I’m sure most of you have already heard but I just thought I’d put up this post regardless. Today, the 23rd of May, marks the start of a bright new future for Ireland. The majority of voters said “Yes” to same sex marriage and it feels absolutely wonderful. I woke up this morning and was still unequal but by four o’ clock all of that changed.
People of all ages came out in full force to support this referendum. It was my first time voting and I feel so proud to have made history alongside my fellow voters. My civil partner and I went out canvassing for marriage equality and were met with such mixed reactions that I really didn’t know what result to expect today. Doors were slammed in our faces and we were told by some people that they would be voting “No” to our equality.
The strangest reaction we received was from one gentleman who confidently told us that gay and lesbian people do not exist. Apparently, according to this guy, lesbians are ugly women who can’t get a man and gay men are just guys who don’t have the courage to speak to women. Obviously.
Over the past few days I’ve felt such a mixture of emotions. Seeing the pictures of people returning home from other countries, making the journey home from college and work and going out to vote both alone and with their families has really moved me. Such support is overwhelming and I will never forget how I felt when the results were announced. My partner and I had our civil partnership almost four years ago and have always felt, in a way, like we were married but now this is different. This is not in our minds or in our hearts. This is our love given the validation it deserves. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Recently I have found myself in a number of different work places through education, training and volunteering. The one thing these places all have in common is the fact that they all come with a certain amount of small talk. This small talk revolves around family life, nights out and general interests. You know, the usual stuff. My problem is that I’m struggling to decide either I should come out in these work environments to be honest. It’s not necessary for them to know but even a simple question like “What did you do at the weekend?” has the potential to make you squirm when there’s something you don’t want to reveal.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally out usually and would never lie about my sexuality. I’ve even appeared in a local newspaper in relation to my sexuality! Being out and proud is not the question here – being accepted is. I’m afraid that if I come out in these work places that I may not be granted the same opportunities as others. Is that silly or justified? In Ireland religion still rules a lot of work places attitudes however with the marriage equality referendum in full swing it’s becoming apparent that a lot of people are completely for the equal treatment of same sex couples. It’s easy to come out in a work place which has policies in place that protect LGBT people against discrimination and prejudice. These work places automatically promote equality for all of their staff.
When the people in these workplaces are casually mentioning their families and husbands or wives I’m unsure either I should too. If I met the same people outside of these environments I would absolutely come out to them without hesitation but it feels like I’ve more to lose here. I think that I’m worried partially about being treated unfairly but also about being stuck volunteering in close proximity with someone who may develop ill feelings towards me because of my sexuality. I guess that’s their problem, not mine, but I just want to avoid any hassle.
I would love to tell them all about my wonderful relationship and about the happiness it brings to my life. My other half means the world to me and it upsets me that it isn’t easy for me to share every part of my life with everyone. If the marriage referendum passes with a yes vote then I would love to shout my joy from the rooftops and tell everyone how happy I am to now be able to marry the person I love and have the same rights as a heterosexual couple. I know that a workplace is a professional environment and revelations sbout my personal life shouldn’t be a concern at all but others can freely do it. Can I? What are your experiences with coming out at work?
I’ve been reading a lot recently about people struggling with their sexual orientation and finding it difficult to come to terms with everything that accompanies coming out. I decided to tell you a little about what helped me…
Has being a lesbian changed who I became? Maybe it has. Did coming out mean that people treated me differently? Perhaps. I hate to sound like a constant ray of positivity because, believe me, I’m not but I have learned from my experiences so I want to help you all learn too. A few months after I came out I went to an event in Galway that had dozens of LGBT people, both young and old, there. It was strange but exciting to be thrown into this massive crowd of people that were about to surround me for the next two days. It was that weekend that changed everything for me. I was sixteen and in the presence of LGBT teens, adults, hotel staff and youth workers. I was amazed! The then President of Ireland even made an appearance. I hugged the lovely Mary McAleese while trying my damn best not to whack her with the crutches I had to use at the time. It was just my luck that I sprained my ankle the night before this trip. I have a habit of visiting A&E before most of the big events in my life… Murphy’s Law, I suppose? We exchanged coming out tales, had a laugh together and I even kissed a girl and had to totally agree with Katy Perry. The most interesting thing was that we were all at totally different stages of coming out so we could all inspire each other in different ways. Despite what their friends, parents, peers, colleagues or anyone else had said they were still here to say that life got better. Many of them even told me that they felt that being gay actually made them stronger.
What I learned from the experience was that… stereotypes in our little gay world are not as common as you’d think; they are just more visible, our community can often be overwhelmingly supportive and we are a very fashionable bunch! The best thing, for me, was that I returned home with a whole new group of friends and a new outlook on life. There’s something empowering about seeing that people are genuinely happy being lesbian, gay, bi, trans or whatever they may be. It’s almost like seeing proof that it’s okay to be you. We don’t all get to go on a big gay weekend but consider this blog and WordPress itself to be your one! Here we are all different ages, from different countries and have been through different things in our lives but we all share the unity of sharing the LGBT umbrella. It’s definitely okay to be LGBT and it’s never something you need to change. It’s simply you. I saw so many people happy in their own skin and I see that here too. I really do feel for the people who are struggling with their identity but at the same time I want to emphasise that it really can and does get better. I struggle with a lot of stuff but my identity is luckily no longer an issue for me. Feel free to comment with your thoughts, experiences or problems. I love hearing from you all!
As a younger lesbian. I was unashamedly flattered when someone expressed an attraction towards me. It felt amazing to know that someone was interested in me and that I was the person on their mind. Recently, however, it was said to me that many lesbians just develop a crush on the lesbians they encounter simply because they are a new conquest. Basically this person believes that lesbians have an uncontrollable desire to follow this kind of a pattern…
1). They zone in on their latest prey.
2). They obsess relentlessly over this person.
3). They kiss/ have sex with/ date this person.
4). Then move onto the next person with great ease.
5). They don’t spare a second thought to said person ‘cos real feelings for them never existed.
WHAT??!! Is this true girls? I’ll admit, I was the type of person who tried not to become invested in relationships because I was afraid of being hurt but this concept just seems unbelievable to me. Do any lesbians actually actively pursue such a lifestyle even throughout adulthood? I hope I’m not coming across as judgemental. I just wanted to know if people do this often because we all want to settle down sometime or at least be in a concrete relationship so how does one follow the above steps with such determination for a long period of time? Fun is fun and a crush can be short or long lived. That’s fine. Relationships, one night stands, random kisses, they are all a part of life and growing up and I get that. What I don’t get is how someone can be so immune to love and heartbreak. I was once happy to kiss anyone that I had even the slightest attraction to because it was ‘just a kiss’ and I made it clear that it would not go further than that and develop into ‘something more’. Does that mean I even partially took part in the lesbian ritual of unemotional encounters or was it just a part of growing up? There should be a handbook on this stuff. I may have been the object of someone’s affection or I may have been simply a target. Sounds like such a strange theory.
Any thoughts on this? Do you know of anyone who indulged in such behaviour or have you done it yourself? Do you have a crush on anyone right now?