Shona Meets- Lara Fitzsimons

The team at Shona HQ first met Lara back in 2021 when she was just 17 years old! Lara shared a conversation with one of our Shona Ambassadors, where they spoke about their coming out experiences, how important it is to own your individuality, find your community, and to just be you with. This conversation resulted in the creation of a gorgeous video for our 2021 Shine Festival – which was appropriately titled “Coming Out For Beginners”. You can check out the video HERE

Since then, Lara has graced our Insta feed with her vibrant and busy life! An actor, dancer and most recently, podcaster, Lara is one of the most wonderful humans we are blessed to know! 

With June being pride month, we just had to check in with Lara to have a chat about all things Pride, coming out and finding your place in the LGTBQ+ community! Check out our convo below x

Celebrity gif. Lizzo wears a shiny sleeveless gown, shakes her head emphatically, and pumps an award statuette in the air while shouting, "Let's go!"

Lara, as someone that is proudly part of LGBTQ+ community, could you tell us a little about your story? What was teenage your experience like and how would you describe it now?

I would love to. To be honest, teenage Lara was very different from 20-year-old Lara, despite it only being a few years ago. I remember when I first realized that I may have been gay, I hid it so well. I got so used to checking myself constantly and not letting it slip or accidentally saying something that might reveal the big secret. Looking back, I just want to give younger Lara a big hug. I didn’t have many role models at that age, but as I grew up, I found role models in the people around me, in fellow queer Irish artists, etc., and slowly started to feel part of a community and less alone. I think the first time I ever said the words out loud was to a friend who lived in a different county because I found it easier to tell someone further outside my circle first. It blows my mind how different my attitude is towards myself now, but everything just seems so scary and new when you’re that age.

Shona Meets- Lara Fitzsimons

Through conversations with our many amazing Shona members who are also proudly part of the LGBTQ+ community, we know that Pride and Pride Month mean many different things to many different people. What does Pride mean to you?

Pride to me is feeling free. It’s being able to stand up and say “this is who I am, take me or leave me because I love me”. It’s the freedom to speak about who you are, your ideas, what and who you love openly and wholeheartedly. When I think of pride I also think of the people who came before me in the LGBTQ+ community, how brave they were to start the movement so that we can be treated equally. Though we have a long way to go still, we owe everything that we have so far to them.

I had a mixed bag of good and bad responses when coming out, but unfortunately, that is part of life, and I realized that truly, the only person’s opinion that mattered was mine at the end of the day. Once the lockdowns ended, I was able to really find out who I was as a person. I was out of school, in my first year of college, and suddenly surrounded by so much queer culture in Ireland. From gigs like The Pillow Queens and Wallis Bird to open mic nights, I really found my tribe and was able to find my voice. Honestly, it has been such a journey, and I often forget how different it was for me even a few years ago because of where I am today. It has become such a part of me that I forget to mention it to people. It really is crazy how something that was once so difficult to comprehend and understand about me has just become part of me, like my eye colour or my hair colour. It is part of me, a part I am so proud of, but I don’t really think about it as this big, scary thing anymore because it isn’t! I think that’s the thing about growing up in general: everything is so temporary, and that is what I love—it’s about the little moments and putting yourself out there into what you love. To figure out who you are while also loving all the versions of yourself along the way because being gay does not come in just one font.

Shona Meets- Lara Fitzsimons


We saw that you were recently involved in a play called “Under the gay tree at Spar”, that you wrote with your friends. Could you tell us more about that? What brought about the idea of the play and what does it mean to you?

I could talk about this play all day! This project was such a journey for me, and getting to go on that journey with some of my best friends was a privilege. When we started talks with The Abbey Theatre and our amazing director, Darren Yorke, we knew two things. Firstly, we wanted to highlight the issues that young members of the community face on a daily basis, such as dealing with their identity and looking for a community. Secondly, we knew we wanted to make people laugh. So, how do you combine these two? We chose to write a satirical piece about a young woman named Lilian who leaves her small town and finds herself with a group of misfits in none other than Gay Spar on George Street. The play was bonkers and poked fun at all the stereotypes that lesbian and gay people often face. While it is so important to highlight issues of homophobia and shine a light on these topics, we wanted people to leave with a smile on their faces and a glimmer of hope.

The idea for the play came about on a random day; some would call it faith. Myself and my co-star were on the bus home when a man approached us, offering us rainbow rosary beads for what he described as “conversion”. Now, that could have been quite a scary interaction; being converted on the 27 bus home is not usually on my evening plans, but it was something so bizarre that when we came in the next week with our rainbow beads, we knew we had to make some art from this experience. I remember thinking when I walked out onto the Peacock Stage, “This is it; this is what I would have needed as a young person”, and I’m proving to myself that I can.

Shona Meets- Lara Fitzsimons

At Shine Festival 2021, we spoke all about your coming out story and finding your feet as a teenager in the LGBTQ+ community. For those who didn’t see your chat, what is your advice for someone who may be new to being out and may not be comfortable in their surroundings just yet?

My advice would be to take it slow. You’re in no rush to find a label, and although labels can help us identify ourselves, start by accepting you! Your sexuality is such an important part of your identity, but it is just one of 100, and you will get there with time and compassion for yourself. If you think you may be struggling or unsure, search for queer events, queer support groups, queer shows in theatres, and queer musicians. Dublin and Ireland in general are booming at the moment, with safe spaces popping up and LGBT artists galore. For me, having role models is so important because we can’t often find them in our everyday lives or in school. Remember that there are people like you out there everywhere, and if someone hasn’t told your story yet, you can.


How important are allies, and what can we all do more of, or do better?

I truly believe that allies are so underestimated and often overlooked, but they are so important to the community. Allyship comes in so many different ways and forms, be it speaking out and going to protests, or it can be as simple as “I don’t agree with you” or challenging a small comment made by a work colleague that may be deemed offensive. Everyone needs an ally in their life, be it for their sexuality, their job, or their music taste. People need people. If I were to give advice to allies out there, it would be to stand by what you believe in and be kind. It’s such a cliche, but kindness really goes a long way and costs nothing. At the end of the day, as people, we all have the same needs, and we are all human underneath, so why not just treat people how you would like to be treated?


A huge thanks to Lara for sharing such important advice! If you want to hear a little more from Lara, why not check out her Shine Festival video below 


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