Ireland is actually so bad sometimes at supporting LGBT events in smaller towns. These small towns are the ones who need the support for their LGBT groups and communities the most. These places don’t have drop in centres, LGBT cafés or gay bars. They’re not granted the funding required to enable them to get their own premises so their meeting venues are the most difficult to source. They rarely get any funding at all but have so much passion and so many ideas. This is the reality for any group outside of the cities here in Ireland so putting an event together is even harder for them and advertising it is twice as hard. Night club venues don’t want to offer a room on one of their busy nights so you need to hope that people will bother coming to your event on a night that is not usually worth going out on. There’s so many obstacles so why are our own LGBT community one of them?
It would be so easy to fill a venue if the gay people from each area actually got together and went to these events and brought along their friends or family members. Wouldn’t it be great to just sit and chill at an event full of same sex loving peers? It’s so hard to meet other LGBT people in rural areas so when groups put effort into getting an event together I like to see a good crowd at it but unfortunately that’s rarely the case. Rural based groups from all around Ireland post pictures of their events online and the main thing they usually have in common is poor attendance. Why? I love going to these events when the opportunity arises for so many different reasons yet I am constantly disappointed by the lack of support from other people. A group can’t be held responsible for a lack of public support yet the public must have their reasons too for not attending. We need each other to fill these events and keep these small groups going. Together we can make them bigger and we can help to enable them to be more progressive and successful. It would be so sad if these groups and localised events disappeared, it really would. I hope that doesn’t happen.
Hey all! I have been swamped with assignments hence my absence from WordPress and blog land. The downside – missing out on my virtual socialising, the plus side – an awesome qualification at the end of all this hard work.
I’m hoping that volunteer work is on the horizon for me pretty soon which prompted this thought process… does being butch actually decrease your job opportunities? Will this be a factor in a future employers decision regarding your potential employment? Or does this discrimination only exist in certain types of work? To be honest I’ve never been served in a shop by a butch woman. I actually haven’t encountered one elsewhere either for that matter but I am not sure if that means that butches aren’t being hired or if they’re just not applying for these jobs in particular. Even if they are applying for these jobs it must also be said that a lack of qualifications is a possible reason for them not achieving employment also. It could be any number of reasons really so it’s hard to blame discrimination alone.
Like I already mentioned, I am hoping to get some work experience through volunteer work which will revolve around caring for people who have intellectual disabilities. One thought which struck me recently was “Should I grow my hair? Should I make myself look less butch?”. I know, I know, you should always be true to yourself but I still found myself thinking about how my looks could potentially impact people’s impression of me. I was initially thinking that having longer hair may help my cause but then I got a haircut so I failed big time there. Then I wondered if my small chest is a factor when I’m presumed to be a guy but no way on earth would I be happy wearing something designed to emphasise what little breasts I do have. Wearing make-up just isn’t me… I’d probably end up looking like a drag queen to be honest.
In the end I thought to myself “Why can’t being butch be an asset for me instead of simply being something negative?”. After some research I found out that there is very little out there to help or educate people who have intellectual disabilities and identify as LGBT so this lead me to thinking that I could actually be able to offer some form of support for these people. Maybe sharing my experiences and knowledge could actually inspire understanding and compassion amongst those who have intellectual disabilities. It’s something that many heterosexual workers and volunteers may not feel equipped to handle so perhaps that could be where I can help?
I guess my point is that sometimes your sexuality and your style may be more of an asset than you first realise. Our world is undeniably becoming more accepting and even more fond of us rainbow folk and I’m glad I didn’t even entertain the idea of changing myself to fit in or be more accepted when this energy can be better put into helping to transform attitudes for the better. Right now I’m genuinely pretty excited about the possibility of speaking about a topic that remained taboo for such vulnerable people for so long. I’m feeling determined and ready to play an active role in my community.
I hope all of you are having a great week.
Take care of yourselves. 🙂
A Gallup poll which aimed to assess the countries of the world and their attitude towards LGB people has ranked Ireland as number six and I have to admit I’m pretty impressed with that! 75 percent of people agree that Ireland is welcoming and friendly towards Gays and Lesbians. This survey collected answers from over 100,000 people from 123 different countries.
Here’s the top six…
First place – the Netherlands
Second place – Iceland
Third place – Canada
Fourth place – Spain
Fifth place – United Kingdom
Sixth place – Ireland
The biggest surprise for me was that the United States was voted into the 12th spot with 70 percent of those surveyed declaring the States to be gay friendly. Are you surprised by your country’s ranking? Do you think this accurately reflects the world as it is today? I’ve been thinking a lot about Ireland’s attitude recently and I have been giving this little country credit where it’s due because we are making progress here and our residents are opening their arms wider in welcome to increasing numbers of lgb people coming. We still have a long way to go before we reach complete acceptance but I’m grateful for how far we have already come.
I’ve a confession to make about my lesbian life… I’ve never been to a gay bar. Ever. Not once.
It’s not because I’m not interested in going to one. Well, I suppose that’s partly it because the gay bars here aren’t very gay. Gay friendly would sum it up much better because it’s mainly hen nights and fag hags that fill the bars here each weekend.
I must also tell you all that I can name at least five gay bars that have closed down throughout Ireland over the past few years. Why are they closing? Apart from the obvious answer to that question (lack of customers), I really don’t know. For whatever reason the LGBTQ community’s love of going to a gay bar has seriously declined over the past few years. Some might suggest that this is happening because we are more welcome to be open in most night clubs and pubs. Personally I’d totally disagree with that statement for so many reasons. I still hear of circumstances of discrimination and homophobia at least once every few months so surely there is still a gap in the market for the safe haven that is a gay bar? If you are actually lucky enough to find a gay gay bar.
The closest gay bar to me was over an hour away by car. I say was because it’s one of the ones that’s bitten the dust now. That hour would not be an easy or cheap trip for someone like me who doesn’t drive so to make this awkward and expensive journey to a bar filled with straight ladies that happens to have a pride flag hanging outside it just doesn’t sound worth it to me. If I could find a bar that fulfills the expectations I had for so many years after watching The L Word and Queer as Folk then I would be very impressed and I would definitely be there!
Dublin Pride was brilliant, in my opinion, but I was only seventeen when I was at it so sticking around in the hopes that I’d gain access to one of the clubs Dublin has to offer didn’t make sense back then. So if Pride can be so loud and proud with it’s numbers growing each year but gay bars are disappearing rapidly does that mean that our community is simply becoming more comfortable with the idea of fading away and blending into the background? Are we now satisfied with just having that one day to show our colours before we return to our daily lives? I was asked if it is even necessary to segregate ourselves from the heterosexual community with Prides and exclusive bars. Honestly, I don’t see it as segregation or exclusivity. I would love to see Ireland have a strong LGBTQ scene that includes a few good bars for lesbos like me who just wanna have fun! It’s still not fully accepted for a couple like us to actually act like a couple in public so until that day arrives I will happily tell everyone that I think it’s necessary for us to have gay bars and prides and festivals that allow us to be ourselves. It’s just disheartening to have to travel so far to actually get the opportunity to be ourselves but I still would hate to see that opportunity completely fade away even if it is only an opportunity to be in a gay friendly atmosphere rather than a full LGBTQ experience. I may go to a gay bar one day and if I ever do you can expect a full review! For now I’m fairly happy to be one half of the lesbian couple that seems to stand out so much in our small town but I’ll still be dreaming of a camped up, butched out, drag filled bar.
My style is to have short blended hair
This blurs the lines of gender but I don’t care
My jeans are deep blue with creases of wear
They’re loose but tight in places. People still stare.
My body is skinny with a smaller chest
They just look there and forget the rest
My jaw line is defined with a cheeky smile
My fingernails are too short to even file
My t shirt is sometimes fitted but never tight
They look and guess. They’re rarely right
I do a good deed for a random in the street
“Good man” they say and I feel my face heat
I wear men’s shirts cos you don’t need to see
The sexual side of my female body
I get swallowed up by the layered comfort
When they shouted “ugly lezzer” that kinda hurt
My tattoos are too masculine according to who?
A stranger – how does it even affect you?
My gender confuses you in the public toilet
Your reaction is almost enough to start a small riot
A word to the wise: I’m doing no harm
It’s not my fault if you’re attracted to my charm
Or if you never saw someone so weird
I’m certainly not a person that needs to be feared
Am I a young guy or a raging lesbo dyke?
My hair stands up with gel in every spike
I’m standing tall for myself and everyone just like me
Please don’t let them make you cry. Just be yourself, let yourself be free.
My wedding day was filled with a lot of mini disasters. Nothing major, nothing that could have ruined the day but definitely little hiccups. Many people turn wedding planning into a top priority in the months or weeks before their big day but honestly no amount of planning can totally guarantee you the perfect day. To prove to you all that a perfect wedding day is not necessarily required for an amazing marriage I’m going to tell you about some of the disasters we faced along the way…
A week before our wedding I realised that my ring was big enough to fit on my thumb all of a sudden. Uh oh, who would have guessed that weight loss equaled to smaller fingers? I dropped a few clothes sizes since we had bought our rings and clearly ring sizes too! So, a mission began to get me a new ring. After arguing with the man in the jewellers I was actually lucky enough to exchange my ring for a smaller one. Success!
On our wedding day, about an hour before we were due to start our journey to our venue, my better half started crying. A lot. We were at my Mom’s house so, of course, Mom overheard the crying and presumed it was a case of cold feet. Honestly, I kind of thought so too. After a painful few minutes I finally got to the root of the problem – she was worried about our dog. Yes, that was it. I had been eating a chocolate bar before we left our house and I left some of it on our kitchen table. She was terrified. I think she had visions of our dog eating the chocolate and becoming really ill with no one there to help her. We quickly went back to our house, checked on doggy, she was totally fine and I threw the culprit in the bin.
We had to stop at the venue we had chosen to have our wedding afters in before going to the ceremony venue. We dropped off some last minute items required for our after party then happily left to get married. They say that brides are meant to be late so as two brides arriving together we were double late. Hey, it’s tradition so that was okay! Unfortunately we realised we had another problem… our CD that had the songs we wanted to walk up and down the aisle to was accidentally left at the party venue. Aagh, stress! My patient Mother and confused Uncle drove back and got the precious cd for us. Wahoo, we now had music!
There was actually other problems along the way but I’ll save those for a future post! Don’t let planning and obsessing over perfections distract you from what you are really aiming to do: make a commitment to your love in front of the ones you have chosen to be there.
Sara Bareilles – I Choose You: http://youtu.be/xjE5D9cHiOk
Sara Bareilles’ recent offering is such a heartfelt song! In this music video she helps two people to propose to their partners. The really awesome thing is that a beautiful lesbian couple is one of the pairs hoping to get engaged. Lesbian love is the best, right? Their happiness made me smile as I recalled proposing to my wife. It was the most simple yet magical moment. We were laying in each other’s arms listening to Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol when I asked her the most important question I’ve ever asked. I said wife so, you guessed right, she said yes! One year later we had our Civil Partnership (Ireland hasn’t made it to Civil Marriage just yet). Our relationship was criticised from the very beginning. My wife is eight years older than me and I was only eighteen when we got engaged so of course the whispers of “She’s too young, she’s not ready” were loud and ever present. The fact that we got engaged a mere three months after we got together (typical lesbians) didn’t help to convince the sceptics. Nevertheless, one year later we were wed in a ceremony that was perfect to us. Laughter, tears, love and hope rained down upon us as we promised ourselves to each other.
This June we will be together four years so I suppose we proved people wrong. Yes, I was young but not too young. Yes, it was soon but not too soon. Yes, it was love, the truest and most precious of loves. I feel like I’m living my very own love story. I hope you all have or will find your love story too one day. We all deserve a happily ever after. For now, whatever your relationship status, sit back and enjoy this sweet music video. Smile, life is good even when it’s bad.
Why on earth does your appearance have to matter so much? We live in a world where looks are so important that we even sometimes act like someone’s shell is too hard to crack through so we don’t try to see what’s inside. I was unhappy with my body before I lost weight. Now? I’m still unhappy with my shell.
It doesn’t help when the majority of the supposedly hot or good looking women out there, especially in the land of lesbian tv, are thin and super confident. I mean, really, who could possibly be that confident? The “best looking” women in both BBC’s Lip Service and Showtime’s The L Word are way thinner than the majority of the women I know. This is okay in tv land where perfection is normal but translated into the real world that equals to some pretty insecure lesbians of every shape and size. It seems to be believed that curvy ladies aren’t desirable but of course they are! I think the fight to lose weight should be done for health reasons not to impress anyone else. Trust me, if they look straight past you because of your looks then they are not a “let’s be together forever no matter how much wrinkles change your face or how much your goods sag” type of person.
Callie from Grey’s Anatomy is the type of beautiful woman that is the wonderful lesbian role model we need more of. She is normal while still being the object of many lesbians desire. (Below, right)
When I was heavy I felt like I needed to be like the skinny girls to be considered attractive.
I thought that I needed to have better clothes or cooler hair.
I thought that people saw me as ugly and I definitely saw myself as ugly.
Now I see that it was all in my mind. I need to learn to love myself and the person I am while challenging the things I am truly unhappy about and changing them, where possible. I still find myself becoming overly sensitive when I receive comments about my weight loss. Is there a hidden meaning behind these comments or is it simply a compliment? Or maybe just an observation? Usually it is just a simple comment. I will always be too skinny, too curvy, too butch, too girly, too whatever for someone somewhere so I no longer care what the someone’s think. The really amazing thing about us ladies is that we come in so many different packages but someone is always out there waiting to open your wrappings and find the real you hidden beneath. The even better thing about us lesbians is that in a relationship there will, more than likely, be two equally self conscious women who can understand each other’s feelings. Knowing that my wife loves my looks makes me feel more confident and more attractive. I feel honoured that it’s me that she desires. Most of us women love being told that we’re beautiful so make sure you tell your lady how good she looks everyday. I still need to tell myself that I look great until I finally start to believe myself. Being told that I’m beautiful by my wife is wonderful but I won’t feel beautiful until I embrace my body, flaws included. Love yourself.
A close friend told me that I’m a good writer. Then she told me again. And again. Slowly her words began to sink in.
Sometimes life takes away your confidence and you’re just left with an unused skill that should have been better cared for. Imagine your talent in the form of a bike… if you do not keep your bike indoors when it rains it will become rusty and it will not look as good anymore. Similarly, if you forget about your gifts during hard times then they will start to lose the beauty you’ve reflected in them.
I have started writing more than ever now. I must admit, some of it is utter rubbish and borderline embarrassing but some of it I’m actually really proud of. I’m starting to believe I’m more in tune with the Chinese New Year (31st January) than the Irish one as my revelation appears to be in line with their date! My confidence is rising slowly. I’ve got this image in my head that my confidence is displayed in a bar like what you see on your phone to depict it’s battery level. My aim is to fill this bar and reach my full confidence snd full potential. Honestly, it’s a little bit scary to put your words and yourself out there but my method to combat this is to replace the word fear with adrenaline. Alow your adrenaline to be your guide.
The lesbian community are a powerful one. Rely on them for support. I’ve taken the first steps towards being who I want to be thanks to some people I’ve met in our community. Some of these people I do not know personally but even professional contacts can play their part if you reach out and grab onto their lifeline. Lesbian is not just an orientation. It is a culture and it’s a community full of hope.
Pride season is well and truly underway here in Ireland. Dublin welcomed an estimated 30,000 for it’s annual LGBTQ Pride Festival which was fantastic! With a Pride Festival taking place all over Ireland and probably somewhere near you it is really an exciting time of year to celebrate our true colours. With the Constitutional Convention (http://www.marriagequality.ie/getinvolved/constitutionalconvention) looming it is a time when we may finally gain full recognition in our country. This is a very progressive time to be part of the great rainbow but in my opinion it is also a time when it is more important than ever to remember our roots and remember all of those who have fought so hard to get us to where we are today. Pride is a celebration for all but it is also a tribute to the hardships that LGBT people have faced and are continuing to face on a daily basis. For every insult you have ever received and for every punch you have ever taken make sure you shout louder when you are marching through the streets in whichever Pride parade you choose to visit this year. We’ve gotten so far now that it would be such a pity to see people disheartened by the ignorance of some. Be true to yourself and you will never have regrets. So many people are still ashamed of their sexuality which is so upsetting to see. Like the great American Harvey Milk once said “Hope will never be silent”. There are more people on our side than you can imagine. It is no longer an us against them movement. It is now a nationwide fight for the equality of all. Never give up and never hide who you are to please others. If you choose to hide you are allowing yourself to lose out on so much happiness.