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    Panti's Noble Call at the Abbey Theatre

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    XenagogueVicene

    by XenagogueVicene

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    DUBLIN — Ireland's top drag queen, Miss Panti Bliss, has driven a stiletto heel through this nation's long-running debate on gay rights. Panti has riled up conservative Catholics and won global admirers in a social media tour de force that is dominating Irish water-cooler talk. How and why has Panti — a.k.a. 45-year-old Rory O'Neill — become a YouTube sensation in a dozen languages, thanks to a single, celebrated speech on anti-gay prejudice in Ireland? AP explains. O'Neill has been Ireland's best-known drag performer for more than a decade, leading Dublin's annual Gay Pride parades and the Alternative Miss Ireland pageant, performing in nightclubs and, since 2007, in his own pub named the Pantibar. It's one of of only four gay bars in Dublin — but that's four more than existed a generation ago in this predominantly Catholic land. Homosexuality was outlawed in Ireland until 1993.