Today’s message is specifically for my fellow Irish readers, though I hope many outside this island share these sentiments.
This Friday 22 May, Ireland will vote on the issue of homosexual marriage. This issue has been close to my heart for as long as I can remember, and I am very happy to see that public opinion seems much changed from the first time a friend fearfully whispered his secret to me, terrified of rejection.
It has been very heartening to hear this issue discussed over the last several weeks, and most frequently in a way that favours equality. It has been heartening to see the reactions of people I meet throughout the day to the badge that I wear. Regardless of how the referendum turns out, it is worthwhile knowing that I’ve helped someone feel a measure of acceptance.
I see this as one of the last issues for which equality can be legislated, one of the last aspects where laws can be set down to protect love in its myriad forms. While I’m not directly impacted by homosexual marriage, I do see this as a concrete step towards acceptance of the diverse nature of ways in which people love.
I know that there will never be legislation to protect the nuances of the way I see intimacy- spanking and submission are private issues that should not need to be brought into the public eye (but neither should they be censored, as my friends in the UK are all too well aware).
I count myself lucky that I don’t need to fight to be seen as equal to others in the eyes of the law, but I wish I didn’t need to fear reactions of my friends if I accidentally let something slip about my personal life. I wish I didn’t have to worry about my colleagues finding out I was dating a man twice my age. I wish I could use the title “Sir” in public without arousing suspicion. I wish I lived in a world where people who felt different could openly seek advice from others like them, rather than hiding in anonymity.
I know these are more than wishes. I see the progress we have made on issues like homosexuality even in my own lifetime, and know that this future is coming.
In the meantime, we can continue to do what we do, to write and meet and talk We will continue to seek out, encourage, and comfort those struggling with their intimate nature.
And we can vote, and encourage others to do the same with love in their hearts.