Scott De Buitléir talks about the new online magazine Eile, a new voice in Irish media.
Scott De Buitléir is the founder of the new online magazine Eile. He first contributed to Polari Magazine in July 2009, and he has been writing an entertaining and popular relationship column since August 2012. He has energy, and dedication. And what’s more, he believes in what he does. It’s about the ideas, and the work. That is why I think Eile will be interesting. I caught up with Scott in the days before the launch of Eile on Monday April 8, 2013.
What made you decide to start Eile magazine?
My background is in Irish radio, and the Irish LGBT scene, and I came up with the idea for a magazine solely for Ireland. I started to think about the title, and I didn’t want the word ‘gay’ in it because it’s overused, and it excludes people. Then the Irish word for ‘other’, eile, popped into my head and I thought that made sense.
In Irish an pobal eile means the other people, the other community, and that suits the idea perfectly. It’s not the mainstream.
Currently there are two magazines on the island of Ireland. GCN, Gay Community News, which serves the Republic of Ireland, and GNI, Gay Northern Ireland. I’ve lived in Belfast and Dublin, and I’m aware of the communities on both sides of the border. The community in Northern Ireland are already separated from the rest of the UK by the Irish Sea. They don’t need to be separated from the community in the rest of Ireland. It’s too small to be separated by the border.
The intention of Eile was to be all Ireland, and to introduce new writers who rarely have their voices heard.
It’s interesting that you’re talking about not using the word ‘gay’. There’s a move now toward using LGBT+, which I don’t like because anyone not LGBT is defined by a plus sign, and I don’t think that’s inclusive. What do you call Eile?
We use LGBT and queer. Our tagline is “time for an other view”. I don’t really like the word queer, but I know that some people still do.
I never used to like it that much, until that is we started Polari Magazine. Then it started to make more sense to me. It’s never going to appeal the people who want to mainstream.
Thinking about representation like this does make you think carefully about language. I know myself that when I first heard the word queer it was always negative, and of course people are trying to reclaim it. I don’t think that could happen with the word ‘faggot’.
To go back to the question, we use LGBT as a general tag, and for specific topics we’ll use what’s necessary. Two of the columnists are writing about the B and the T in the first week and why they aren’t represented enough in LGBT issues.
Is it going to be bilingual?
No, but that’s mainly because of how sensitive an issue the Irish language is in Northern Ireland. We don’t want to alienate those in Northern Ireland who identify as British, so we’re already taking a bit of a chance by using an Irish word and having an Irish web domain [.ie]. We want Eile to be something for everyone, and we don’t want anyone to assume that there’s a hidden agenda behind the initiative, political or otherwise. In time, we might re-assess the idea of publishing content in Irish every so often, but not now.
What’s the structure of the magazine? What are the sections, what are the aims?
It’s going to be more of a blogroll for the moment, but there are different themes on different days. There’ll be at least 2 articles every week day. I know it’s a cliché, but there should be something for everyone.
Do you see it as something that will evolve naturally, and that you’ll react to that evolution rather than forcing a structure on it?
Yes, definitely. The more input, the more feedback, the more it will change. It’s a very organic project.
If you had to say to someone, Eile has just launched, come and read it for ‘this reason’, what would that reason be?
It is literally something else, something other, for the Irish LGBT community/ It’s new writers, it’s written for all Ireland, it’s something people can contribute to, and it’s also a new platform, something more than what is already available.
If you feel under represented, Eile is the instrument to set it right. It’s the next generation.