Mary McAleese to receive LGBT award as part of Gaze film festival

She will be presented with the Vanguard Award next week

Mary McAleese to receive LGBT award as part of Gaze film festival

Former President Mary McAleese at Aras An Uachtarain during a commemorate dinner in 2013 | Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive/PA Images

Former President Mary McAleese is to receive the inaugural Vanguard Award at this year's GAZE International LGBT Film Festival.

Mrs McAleese, who has spoken widely on her support for gay rights, will be presented with the award by filmmaker John Butler on Monday.

This will be the closing night gala of the festival.

In a statement, organisers say: "The festival has created a special award, the Vanguard Award, for a person, organisation or ally who has contributed to the LGBT community through their humanitarian efforts or through the arts.

"The festival is delighted to announce that former President of Ireland, Dr Mary McAleese, has agreed to accept the inaugural Vanguard award in advance of the screening of the closing film on Monday August 6th".

Former President Mary McAleese with her husband Martin (right), her son Justin (second left) and his husband Fionan (left) during the 2018 Dublin Pride Parade | Image: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

Invited guests will include visiting filmmakers, dignitaries as well as Irish personalities.

Throughout the festival, filmmakers will discuss their work and meet audiences following screenings.

GAZE runs across the bank holiday weekend at Dublin's Light House Cinema, where multiple Irish premieres will take place.

Mrs McAleese took part in the 2018 Dublin Pride Parade, and marched with her son Justin McAleese - a married gay man.

She has also recently spoken out on the Catholic Church's teaching on homosexuality, which she described as "evil."

"The Catholic church's teaching on homosexuality is in my view evil," she said in June.

"It conduces to homophobia. homophobia is evil; it ruins people's lives, it has ruined families lives, it has caused people to commit suicide, it has caused people to live in dark shadows, so unsure of themselves."