I just watched this video. And you should too.
Yes, there’s a very local Dublin story that sits behind this speech. But it’s also a universal story. A story about every gay man and woman who has wondered what it is – what precisely it is – about them that bigots hate.
I could be flippant and make jokes about style, music, taste… but I worry that would be falling prey to the same bigotry that you don’t have to look very far to find.
Recent speeches in the House of Lords here in London about equal marriage were prime examples. Gays being lumped together and viewed as some sort of worryingly negative influence on pure, straight society. Described as being “good with antiques” by people who influence the path of legislation in this country.
Sorry to point this out, but every gay man and woman is also a member of society. We work, learn, sleep, eat, commute and pay taxes just like the rest of you. And we deserve the same level of respect and protection you would afford anyone else. No more, no less.
As someone who left Dublin to move to London – for no other reason than postgraduate training – I can only imagine what kind of anger I’d feel if I’d been in this guy’s place.
And for straight, bigoted people from well-funded organisations to try and stifle his justifiable anger?
For RTE, the state broadcaster funded by Irish taxpayers, to hand over piles of cash to said organisations? Doubly so. Like Panti says – if you are actively trying to prevent equal status for gay men and women in the eyes of the law, then you are nothing but a homophobe.
Don’t act the injured party when you’re trying – hopefully in vain – to slow down the development of equal rights. Ireland is holding a referendum on same-sex marriage next year. Civil partnerships were introduced in 2010.
Yes, I’ve experienced my own fair share of homophobic nonsense. The vast majority from otherwise sensible people telling homophobic jokes when they didn’t know there was “a gay” in the room. I’ve never lost my job. I’ve never been physically threatened or attacked.
But having to ask…sometimes plead…for equal status under the law. Yes, that’s demeaning and it’s oppressive.
Please… watch this impassioned speech and think twice before you think it’s okay to deny someone their rights based on who they love.