It's been a wild three years! Barring some unforeseeable cosmic upset, my time as this paper's Agony Aunt is coming to a close - it's been almost a year since I graduated from UCD, after joining the UO team in 2020 because a call was put out for a bitchy homosexual.

Once this issue is published, H and Michael are going to finish their jobs as editors, bring me up to the Observer's office, and shoot me square in the temples at point-blank range. It's for the best.

For anyone who's not up to speed here, my name is Joanne Joanne - UCD drag legend, unlikely Philosophy graduate, woman-shaped swarm of fireflies. This is my third (third!) year writing this column for the paper, because in August 2020, a previous editor of the Observer sent me a note made from magazine clippings reading "WRITE THE COLUMN OR THIS BAG OF PUPPIES GETS THROWN INTO THE LIFFEY". I'm a hero, really.

This column is all about the questions and problems I've sent through my anonymous Tipbox account - throughout the year I've been taking submissions and telling the good people of University College Dublin how to navigate their lives as college students. Maybe they'll take my advice! Maybe they won't! It's really not my problem what happens after the article is published. I'm a 22-year-old drag queen with a Philosophy and Social Justice degree. The degree is finished - I no longer have to worry about the "consequences'' of my "actions".

Hi JoJo,
So I'm a poet (regrettably), and I write a lot about my personal experiences. I've never really had any concerns about this, but recently I've started to think that my work might actually be good enough to publish.
That being said, how soon after a breakup is too soon to submit poems about said breakup to a poetry journal?
Love you lots xoxox

One thing I've always done while answering this kind of question is embrace the chaos. Personally, I don't believe there's a correct or incorrect length of time to wait before publishing something about a breakup after the fact. Just think about that for a few seconds - who's deciding whether or not it's "too soon" for you to do what you like? What's going to happen if you submit a poem "too soon"? Because I can guarantee nobody's going to beat you up!

If you think your work is good enough to publish then that should be all you need - if it's good enough to publish then that'll be the case no matter when you submit it. Even if you're worried your ex is going to see it - who cares? Is it their poetry in the first place? You shouldn't let the time since the breakup stop you from doing what you want, even if your work is about said breakup. It's not exactly like they're going to break up with you - and if they do, you can screenshot those texts and publish them as well before blocking them on every social media platform. Win-win situation. 


Best places to meet queer people in Dublin that aren't gay bars?

When I'm asked to recommend gay places in Dublin that I love, admittedly my recommendations are largely gay bars like The George or Street 66. I recognise that it can be tough looking for gay friends in places that aren't alcohol-centric. Making friends can be hard, especially when you're not looking for gay bars in particular. Wouldn't be me though. Truly, can't relate. As the extrovert-in-chief of the University Observer, all I need to do is clench really hard and think of gay rights, and new queer friends immediately clamber out of my bedroom walls and start playing vibes-based Guess Who? with me.

On a real note though, it might be worth considering that gay bars in Dublin can be useful for meeting friends in contexts that don't involve an extraordinarily messy night out. I have a couple of friends who regularly go to Pride Poets in Street 66, a poetry and spoken word event that happens every month. I've also heard good things about Drag And Draw, which is a life-drawing class where you get to draw drag queens. Sounds hot! The Bernard Shaw also does drag brunch every Sunday and a craft market on the last Saturday of every month.

In UCD specifically, the LGBTQ+ Society does regular, chilled-out, low-stakes events where there is no pressure to get completely obliterated. There was also an article written for The Harpy earlier this year about the gay population of UCD Dramsoc, that may or may not be based in fact. Who's to say? Also, whoever wrote that article needs a pay rise.


Hi Joanne,
In theory, potentially, how much of a lobotomy would I need if I, unbidden, annotated a textbook for my ex because they said they were interested in using it for research for a novel. Hypothetically.

Throw the whole brain away.


To quote the Looney Tunes - that's all folks! Thank you so much to everyone who's submitted questions either this year or in the past two years - I've had a blast writing this column, and pestering the group chats I'm in to ask my friends for their problems. If you like my drag, want to know what's next, or are just madly and deeply in love with me, you can follow me on Instagram at @joannesquared. There's also a Revolut and PayPal link in my bio. Just in case. <3