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.
Last week I found myself in a new course which, of course, equalled to coming out all over again. It’s a natural part of my life as a lesbian but it can be a little bit of an intimidating task when you know you’re going to be in the same class as these people for the next few months. I’m way too proud of who I am to let anyone else change that but you don’t want any hassle either. I’m sure most of you can relate to that.
I let it drop into casual conversation that I have a wife (civil partner) which surprised a lot of people. Why were they surprised? Because I’m a lesbian? Nope! It was actually because I’m so young. I’m 22 but I’m often told that I look younger. The fourth anniversary of our civil partnership is in September which was even more shocking to them. They were impressed by our dedication to each other at such a young age in these modern times and were genuinely happy for us because we have found true love. The fact that my true love is a woman was irrelevant.
Receiving such warmth and acceptance from these people really made me look forward to a future where those kind of responses are the norm. They were actually so accepting that they made me feel like there was actually nothing to accept in the first place. I was not seeking equality in their eyes because to them I’m already equal. Pretty cool, right?
Just wanted to pop up a short post to let all of my followers all over the world know exactly what’s been happening here in Ireland for LGBT people. In case you didn’t already know, on May 22nd a public vote will be held regarding marriage equality. Campaigners are working hard at the moment in the hopes that the yes side will win and the no side are working equally as hard. Some amazing videos have been uploaded in the hopes that we’ll be able to appeal to the public to vote yes. I, like so many other LGBT people and allies, am desperately hoping that history will be made in May.
In 1993 homosexuality was decriminalised in Ireland so, really, we’ve come a long way since then but we still have so much more to achieve. Check out one of my favourite marriage equality promotional videos below and keep your videos crossed for us!
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.
She gasped. Her heart started beating faster and her eyes were glowing. Happiness shot through her body as she got high from the power of the moment. She’s more excited than she ever could have imagined. This moment should last forever. This feeling is so good it should be bottled and sold she thinks to herself. Then she looks through the crowd of people and sees her. Everyone else surrounding them begins to evaporate slowly. The vision of beauty gracefully moves towards her. Each step she takes is breathtaking. Her short hair is shining as the gleam of sunshine coming through the sparkling clear windows hits it. The vision of beauty finally stops beside her and they embrace warmly. This is what she’s been waiting for. This is amazing. They grab each others hands instinctively and look forward simultaneously. The woman in front of them smiles brightly and her words wash over them like a warm wave on a cold winters day. This is the start of their time, their ceremony. They are getting married and this is the beginning of a promising and hopeful future. This is what love is all about and everyone deserves the chance to savour the brilliance of true love and commitment.