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.
This guest poster- for reasons that I’m sure will be obvious when you read the post- prefers to remain anonymous.
One of the most heart-warming things to come out of the marriage referendum in Ireland has been the videos of everyday Irish people talking to their families about why they’re voting yes. Students from Trinity College did one of the first with their “Call Your Granny” video showing them phoning their parents and grandparents to see if they would vote yes, their nerves palpable as they wait to hear the answer and then the wonderful relief, “Of course I’m voting yes!.” Since then there have been so many videos of families sitting around the kitchen table with typical Irish mammies and daddies talking about how their LGBTQ sons and daughters are loved equally and how they want them to be just as happy as their other children. I cry at every video.
I’ve also gone out canvassing with my local Yes Equality group and been quietly tearful while canvassing alongside a father who marches up to every door with a proud smile on his face and asks everyone who he meets to vote for his son.
These testimonies from parents and grandparents are all the more moving to me because I know that I can’t make a video like that with my parents. They are most definitely not voting yes on May the 22nd, in fact they are actively supporting a no vote. When I post anything on Facebook remotely favouring the Yes campaign there is an icy social media silence from them, usually followed by a posting of their own from one of the vicious and nasty No campaign articles in the media. I have tried to #haveonechat with them and then heard exactly what they think of gay people getting married. Those chats are not the cosy stuff of the videos that are going out on social media everyday.
I’ve read many passionate tweets and posts from people with thoughts along the lines of “If you’re voting no, just go ahead and unfriend me now” or “I don’t think I can be friends with anyone who is voting no”. Which I know is born of passion for a Yes vote and frustration at the lies and vitriol from the No side of the fence, but still, how do I reconcile my lovely parents who raised me and gave me the most amazing childhood with this bitterness that comes over them whenever the subject of homosexuality comes up? Continue reading “Guest Posts for Equality: When your family are voting ‘No’.”