datbeardyman

Less about the world, more about me.

Month: April 2015

Kerryman Letter re Marriage Equality

As appeared in Letters – The Kerryman – 29 April 2015 edition

It’s difficult to steer any conversation about Marriage Equality away from a discussion about children. This can be frustrating for those of us who support Marriage Equality, as it’s obvious only adults can get married. Truth be told however, those of us who support equality, have more than a passing concern for children and how they will be affected by this referendum.

We are concerned about those thousands of gay and lesbian children watching this campaign unfold. Watching as their desires and aspirations to one day marry and perhaps have children, are compared with incest, child abuse and bestiality. Hearing calls that they submit to a life of pitiful chastity. Being further reminded, that to many they are, and should remain, second class citizens.

We are concerned about the thousands of children who are being raised by a gay parent or parents. As they hear their parents described as unworthy and unsuitable for marriage. As they hear their families described as inferior. As they hear themselves described as disadvantaged. This, despite all the scientific evidence available, which shows their families to be the equal of all others.

We are concerned about all those gay children who are being raised in a nation that stigmatises homosexuality to the extent that gay and lesbian children experience self-harm, suicide, mental-illness, homelessness, poor education, substance abuse and unemployment to a much higher degree than their straight brothers and sisters.

We are concerned about all the straight children being brought up to see their gay and lesbian peers as deviant and lesser. All those straight teens experiencing the confusion of puberty, who are given licence to shield their fears by attacking anyone different.

We are very concerned about children. We would see them shielded from the ugliness of this campaign. But we know, and it breaks our hearts that we know, the vile things being said in opposition to Marriage Equality, are the daily experiences of many gay and lesbian children. So yes, Marriage Equality is about children. It is but a small step towards the creation of a country that values gay and lesbian children as much as it does straight children.

Kerryman 29-04-15

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Kerryman Letter re Marriage Equality

As appeared in Letters – The Kerryman – 15 April 2015 edition
 
We are being asked to decide if gay and lesbian citizens should have the same right to marry as the rest of us. It’s remarkable we’ve got to this point. Homosexual acts were illegal in this country up to 1993. And now, a few short decades later, the LGBT community is on the cusp of equality. In the US, slaves were freed in 1863 but it took a full century for the government to begin passing legislation that granted African-Americans actual equality. Here, criminal class to near equality, in twenty years. Remarkable.
 
Off course, equality will be denied, unless a lot of straight people make the effort to get out and vote on May 22. And getting people to vote in referendums is becoming increasingly difficult. The country is in the state it’s in and we’ve lost faith in our politicians, so fewer of us feel any enthusiasm for the political process. And it’s hard to feel sympathy for others when paying bills, missing relatives who’ve emigrated and struggling to find a job is the overwhelming reality for so many of us now.
 
Add that to the distaste generations of us have been taught to feel towards gay people, especially gay men, and the temptation is certainly to sit this one out. Sure no one will be harmed. It’s not my fight. And aren’t there plenty of them in the Dáil now anyway.
 
It’s a strong temptation. How do I convince a middle aged man, his daughter having gone to Australia to find work, and him dodging phone calls from his Bank Manager because he can’t pay his mortgage, that his vote matters to a bunch of people he’s never met?
 
There are no magic words. I have no way of making his life better. So all I can do, is ask him to  consider the opportunity this referendum affords him and so many people like him. By simply voting yes, he will, with no more cost than a bit of time, help make the lives of thousands of men, women and children, that bit better. It’s an opportunity I hope we all grasp.
Kerryman 15-04-15

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