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.
Eilís Ní Fhlannagáin has been active in radical trans women’s circles for the past two decades. Her activism focuses on trans women, their access to quality health care and employment, poverty, and transmisogyny within feminist communities. Her work has been mentioned in Mimi Marinucci’s “Feminism is Queer: The Intimate Connection between Queer and Feminist Theory”, as well as Sybil Lamb’s “How Not To Have A Sex Change”. She currently lives in Dublin where she is writing a book about starting an underground orchiectomy clinic. She blogs, very infrequently, at Hack Like A Girl.
Look. As an anarchist, I’ve got a really complicated view on voting. I think that voting for elected representatives just changes the face of the person holding your leash and that it pretty much changes nothing. I *never* vote unless it’s tactically advantageous to do so. I’ll vote as a method of harm reduction. I’ll vote to ensure that if two people with the same policies are running, but one is all likeable, to ensure the less likeable person wins (I like my fascists like I like my flirting. Obvious and direct.) I’ll vote on referendums that effect the lives of people in positive ways, even if it means participating in a system I hate and despise.
As a UK citizen living in Ireland, I can’t vote in the upcoming marriage referendum here. I’m not even a fan of the state being involved in people’s private relationships and like all the other stuff around the institution of marriage. Bah, right?
But, if I could, I’d vote, and I’d vote Yes. Not because of what it would achieve but to send a message to the No side that their views on queer people are fucked and that they’re losing this fight and that their conservative religious beliefs have no place outside of their church.
I’d do it to send a message to queer folks in this country that people do give a shit about them and that this society is becoming less fucked up around issues of sexuality.
I’d hold my nose and do it because, frankly, I don’t want to wake up on the 23rd and think of the queer kid who just got sent a message that more than half the country hates them. I wouldn’t be able to look at them and say “Sorry kid. I didn’t vote because . Thems the breaks.”
So, yeah. Even if you have complex feels about voting. Even if you have complex feels about marriage. Even if you have not very complex feels about the state. Hold your nose, vote, vote yes and then keep working on dismantling this shit.