 5th Avenue became a leading fight in a broader battle to define an inclusive Irish diaspora.

Photo courtesy of Paul O’Dwyer, photographer: Allan Clear