Monday 24 October 2016

Move over Putin, Trump and Bieber - Panti Bliss is officially more influential

Panti Bliss, aka Rory O’Neill, is 29th on the list of 100 international game-changers (Gerry Mooney)
Panti Bliss, aka Rory O’Neill, is 29th on the list of 100 international game-changers (Gerry Mooney)

Panti Bliss is among the 30 most-influential people in the world in a new poll for Time magazine.

The entertainer and activist, who is the drag queen alter ego of Rory O'Neill, came 29th on the list of 100 game-changers as selected by the public.

It places her ahead of singer Rihanna, Russian president Vladimir Putin and US Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump.

The Time 100 Most Influential poll comprises people deemed "world leaders, great minds in science and technology, outstanding figures in the arts and other icons of the moment".

US Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders topped the poll, followed by South Korean boyband Big Bang and Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Pakistani teenager Malala Youzafzai, singers Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift along with Pope Francis also make the top 10.

However, the final list won't be released until Thursday, after Time's editors get together to make their official choices.

Panti was seven places ahead of Rihanna and 32 places ahead of footballer Lionel Messi on the list.

Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump and Justin Bieber were ranked 44th, 71st and 87th respectively.

O'Neill's drag queen persona first opened the PantiBar on Dublin's Capel Street in 2007, but was catapulted into the public eye following comments she made about homophobia in 2014.


Days later, she made an impassioned speech on the Abbey Theatre stage about the vulnerability of LGBT people in Ireland.

Kieran Rose, co-chair of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (Glen), said: "Panti played a really important role in Ireland becoming the first country in the world to vote for marriage equality.

"Her Noble Call speech in the Abbey articulated the everyday experiences of so many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, not just in Ireland but all around the world."

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