When something unspeakable happens, like the vicious homophobic rampage on Dame Street last week, we have to ask ourselves how we can support the LGBTQ+ community.
ruthless attacks are perpetrated by criminals and thugs. But violence does not arise in a vacuum. We are all products of our parents, our society, our time and our birthplace. But we can question our beliefs.
Nearly two-thirds of voters helped amend the constitution in 2015 to legalize same-sex marriage. The first state to do so by popular vote. To the 38 percent of people who voted against the change, this is for you.
Ahead of the marriage equality referendum, we were reminded that the LGBTQ+ community includes our mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
But despite this momentous cause for equality in Ireland, LGBTQ+ people here face horrific acts of violence and regularly report incidents of homophobia.
For far too long in Ireland people – and not just homosexuals – have hidden their true selves. Secrets fester in the dark shadows like a burned leg.
History has not been kind to those who oppose the march to racial and religious equality. Our capital’s main street is named after Daniel O’Connell, who marched into the Houses of Parliament demanding an end to the subjugation of poor Catholic farmers.
We are at a critical juncture to address discrimination based on sexuality. It is not enough to wait for an act of extreme violence to condemn homophobia.
We need to create a safe and supportive atmosphere. It’s mood music. It’s scene-making.
The lack of allies is an invitation to hatred.
Imagine sitting next to Rosa Parks after she refused to go to the back of the bus. Would you smile encouragingly or glare at her?
When all passengers smile defiantly at the malevolence of division, those who face discrimination will feel that support.
In the past, organized religion has been the harshest critic of “our brothers and sisters” – as Pope Francis has described the LGBTQ+ community. Homophobia has no place in Catholicism this Easter Sunday.
Earlier this year, Pope Francis urged parents of queer children to support them, not judge them. The Pope has recognized the importance of registered partnerships for the stability of health care and heritage.
As a white cisgender woman (the gender I was born) I am aware of my privilege to occupy the majority. I go to Tesco or for a BLT and I will see many others just like me. But underneath the layers of clothing and flesh, I’m just like my gay friends.
In life we have different struggles. To be an ally is not to be separate, but to recognize how our human hearts beat as one.
So how can we be an ally in a world full of enemies? It starts with listening. To people’s experience. To open our hearts to the challenges facing the Irish LGBTQ+ community today; what a lesbian mom might tell you about coming out in the noughties, or the transgender high school student whose teacher refuses to use her real name or pronoun. Hear the reports of verbal abuse, watch the fading bruises from a punch in the eye socket, and decide that enough is enough.
We all have a role to play as allies; Even if you ticked the “yes” box to amending the Constitution in 2015, there is still more you can do.
Don’t jump into conversation to defend straight people. keep listening Well-intentioned actions may not be perfect.
As a straight woman, I know my attempts at being an ally may not be universally welcomed, so I need to keep listening.
But first I have to try.
Be visible and speak up with your support. Maybe that means swapping out the local GAA club colors for the rainbow flag, or wearing it on a pin.
The next time you hear a homophobic joke or a transgender lawsuit, sipping your tea and looking out the window at the rose bushes isn’t enough. Set that person straight. ask her to go Support LGBTQ+ charities. Raise the most marginalized voices.
Being an ally means accepting the way people present or identify themselves, rather than examining anatomy like a Victorian naturalist with a stovepipe hat indicating appendages or the origins of a gland. We all want to be treated with dignity and respect.
In 1959, Martin Luther King said, “Make a career with humanity. Join the noble fight for equal rights.”
Let those words ring true in 2022.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/ticking-yes-wasnt-enough-be-vocal-and-visible-with-lgbtq-support-41560015.html Ticking yes wasn’t enough – be vocal and visible with LGBTQ+ support