Coming out - by Cathal McGuigan
For many, Pride is a very important time of the year, being a time when the visibility of the LGBT community can bring hope to many people struggling with themselves, as well as reminding us of how far we have come as a community since the days of Stonewall, and even since the Asher’s bakery incident. Pride is a time that reminds us to be proud of who we are, and that even in the North of Ireland there is still massive support for LGBT rights.
However, despite the general acceptance the LGBT community faces from wider society, due to archaic laws that ignore basic human rights, same sex couples are still unable to proclaim their love publicly through marriage. This can be seen as one of the many ways in which partition has hurt the people of the North, as same sex couples in the South of Ireland are able to express their love through marriage.
Politicians who are meant to represent us view the LGBT society as an abomination, or to paraphrase Iris Robinson, “worse than child abuse”, while Arlene Foster wrote to the Scottish Government in 2015 to urge ministers to block same sex couples from the North from going to Scotland to convert civil partnerships to marriages. Gay men are still prohibited from giving blood. In the land of the Conscience Clause, the LGBT community suffers under people who view modern day issues from the moral standpoint of the Stone Age.
39% of LGBT people have experienced homophobic attacks, as well as our LGBT youth facing bullying at school, and having to seek medical help as a result of depression, self-harm and suicidal thoughts. The Trans community also faces heightened issues of homelessness on account of unaccepting families and communities as well as gatekeeping from necessary treatment.
We Republicans have been brought up on the ideals of cherishing every child of our nation equally. As Republicans we feel the pain of our LGBT comrades languishing under political Unionism which would seek to make us hide, and the British government which aides and abets the DUP in prolonging this suffering. We must stand with the community to make a better and accepting Ireland for all its children.
- Cathal McGuigan