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Consign homophobia to history, urges ex-Irish president Mary McAleese

Homophobia Not AllowedJeff Dudgeon MBE, is part of the history of Northern Ireland, and with his court case made the case for homophobia to be abolished in N Ireland.  Unfortunately until 1982 it was still a crime to be a homosexual in Ulster, indeed people were still persecuted under other laws for being gay, and their lives destroyed by what can only be called vindictive police cases which should never have ended up in court subsequent to this repeal.

Today, liFe has improved, but there are still problems; only within the last two weeks was a gay man attacked for challenging two men passing by who called him’queer’ and other words.

People are regularly still harassed in their homes. and probably more worrying is that fact that being young and gay is still open to abuse in schools, colleges and universities.

This is not acceptable in today’s world, and the more that we stand up against any form of persecution the more we as human beings earn the right to be called ‘human’.

Homophobia Not Allowed

President Barack Obama talks with Irish President Mary McAleese during a courtesy call in the Drawing Room of the President’s residence in Dublin, Ireland, May 23, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Mary McAleese has said homophobia should be consigned to history in Northern Ireland.

Source: Consign homophobia to history, urges ex-Irish president Mary McAleese – BelfastTelegraph.co.uk

The Riders by Tim Winton

Publisher: Picador; Reprints edition

The Riders by Tim Winton

The Riders by Tim Winton

This book was short-listed for the Booker Prize in 1995, and has been praised by many critics.  I found it irritating and inconclusive.  It starts brilliantly, but the … Fred Scully, the main character, leaves his home in Australia, to make a new home in Ireland.  His wife and child are to follow.  The shack he has bought, has to be rebuilt, which he proceeds to do, with the help of workmen.  This is November, when the weather is shocking!

He goes to Shannon to meet his wife and daughter, but the child turns up alone, and is so confused that she is unable to tell him anything.  A telegram arrives saying all will be explained, but there are no developments.

He doesn’t report his wife missing, or check at Heathrow – a child of seven and a half would have had to be put in the charge of a stewardess if travelling alone, for any reason.  As he and his wife had lied for some time in the Greek Islands, he decides to go there, but no one has seen her.

Has she gone off with another man?

 

 

He travels through Italy, where they also spent some time, hoping he will find a reason for her behaviour.  One woman he meets, to whom he shows his wife’s photograph, says she has seen her in a hotel in Amsterdam.  He heads there.

By this time, the child is coherent, but he never questions her.  Why Not?  He receives a telegram to met his wife in the Tuileries Gardens, in Paris.  He goes there at the appointed time, but she does not turn up.  How did she know where he was?  Why did he not trace the origin of the telegram?

He eventually goes back to Ireland with his daughter, wondering did he ever really know his wife.  He still doesn’t contact the police, or try an official way to find her.

Tim Winton writes well, but this story leaves too many questions unanswered.

Marriage referendum debated live on UTV Ireland

Representatives of both sides of the marriage referendum coin discussed the issues live on UTV Ireland on Monday in the first of a series of referendum debates this month.

Marriage referendum debate one

Videos (3)

News anchor Alison Comyn explored both Yes and No vote arguments from representatives of Mothers and Fathers Matter, Yes Equality, Stand Up for Marriage and Labour LGBT from UTV Ireland’s Cork studios on Monday.

On May 22, the electorate will be asked to vote on the proposal to add a new clause to Article 41 of the Constitution: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.”

Mothers and Fathers Matter spokesperson Margaret Hickey and Stand Up for Marriage chairman Barry Jones represented the No side on Monday’s debate.

Ms Hickey said: “Marriage in Article 41 is described as the foundation on which the family is structured, so if you change the definition of marriage which you are doing in a very fundamental way by taking it from a gender-based instruction to a gender-less institution, you are going to obviously profoundly change the constitutional understanding of parenting and family.”

Mr Jones added: “If it does go through, what will happen is that the definition of marriage will be changed and if that is changed, because of the way the Constitution is written, then family will be changed.

“The definition of family, or what it means, will be changed and if it is changed that means the fundamental building block of society, society will change but if it changes artificially it has to give rise to trouble,” he added.

Yes Equality’s Joe Noonan and Catherine Clancy from the Labour Party’s LGBT group were proposing a Yes vote.

Mr Noonan said: “Civil partnership is something that is understood by family lawyers. Marriage is understood by everybody and everybody should be entitled to marry subject to the law and that is what we are voting on.”

Ms Clancy added: “This referendum is a one liner and all you are being asked is do you agree that same sex couples can marry. In Ireland alone we have 220,000 gay or lesbian citizens – the population of cork is 120,000 people – so that is near double the population of Cork city.

“What we are saying is on May 22 to go out and give those 220,000 people, if they wish, the right to marry the same as you or me and anybody else and to have that recognition for their relationship.”

Meanwhile, former Cork Hurler Conor Cusack said a Yes vote would send out an important message.

“I just think that we had the decriminalisation of homosexuality some years ago and I think this referendum is another stepping stone on that long road to equality, because it is not about wanting to be treated as less than or more than anyone else. It is about wanting to be treated equally,” he said.

In recent years, both Conor and his brother Donal Óg came out as gay.

“I know for people out there there is a load of fear and worry around this but ultimately what this comes down to is the things that bind us all as human beings. It is a desire to be loved and to be able to love,” Conor added.

However, First Families First argue that a Yes vote will radically change the legal meaning of family and parenthood. Their concerns centre on the wording of the referendum.

“Judges can only work with what they are being given and what they are being given is a complete change in the landscape of family law which is going to result with sadness. It is going to play out in a lot of tragedy for children and for their biological parents in the future,” said First Families First representative Kathy Sinnott.

Two gay couples also told UTV Ireland about their differing views on the upcoming referendum.

Paul Dalton, who entered into a civil partnership with his partner Des two years ago, said he is still unsure what to call his other half, which he says makes his relationship feel less important.

“For a lot of people, introducing him as my civil partner doesn’t make any sense. That language doesn’t translate. Not being able to introduce Des as my husband is very strange and very limiting.

“Our relationship is different and inferior. My father said recently, ‘when this is passed will your civil partnership be upgraded?’ He is 78 years old. He didn’t really knows what he was saying but I think it captures it,” explained Paul.

However, Keith Mills who is about to celebrate a one year anniversary with his partner, has a completely different opinion on the referendum and will be voting no.

“Ireland has transformed completely in the past number of years. We have gay ministers, business leaders, sportsmen, journalists, judges and it is terrific and we don’t need gay marriage.

“We have to think of the issue of surrogacy – giving same sex couples the right to marriage gives them the right to surrogacy. I look at the situation like Elton John and his partner bringing children into the world and excluding the mother and I’m very uncomfortable with that.

“I hope that the referendum fails and I will then campaign to put civil partnerships on an equal standing with the constitution so we have that diversity recognised forever and ever,” said Keith.

Monday’s discussion will be followed by a live debates on the Age of Presidential Candidates Referendum in Dublin on 12 May and in Galway on 18 May.

The series of referendum debates will cumulate with a final debate on the Marriage Referendum in UTV Ireland’s Dublin studio on 19 May.

UTV Ireland’s Referendum Debate Schedule:

11 May: Marriage Referendum Debate

Broadcast live from Cork on Ireland Live at 10pm

12 May: Age of Presidential Candidates Referendum Debate

Broadcast live from Dublin on Ireland Live at 10pm

18 May: Age of Presidential Candidates Referendum Debate

Broadcast live from Galway on Ireland Live at 10pm

19 May: Marriage Referendum Debate

Broadcast live from Dublin on Ireland Live at 10pm

23 May: Regular updates from the Ireland Live News team throughout the day, with a special edition of Ireland Live at 5.30pm

Irish Gay Marriage Vote: Bring Your Family With You

By The Gay UK, Apr 18 2015 06:47PM

A recent poll in Ireland found that 76% of adults believe that that same–sex couples should have a right to marry, now they just have to get them to the Polling Stations on May 22 to vote YES on the national referendum o marriage equality.

YouTube

YouTube

The Irish LGBT advocacy group BeLonG To Youth Services has produced a touching ad to make sure people get out and vote … We defy anyone to watch this and not start to get watery eyes.
If the referendum passes, (or hopefully ‘when’) the following line will be added to the country’s constitution: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.”
Share this video with anyone you know who may know an Irish voter.

John Boyne writes about his life and abuse

John Boyne: ‘The Catholic priesthood blighted my youth and the youth of people like me’

John Boyne, author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, grew up gay in Dublin. Now, after years of silence he is finally ready to write about sexual abuse within the church – and to talk about the effect it has had on his life

Republished from Irish Times Fri, Nov 7, 2014, 15:25

I’ve spent the past two years recalling experiences from my childhood and teenage years that I would rather forget, reliving events that should never have taken place and recreating through fiction moments that seemed small at the time but that I’ve come to realise caused me great damage. Which makes me think that the real reason I never wrote about Ireland until now is explained in the opening sentence of my novel:

“I did not become ashamed of being Irish until I was well into the middle years of my life.”

When I was growing up in Dublin in the ’70s and ’80s, the parish priest lived in the house to my left while eight nuns lived in the house to my right. I was an altar boy, went to a Catholic school and was brought to Mass every Sunday. I knew there were Protestants in Dublin, and Methodists and Jews and Mormons, but I never laid eyes on any of them, and probably would have run a mile if I had. They were going to hell, after all, or so the priests told us. And as long as we learned our catechism by heart and lived good Catholic lives, we were not.

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The importance of church life in my parish during this era cannot be overstated. For a family not to attend Mass would have been to invite immediate exclusion from social circles. To have a priest to dinner was the dream and, if it happened, preparations would take place for weeks in advance. They say the queen thinks the world smells like fresh paint. Well the priests did too. The whole house needed a makeover before he came for his tea. And yet, for all the sycophantic behaviour that went on, it was rare to find true believers. Everyone knew which priests offered the shortest Masses and the briefest sermons, and no one ever told the truth at confession. I remember thinking that if I said what was really going on in my head, I would probably be excommunicated, arrested or both. And so I did what everyone else did: I made stuff up. Ordinary, decent sins.

I was a quiet, shy and well-behaved child and yet somehow, whenever I found myself in trouble, it was with the priests. As an eight-year-old altar boy, I was so terrified by the consequences of having shown up for the wrong Mass that I broke down in tears on the altar and had to be carried off. It sounds funny now but I can still recall the absolute panic at what would happen to me. I don’t think I’ve ever been so frightened, before or since.

At 13, I had the misfortune to be taught by a sadistic priest who carried a wooden stick up his sleeve with a metal weight taped to the end of it. He called the stick Excalibur and once beat me so badly that I was off school for two weeks. The pleasure he took as I crumbled before him was obvious.

Another priest conducted “fair trials”, where a boy – often myself – would be brought to the front for some infraction, tried by his classmates, inevitably found guilty and have his pants pulled down in front of everyone for a spanking.

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But it wasn’t just the priests. Lay teachers, fully aware of the accepted practices of their religious employers, could also be responsible for unpleasant acts. A teacher stood over my shoulder as I worked and reached his hand down the front of my trousers, keeping it there long enough for him to get his kicks before moving on to the next boy.

These things and more happened all the time and we never uttered a word of protest. We felt they had the right to do what they wanted because they wore a collar. And they wonder now why my generation has so little respect for them.

Once puberty and an independent mind kicked in, I began to feel more hostility towards the church. It’s not easy to be a young, gay teenager and to be told that you’re sick, mentally disordered or in need of electroshock therapy, particularly when you hear it from someone who groped you on your way to class the day before. I doubt any of them understood how, as they preached love and practised hatred, they blighted my youth and the youth of people like me, leading to the most unhealthy and troubling relationships once I became sexually active.

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Problems I have suffered in my life with depression – which have been ongoing and multitudinous and chemically alleviated – I put down to the fact that my priests and educators made me feel worthless, and disparaged and humiliated me at every turn. Which is ironic, considering that in all other facets of my life I had an extremely happy childhood.

Throughout my youth, as Pope John Paul II travelled the world in luxury, playing on his popularity to reinforce concepts that were not only outdated but also destructive and harmful, he basked in the applause of young people while making sure to cover up every single crime that was committed against them. And still, in behaviour that beggars belief, tens of thousands of people, many of them under 30, poured into St Peter’s Square earlier this year to celebrate his sanctification. Where is their compassion? Where is their humanity? And the more scandals that came to light over the years, the more I grew convinced that there was not a single good man to be found among their number and the sooner they disappeared from our lives, the better it would be for all.

When I started publishing novels 15 years ago, I knew that I couldn’t write about this until I was experienced enough to do so. And then one day a relation told me that he had seen a young priest lying prostrate before the grotto of Inchicore church, weeping hysterically, while a woman – apparently his mother – sat nearby in equal distress. Why he was there, I do not know, but I found myself greatly affected by the image. Was he a criminal, I asked myself? Probably. But how had he suffered when he was young? What had brought him to this place of personal devastation? And to my astonishment, I began to feel something that I had never expected to feel towards a priest: empathy.

A novelist looks for the stories that haven’t been told. It would be very easy to write a novel with a monster at the centre of it, an unremitting paedophile who preys on the vulnerable without remorse. The challenge for me was to write a novel about the other priest, the genuine priest, the one who has given his life over to good works and finds himself betrayed by the institution to which he has given everything. In doing so, I was trying to uncover goodness where I had spent a lifetime finding evil.

I interviewed many priests who will not venture out while wearing their habits in case they are spat at; others who are terrified of finding themselves alone with a child in case they are wrongfully accused. Their pain, and their compassion for the victims of abuse, moved me and forced me to confront my own prejudices.

In writing this novel I hoped that those who blindly defend the church against all critics might recognise the crimes that the institution has committed, while those who condemn it ceaselessly might accept that there are many decent people who have lived good lives within it. It’s a story that Irish writers have for the most part ignored but it’s not written in defence of the church – indeed, by the end of it, the reader has to consider the narrator’s complicity in the events that were taking place before him – but nor is it an outright attack. It is simply a novel that asks people to examine the subject from a broader perspective and to reconsider the lives of all those who have suffered, both within and without one of the fundamental pillars of Irish society.

WHAT’S SPARKED THE CORK LGBT ATTACKS?

Reprinted from The Out Most:

 

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WHAT’S SPARKED THE CORK LGBT ATTACKS?

WE CAN’T KNOW WHETHER THE ‘CATFISHING’ ATTACKS IN CORK ON LGBTS ARE CONNECTED TO THE MARRIAGE EQUALITY VOTE, SAYS ROB BUCHANAN.

 

LGBT people in Cork have been the victims of violent attacks by homophobes using gay dating websites and apps to lure them. It appears the criminals are ‘cat fishing’ LGBT people, using fake profiles on popular dating sites like Grindr and Tinder. Locals in Cork believe the attacks are being orchestrated by the same group in Cork, and if so their activities will probably be known on some level to their friends, girlfriends and families.

While the majority of the reports are still anecdotal, and the motivation of the perpetrators has yet to be established, one thing is for sure: greater caution needs to be exercised by users of dating apps, not only in the Cork area but across the board. The safety of locations for meeting should be considered, along the level of intoxication you are under, before venturing out in to the unknown.

The nature of the beast is that people will continue to use apps out of necessity, despite the associated risk. The odds of us gays finding a one-night stand, let alone a partner, amongst the general public are statistically lower, given our numbers. Many of us don’t live near gay bars or it’s less than easy for us to identify compatible partners at mainstream venues. Dating Apps are sometimes the only way that isolated or shy LGBT people can make any connection at all with members of their community, even if they would never dream of using the resource for sex or dating.

Those of us lucky enough to live in a city with any kind of gay nightlife might still not want to meet people on the scene, and might feel that by using an app they are able to better screen potential partners. However, hook-up sites and apps only provide an illusion of control. They can provide a false sense of security and familiarity, and people tend to shockingly over-share their personal information, not only in chats but in their profiles. The parameters of profile pics are often stretched by even the most honest of users, so it certainly doesn’t take much for an attacker to willfully mislead and waylay someone in order to get a meeting.

Speculation on Facebook is already rampant that these attacks may be in some way connected to the upcoming marriage equality vote. But until

more information is known, or victims come forward, we cannot be certain. I would ask Outmost readers in the Cork area to please keep their eyes open, watch their friend’s backs and report any suspicious activity to the local Gardaí.

Son of lesbian moms in Ireland answers questions about his upbringing

The man opened up about his life on an online forum ahead of proposed legislative changes in Ireland around gay adoption and the country’s planned marriage equality referendum

© Slovegrove | Dreamstime.com

 

Ahead of the same-sex marriagereferendum planned to take place in Ireland in early May, LGBT issues are being widely discussed in this traditionally Roman Catholic country.

Last week, the Irish government also announced that it was pushing ahead with legislative changes to allow gay couples to adopt.

Amidst some of the more hysterical debate, an Irish man took to an online discussion forum – boards.ie – last week to discuss his own upbringing.

Now in his 30s, with a fiancé and children of his own, he simply invited other users of the forum to post whatever questions they might have – all of which he answered in a calm and measured fashion.

Although some of the questions may seem invasive, or even offensive, the poster – who identified himself as Sonics2K and lives in Cork – was happy to answer everything asked of him. He revealed that he was born to one of the women using the sperm of a gay friend.

Given the vehement opposition that some critics of same-sex marriage have towards LGBT issues – including parenthood – it’s important to promote and listen to the real-life stories of LGBT parents and their children.

Below, we’re posting a selection of the questions and his answers.

Neyite: Have you encountered bullying/ exclusion as a child?

Sonics2K: I was once or twice “bullied” for having two mothers, but it was really more of a “haha you have two mums” comment when I was about 9 years old. That was basically it. Frankly I was bullied more for having an English accent (I was born in London and moved home to Ireland when I was 9). I was bullied a little bit for being a dork too.

Honestly speaking, I was bullied a lot less than any overweight or ginger kid in my schools. I was never excluded from a group because of my parents’ sexuality.

Kids are jerks, we all know this. Kids are worse than grown ups when it comes to being really mean, and they’ll focus on anything to wind up another kid.

Eviltwin: Can I ask if you know your dad and if he is in your life at all?

Sonics2K: Absolutely fair question. In a word, no. I’ve never met him, but my parents told me all his details when I was about 12 or so and said if I wanted to track him down, that would be fine.

I’ve never really looked into it, from what my parents have told me, I do look very similar to him and that’s all I need or care about.

Dulpit: Did you parents ever sit you down and explain to you that their relationship is a little bit different to others?

Sonics2K: Yes, when I was about 7 or 8 my parents did sit down with me and did the whole birds and bees thing and told me how they were gay and some people were straight. I believe my answer was roughly along the lines of ‘Okay, can I go back out and play now?’

Because I was raised by a gay couple, there was nothing odd to me. And like my friends, I did not care about their parents’ sexuality. I was too busy climbing trees and throwing snails at girls.

Eviltwin: Do your mums want to get married? What would it mean for your family if that were possible?

Sonics2K: Well truthfully speaking, my ‘parents’ have separated a good while ago, but are now both in long term relationships.

However, I do know they have no real interest in getting ‘married’ as it were. They do believe of course that they should have the right to be married if they wish to do so.

floggg: Where there ever any situations or issues where you felt the lack of a male presence was a disadvantage? If so how did you over come them?

Sonics2K: Um, I guess maybe when I started to shave? My mother did teach me the basics, and frankly did a better job than my neighbor’s father!

But I started growing a glorious beard many years ago and hate to be clean shaven, aside from that, I truthfully can’t think of any time that I needed a male presence over either of my parents.

My biological mother played Rugby for Munster and Ireland, and even taught me the basics of Karate when I was a kid. I ended up taking a big interest in both in my teens thanks to that.

Strobe: just to follow up on the question on your father. Are you aware of the circumstances of how he came to be your father? As in, via registered sperm donation, or was it a private arrangement (as a favor for a friend, or?), or had he been intimate or involved in a relationship of any sort with your birth mother, etc?

Sonics2K: He was actually a very close friend of my biological mother. She’d asked him to be the father; frankly I never wanted to ask the nitty gritty details of how it was done! Bit gross!

It was agreed at the time he would have no direct influence on my life, but that I would be given his contact details should I ever wish to track him down. I have those details, but never really felt the need to do so.

No. 1 One Direction Fan: Did your non-biological mother have any rights to you as a parent? Say the worst happened and your biological mother had died, would she still have had the right to raise you?

Sonics2K: A very good question, and one that really should be getting asked a lot more. From any legal stand point, my “other” mother had no legal right to raise me in the event my biological mother died. In the eyes of the law, she was non-existent.

Big Nasty: Are you gay or straight yourself and do you think growing up with two women affected your sexuality / personality different to growing up in a conventional family?

Sonics2K: For the record, I am straight, have two children and am engaged. I do know gay children of gay couples, but probably less than gay kids of straight couples.

I wouldn’t exactly define myself as a bloke, not by any measure, but I’d be well into a good few sports, rugby and ice hockey are the mains, Top Gear and a manly love for boobies and certainly have a good few man skills too, all of which taught to me by my parents, may be with the exception of the boobies, but I guess that may work too!

The discussion has proved to be one of the most popular recent threads on the forum board. So much so that Sonic2K was invited – under his real name, Finbarr Murray – to participate in a discussion this morning on Today with Sean O’Rourke on RTE Radio.

Answering the host’s questions about his childhood, Murray said: ‘Growing up, I completely thought my life was normal in every single way… essentially my home life was exactly the same as my other friends.

‘What’s important is how you raise your child and how you treat them.’

– See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/son-lesbian-moms-ireland-answers-questions-about-his-upbringing270115#sthash.F66tak8i.dpuf

Ireland sets a date for gay marriage vote

Over two thirds of Irish people support same-sex marriage

Gay marriage vote set for Republic of Ireland.

Ireland has set a month for a referendum on marriage equality.

Groups both for and against same-sex marriage will rally as they prepare for the public vote in early May 2015. No specific date has been announced as of yet.

The issue was discussed today by Ministers at their final meeting before Christmas.

It comes as Scottish gay couples are finally able to get married today, following England and Wales earlier this year. There are currently no plans for Northern Ireland to pass same-sex marriage.

Independent Senator Katherine Zappone is campaigning to marry her partner Ann Louise Gilligan.

‘Confirmation that the referendum on same sex marriage is set to go ahead will be welcomed by all who have campaigned to bring us to this point,’ she said.

‘While it is right that we should acknowledge the importance of the cabinet decision and the hope it offers those in love and seeking love, we should also be mindful that there remains some distance to go.

‘The next stage is to see the wording of the proposal which will be put before people, as a public representative and social justice campaigner I will be working to ensure that it is clear, straightforward and fair.

‘Engagement with young voters is also key and I want to see the Government outline its plans to get them to use their right to vote and make history in 2015.’

She continued: ‘As we head to the New Year I would ask all who intend to get involved in this campaign to ensure that the public debate is conducted in a fair and open way with the language of respect rather than confrontation and division.

‘I look forward to 2015 with hope that when presented with the proposal in a proper manner that the Irish people will see what is just and right and vote accordingly.’

Support for same-sex marriage has been steadily growing over the last few months. In the last Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll, it found 71% supported marriage equality in Ireland

– See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/ireland-sets-date-gay-marriage-vote161214#sthash.cxiCFqIY.dpuf