Room for Rebellion

An interview with Isis O’Regan

An image of Damn Rebel Bitches

Feminist activist, Isis O’Regan talks about the Room for Rebellion project to support the Repeal the 8th Campaign in Ireland and the Abortion Rights Campaign.

Tell us a bit about room for rebellion and the brilliant bitches involved… 

Room for Rebellion is two sister nights in London and Dublin supporting one cause. We want to see the 8th Amendment removed from the Irish constitution. All funds raised will be going to the Coalition to Repeal the 8th Amendment and the Abortion Rights Campaign. We want women to have autonomy over their own bodies and put simply, choice. This means safe and legal abortions. And yes, on demand.

There are so many brilliant bitches involved! The eight DJ’s of course! (Eight for the 8th – geddit?) They’re all passionate, hugely talented and very generous to give their free time and talents to get us dancing for choice. As well as Rachel Botha, who is my woman on the ground in Dublin. It wouldn’t be possible without her!

What pushed you to get involved with the repeal the 8th movement in such an active way? 

In November, I went along to the first London Irish Abortion Rights Campaign meeting, which is being run by a group of incredible women including Hannah Little  – who I’d met through a mutual friend. Over 250 women and men turned up for the meeting each one as passionate as the next to bring about change in our homeland. There are a huge number of Irish expats here in London and we won’t shy away from the issues that affect the women who are our family and our friends.

I needed to start something as I am a firm believer in equality and I’m not going to sit back and just hope something will change. Educating people that this is happening right now in Ireland and also here in the UK too is a priority. The same draconian laws govern Northern Ireland and are punishable by servitude for life. I want people to be engaged and if that’s by shouting loudly and getting them on dance floors – that’s what I’ll do. Rebellion can take many forms and these nights are carefully curated to do exactly that! We must show our support for our sisters in Ireland and worldwide.

Do you feel there is a big change happening in Ireland? And if so do you think that same sex marriage legalisation has had a part in that awakening? 

Definitely, I think it showed how powerful we are when we stand together and the result has instilled confidence in our voices. ‘Strike for Repeal’ is following the women of Poland and is taking place on the 8th March. It proved to be successful there so I hope everyone gets striking in Ireland too. I’ll strike here! It’s very clear that there is a hungry generation eager to make a difference.

What women do you most identify with from history to the present day that have also inspired you to push further in your career and causes? 

Viv Albertine from the Slits who is punk as fuck – I met her last year and my heart nearly exploded. I’m down with Vivienne Westwood’s climate change mission. Anna Cosgrave for everything she does with REPEAL and being the megaphone for young Irish women. Frankie Hutchinson, Emma Olson and Christine Tran who founded Discwoman. All the brains behind Gal-dem and Ladybeard. Big up Mhairi Black. Each woman in Sinead McCoole’s historical account; ‘Easter Widows’. My mates too, lol I’m cringe but they’re some seriously wicked gals with enormous talent and drive.

What makes you a Damn Rebel Bitch? Tell us what kind of bitch you are.

Who me? I’m shy… Ha! In all honesty when I’m passionate about something I just do it. Simple as that.