In the run-up to Ireland’s Marriage Equality referendum on May 22nd, I’ve invited a series of guest posters– people from Ireland or who live here, of many different backgrounds and orientations- to share their thoughts on the referendum, the campaign, and what it means to them. Contributions to Guest Posts for Equality are welcome- drop me a message.
Cat McIlroy moved to Stockholm in 2013 to start a new life adventure with a Swedish person. Despite some bureaucratic frustrations and difficulties with the Swedish Migration Board and Tax Agency, life in Stockholm has revealed many wonderful new possibilities to live and love.
Over the past few months, I have been watching the Marriage Equality Referendum battles from the sidelines in Stockholm, reading online articles, comments and posts from friends. I travelled back to Dublin on Sunday for a number of familial reasons – birthdays, a surgery, and also very importantly, to vote.
On 12 August 2014, my partner, Ulrika, and I got married in New York. We had decided to go there for a holiday, planned to get the marriage licence, and do it quickly and easily the following day. It was just the two of us, with a friend, Maria, who acted as both our witness and photographer, along with all of the other couples waiting our turn.
I have to admit for the first 40 years of my life I was quite sure that I would never get married; it was not something that was on my horizon at all, not even something that I wanted or considered. But things change. I was Spouse A.
We were one of many queer couples to get married in the Manhattan Marriage Bureau that day. Slightly older dykes in jeans and matching waistcoats with rainbow-coloured roses in their lapels, their friends and families standing happily and proudly beside them – so touching to be there and be part of it all. And then it was our turn. Such a wonderful, memorable, surreal experience.
Our marriage is recognised in 37 states of the United States, and in a growing number of countries around the world, including Sweden, but not Ireland. There is still no legal recognition of trans* people in Ireland either. In fact, with the proposed gender recognition legislation, trans* people who are married or civilly partnered will be specifically excluded and prevented from being legally recognised. The on-going lack of recognition and respect for trans* people and our families is shameful.
This can change tomorrow.
I am Irish. I am trans*. And I am married.
It is time that my country recognises and respects that.