Stand Up! – Don’t Stand for Homophobic Bullying

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This is an excellent video from  Belong To on Homophobia and bullying. Do watch it.

Irish anti homophobic bullying advertisement, created as part of BeLonG To Youth Services annual Stand Up! LGBT Awareness Weeks. The campaign promotes friendship amongst young people as a way to combat homophobic bullying.

For more information on the campaign please see:

Written & Directed by Anna Rodgers & Aoife Kelleher
Produced by Zlata Filipovic

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There are talks that an LGBT Awareness week will be happening in Cork in the lead up to the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO). When details emerge I will of course blog them.

Is the demand for Gay Marriage down?

This is a question no one is asking after LGBT Noise’s  March For Marriage on Sunday. In 2009 Over 3,000 people took part in that Year’s March For Marriage. This year the number is down to 2000 (Figure from Irish Times). That is compared to the 5,000 22,000 people took part in Dublin Pride Parade and the 100,000 who lined the streets of Dublin for Pride.

Why is this?

Is it people are willing to give the Civil Partnership Bill a chance? (Despite its ignorance of children)

Is it due to the general confusion about what the bill does? (I know I have been asked questions on this)

Is LGBT Noise actually on the sidelines on Gay Public Opinion?

Are people fed up of the Marriage Debate and want a quite life for a bit?

Who knows the real answer. But it will be interesting to see how this goes on.

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OpenFM Logo

Yesterday I met with Sam Lyons and Emma Carroll of OpenFM a temporary station that will be broadcast in Dublin over the pride season and will also be online.

The idea behind the station is to create an open space for discussion on LGBT issues, mental health issues and anything else. It wants to create a community space. It wants every one to be open. This is a laudable goal.

They have managed to recruit 72 volunteers who have come together to form the different teams that the station needs to operate. They have tapped into this network and hopefully it will pay off for them!

A look at schedule shows that it is not gay dominated which is something that I actually like about the station. The only definite gay show is Panti’s on a Sunday night and of course the day of the Pride Parade will see it covering the parade live which is a great idea and will bring the parade to those who can’t make it.

This idea hasn’t been tried in Ireland before. Though it does follow the successful model which was set by Christmas FM and Radio Rí Rá. This has been tried in Berlin, Melbourne and Manchester, but all those stations were “very gay”, while OpenFM promises only “a touch of gay” according to Sam. That is even demonstrated in the logo!
It is worthwhile to note that the station is completely voluntary and that in fact two charities have been selected to gain any of the money made from the venture. They are and GCN Forever.

It was interesting to see the logic behind the coupling up of Mental health with pride. And while speaking to Sam you could see the passion he has for this. He and Emma are right to link LGBT (especially youth) and mental health.

I wish OpenFM the best of luck!

They will be launching on June 13th and can be found at FM89.90 and of course online! You can keep up with them on facebook also!

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This is a “momentous” piece of Legislation

Marriage by jcoterhals on Flickr
Image by jcoterhals on Flickr

Last night I attended the GLEN briefing on the Civil Partnership Bill, hosted by the Cork Gay Project and It was a very interesting meeting and I certainly learned a lot! We were given a 3 booklets on the Bill and I am currently working my way through them and they are fascinating. The speakers were Eoin Collins, Director of Policy Change at Glen and Dr Fergus Ryan, head of Law at DIT.

A few things struck me last night during the talks by the speakers. One of those was what they called this bill. They called it “momentous”, “profound”, “substantive” and “the biggest change to family law”. A few other things that caught me were that we must “accept progress along the way” (that’s directed at you Marriage Activists) and that we need to focus on “whats in the Bill” (I got flashbacks to the Lisbon Campaign when that was said).

We are going to get this bill whether we like it or not. But this bill will do a lot for Gay and Lesbian Couples (or same-sex couples as they are called). The bill will confer rights and obligations that are equivalent to marriage. It will help to equal the playing field between same-sex couples and opposite sex couples, who at the moment, even if unmarried are better protected under Irish Law.

Just a quick note, remember that the Civil Partnership scheme in the Bill only applies to same-sex couples, while the presumptive cohabitation scheme will apply to both same-sex and opposite sex couples.

So a quick did you know about the Bill.

Did you know you don’t need to be Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual to enter into a Civil Partnership?Under the bill at it stands the Civil Partnership must be between two people of the same sex and not related (ie: Father and son, or brothers etc)

Did you know you have to take vows under the bill? Under the bill a Civil Partnership Ceremony must take place in public in front of two witnesses and vows must be said.

Did you know Divorce (dissolution) is easier for a Civil Partner? Under the bill to get a dissolution you must be living separatelyfor two out of previous three years. To get a Divorce under marriage you need to living separately for four of the previous five years. There is also no clean break in a Gay Divorce, just like in a Straight Divorce.

There are a few distinctions without a difference between Marriage and Civil Partnerships but legally there is not a whole heap of difference.

But Tax, Social Welfare and Immigration aren’t dealt with in the Bill!

And rightly so. If Tax and Social Welfare were dealt with in this bill it would have to be certified as a money bill. This means the Seanad would have only 21 days to look at the bill and the Dáil can over rule it a lot easier. It is important that the bill is being dealt in the way that is. Provision will be made under the Finance Bill and Social Welfare Bill to make changes.

As for immigration, there is a bill dealing with immigration currently before the Oireachtas. This can easily amended to provide for Same-sex couples.

What is wrong with the Bill?

The bill does have a number of deficiencies. It does not deal with children adequately nor does it deal with citizenship. These can be remedied through the stages of the bill in the Oireachtas and Senators David Norris and Ivana Bacik have committed themselves to putting an amendment on Children forward.

What is right with the bill?

The bill will give more rights in the following ares:

  • Shared Home
  • Visitation Rights
  • Succession
  • Maintenance
  • Equality (introduction of Civil Status)
  • Domestic Violence
  • Right to sue for Wrongful Death
  • Pensions
  • Ethics
  • Tenancy

The bill will amend over 130 pieces of legislation. It will allow the law to play a role when people need it most, on illness, separation and death.

This bill is needed now. It would be cruel to dismiss it for something that we might get further down the line. That is the problem we don’t know when, we don’t how, and we think a referendum will be needed. Could you imagine the COIR posters if there was a referendum on Gay Marriage??

This is one of the biggest reforms of family law to be undertaken in Ireland. Hopefully this bill will start a train of reform in Irish Family Law, which is sorely needed!

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Cork Info Night on the Civil Partnership Bill


GLEN (Gay & Lesbian Equality Network) is coming to Cork.


Information Event!

Informing The Debate On Legal Recognition

Cork Gay Project & L.inC are hosting an information session on the Civil Partnership Bill.

Date: Thursday 15th October

Venue: Cork Gay Project, 8 North Mall

Time: 7pm

Contact: Cork Gay Project on 021-4304884 or L.inC on 021-4808600


I’m thinking of heading along. Could be interesting.

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A Gay Weekend in Ireland

There were two events held over the weekend involving the Gay Population in Ireland. One was a great success, the other a waste of time.

Lets start with the success, Northwest pride held an event in a town called Easkey. The village in Co. Sligo has a population of 250 and it went gay for the day with local people and businesses taking part in the event. Reading the coverage in the Guardian though really brought it home for me about how much rural Ireland has changed, and changed for the better.

What really sent that home was the quotes from a few of the locals such as this one from Michael Gordon who manages the village shop

“Gay people are the same as every body else.” He has lived in Easkey all his life, helped rebuild two churches in the area and knows everyone in the town. “Ireland is a tolerant place now, thank God,” he said. “Rural Ireland has grown up.”

Or this one from a local mother Linda O’Dowd

“I have no idea if any of my kids are gay, but I would totally support them,” she said. “I don’t see anything wrong with it whatsoever.

Fair play to Easkey, but they do prove their point.

Now the second event, the LGBT Noise march in Dublin which saw 5,000 people marching for Gay Marriage. Why bother? I mean we have a civil partnership bill that will be passed, shouldn’t we be focusing on that making sure that it is the best possible, rather then focusing on this pie in the sky aim, that isn’t going to happen anytime soon?

We have to be realists, we have to get on with it. Why scrifice what we can have now, for what we might get in ten years when there is polical will for it? We can still get it in future, but why sacrifice what we have in front of us?

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Who Represents Me?

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 10:  Rainbow fla...
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Yesterday I was invited to become “a fan” of yet another Irish LGBT group. This time it was EQUALS, which is a direct action group.

Everyone seems to think that every LGBT person supports LGBT Noise, EQUALS, Marriage Equality etc, but we don’t.

Firstly lets look at LGBT Noise. They have the T in their for Transgendered yet I never heard them ever calling for a change in the law in relation to Transgendered issues. So they are a single issue group focused on Gay Marriage.

Secondly all these groups are trying to create awareness and create pressure. Pressure only works where their is some political will. In Ireland in the two major parties, there is no will for Gay Marriage. So in this Government and the next, and maybe the one after their will be no chance of Gay Marriage.

To be honest I don’t want Gay Marriage. And I am not alone. I updated my facebook status to the following

People please stop suggesting that I become a fan of EQUALS cause I wont…

A fairly reasonable request in my opinion. The comments showed plenty of people thought I was wrong to think that. An argument about Gay Marriage ensued and what it actually showed to me was how strong headed Gay Marriage Activists are. They will not tolerate dissent from within the “gay ranks”.

This is why the Gay Marriage cause will not succeed. If the cause itself is not willing be broad and accept criticism, and stop comparing this “struggle” with apartheid and religious discrimination they might actually get somewhere and get the backing of those withe the LGB community not so pushed about gay marriage. (Note I left out the T on purpose)

If the campaign cant convince those it has something in common with, how is it to convince those against it?

Chaining yourself to the Dáil, ripping up Bills may get you some attention, but will it change anything? No.

I think the LGB community need to adopt a strategy like the one adopted by GLEN. They think the bill in general is good, but needs improvement. That’s what I think. This bill glaringly leaves out anything to do with children. That needs to be sorted. Some will argue that Gay Marriage will sort that straight away, but its time to smell the bacon and get real, that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

So with all these LGBT Groups that are out their that claim to represent me, you don’t. I know I am not alone on this. Friends have agreed with me, both straight and gay that they think that Civil Partnerships is the way to go for now. So why don’t we concentrate on getting the Bill we having coming to the Oireachtas the best one we can, rather then trying to argue for something we won’t get.

So those who want Gay Marriage, please think of us who don’t. You could be loosing an ally. Try to engage rather then argue. Then you might get us onside.

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Marriage is an antiquated, failing institution based on inequality and traditional roles.

Protesters in San Francisco campaign for marri...
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The above title is a quote from Mark Simpsons article on Gay Marriage on Comment is Free in today’s Guardian. In his article “Gay people don’t need marriage” he argues that gay marriage “zealots” have gotten carried away and need to look at what the majority agree with. As he points out Civil Unions which giver nearly the same rights as marriage, for example Civil Partnerships in the UK, have the backing of “liberal and conservative, secular and religious, metropolitan and rural America”.

He calls it “side-stepping this endless, unsightly domestic”. And he is right. LGBT Noise can protest all day long and give the Government red cards, but whats the point if marriage is not the answer, and it certainly isnt. They are wasting their breath and causing unnecessary division within the Gay Community and those that are broadly supportive of the gay community. Its time we brought them onside and campaigned for something achievable

Its nice when you find someone who agrees with you

(Hat Tip: The Irish Left Review)

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LGBT Noise – A Change of Message?

From Suzy’s Blog:

Next week sees another protest from LGBT Noise giving the Government the red card and calling for Civil Marriage. The turn out at the last rally was dissappointing and I’ve noticed a slight shift in the plugs to get those who don’t want to marry themselves to support the cause. Wonder would it ever work the other way?

Now last Wednesday I met one of the LGBT Noise activists in a pub, and when I mentioned my opposition to the whole gay marriage thing there nearly was an argument (we decided not too as it was a pub). But again, people seam to react to my opposition gat marriage rasies heckles and for some reason people can’t seem to respect my views on it.

They keep going on about rights and things like that and I point out that the state choses to recognise some relationships, but they dont have to call marriage. I am perfectly happy with Civil Unions/Civil Partnerships/Blueberrysherbets/What ever you want to call them.

While reading the comments on Suzy post I found myself agreeing with someone I normally dont, and that was Ian McGahon, in his comment he said

1; The political will to bring in marriage for gay and lesbian couples is not there in Ireland – out of 166 TDs I would guess that 50 would support it (total guess – no basis for guess)

2; I feel that there are couples who need rights – economic, social, political and these rights could be legislated for tomorrow but we don’t seem to consider these people – groups like LGBT Noise disregard many people; those who do not want to marry, those who badly need any form of legal recognition tomorrow

I fully agree with these points. Its not going to happen anytime soon and while we keep blathering on about Gay Civil Marriage these people are losing out.

We need Civil Unions now, not Gay Marriage next year.

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The English Catholic Church – Moving with the times?

LONDON - JANUARY 06:  Churchgoers crowd the ai...Image by Getty Images via DaylifeAfter the recent did he mention it or didn’t he mention speech by the Pope it is good to see that the English Catholic Church is moving with the times according to Bishops in England have sent out leaflets urging priest not to use ‘heterosexist’ language in church.

Priest have been told not assume that all Church goers are heterosexual. “Remember that homophobic jokes and asides can be cruel and hurtful – a careless word can mean another experience of rejection and pain,”. It is good that part of the Church is waking up to how it talks about part of its congregation.

Of course no everyone is happy with this. Lynette Burrows, a Catholic commentator, describes the move as ‘pitiful’. She said it was ridiculous that Church leaders appeared to be ‘ grovelling’ to a secular agenda.

‘It is things like this that are enfeebling the Church at the moment – the concentration on things that don’t matter and missing the things that do,’ she said.

‘What is pitiful as well as demeaning is that the Church is running after homosexual opinion but nothing is going to make homosexuals like the Catholic Church.

‘This is because the Catholic Church teaches that homosexuality is a disorder and whatever the bishops say will not change that.’

Of course this isn’t a secular agenda. This is how the Church reacts to its member. Fair play to the Bishops in my opinion. It is about time the Church addressed it followers on this and actually supported them.

This post actually gives a nice follow in for me to introduce an interesting site for Lesbian and Gay Christians, LGBT Christians. Their aim is to “bring Christ to those who have been alienated by those organisations that claim to be his Church and claim to preach his love and yet through ignorance and misconception preach not love to Gods lesbian, gay and bisexual children” and “seek to create an atmosphere of understanding between those who think that homosexuality has no place in Christs Church and those who think they do”

To quote John 13:35

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Do check them out.

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