It's just the way things are 😉
I’m the child of a single parent. My best friends growing up, most of them had two parents that were married to each other, but it’s all I’ve ever really known. My father was an alcoholic, and my mother left him when I was seven years old. He reacted by throwing me, my mother and my two sisters and two brothers out of what he viewed as “his” house. My godmother welcomed us all into her home for a few months while the legality of that was sorted out.
Once we were back in the house, my childless paternal uncle who lived across from us and looked after us as if we were his own, and continued to be a huge part in our lives despite my parents’ separation. People always asked me was it weird not having a father in my life, and it completely confused me that they were asking that. It was obvious to me that my father was a person that it was very much a good thing not to have in my life, while my uncle fulfilled all the roles that are typical of a dad, and then some! So, I wasn’t left lacking, if anything I thought other people might be missing out not having an awesome uncle that takes them fishing in a boat, teaches them how to makes things in a workshop, and sings wherever he goes.
Flash forward a few years. My cousin was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She’d just had a little baby boy and needed to start aggressive chemotherapy. My mother stepped up and added this little boy to our family. We fed him, clothed him, played games with him, and took him to the hospital to see his mother. He called my mother “Mammy” and his mother, “Mummy”. That story didn’t have a happy ending, but that baby boy grew up with his loving father and visits us where my mother still treats him like one of her own.
Flash forward a few years more. My sister gives birth to a baby girl, but faces motherhood as a young single parent. But again, my mother steps up and helps her daughter to raise this little leanabh. My sister eventually rekindles a relationship with a guy she was seeing previously, and he takes her daughter on as if she was his own. He and my sister eventually have another daughter several years later, and she’s most awesome! My uncle of course, dotes on these children as if they are his grandchildren.
Flash forward another couple of years. My eldest brother briefly started seeing a local woman. It didn’t work out, and they broke up. A month or two later though, it turns out she was pregnant. My brother didn’t even hesitate and agreed to stand by her and be as involved as she wanted him to be in the child’s life. So another niece was born, and she’d come to stay with us every Friday night. Despite her parents not being in a relationship with each other, she was loved just as much.
Flash forward ten years. In that time, my older sister and her partner ended their relationship, but worked together to make sure the girls were well looked after. They both fell in love with other people over time who accepted my nieces as part of the whole package. My eldest brother got married to a lovely woman from the local Gaelteacht, and his daughter was still visiting every Friday, and bringing her mother’s other daughter too, who was just as welcomed as part of the family. My younger sister fell pregnant and it was looking like she was doing it solo. She gave birth to my first and so far only nephew, the first boy in the family since me. A soccer-crazed little messer that decided to follow Liverpool purely so he could torment my mostly Man Utd household. My older sister’s new boyfriend, just as soccer mad, gets on like a house on fire with him too. Once again, my mother and uncle supported her so she wouldn’t be alone. I went through a mildly angsty teens where I struggled with accepting my sexuality, but made it through the other side happy and accepted as a gay man studying science at University College Cork.
Flash forward a couple of years more. My uncle has had a heart attack and we’re all panicking. My nephew who is thick as thieves with him doesn’t understand what’s going on; why isn’t he bringing me out on his bicycle, where is he? Thankfully he makes a miraculous recovery in no time flat though, and says that it’s because he has too much to live for with those little grand nieces and grand nephew waiting for him at home. I fall in love with Wexford man, who is welcomed into my family as much as I am to his. My brother and his wife have a child, but thanks to lack of work in Ireland, he has to move to Canada to work so he can support them – a familiar story for a lot of Irish people. My eldest niece falls pregnant and gives birth to a son, my adorable little grand nephew. This is a complicated one, but my older sister ends up raising him. My sister isn’t alone though, as her fiancé is there for this little baby too, changing nappies, feeding him, and loving him as his own.
Now. My point. You don’t need biology to be a mammy or a daddy. Blood is thicker than water, but love is thicker than blood. My future brother-in-law is working hard to support my sister, her daughters, and her grandson despite no biological link. My mother raised five happy and healthy children that she needed to, and added an extra few children on to that even though she didn’t have to. My incredible uncle raised the five of us in my nuclear family, and is still doing the same thing with the whole generation of his four grand nieces, one grand nephew, and his great grand nephew too; none of which he needs to do. Families, aren’t just a mother and a father and 2.5 children. They’re a group of people that look out for one another and make sure each other are supported no matter what. The children of single parents aren’t automatically deprived of something, nor the children of same-sex parents, because this is what the greater Irish family is all about. People used to be uncomfortable with talking about the fact that my parents were separated and would trip over their words when referring to my parents, but that’s not the case anymore because people don’t automatically assume one type of family anymore. On May 22nd, acknowledge in our constitution that Irish families come in all shapes and sizes, so that I can add my own family with my beloved partner to my greater Irish family.
Yesterday afternoon in front of a packed audience of volunteers, friends and local public and community representatives including Minister Kathleen Lynch and Brian Sheehan and Kieran Rose representing Yes Equality’s National Campaign for Civil Marriage; Yes Equality Cork held their official campaign launch.
The special guest at the event was actress and comedian Eilish O’Carroll aka Winnie from Mrs. Brown’s Boys.She spoke passionately about her strong views on equality and fairness and he own ongoing “coming out journey” while at the same time she had the room captivated with her natural wit. Speaking personally she said she said “I want recognition, I have that from my sons, but I want that from society”. She can only get this recognition with a Yes vote.
The event was chaired by Joe Noonan, the Chairperson of Yes Equality Cork. Speaking of the importance of a Yes vote Joe Noonan said “although this is a national referendum, we need to fight this at local level in every house, street and workplace especially here in Cork.”He outlined what the plans of Yes Equality Cork are and how important fundraising is to help us make this happen.He added speaking at a personal level “Families are the heart of Irish society. This amendment will strengthen our families and our society. A Yes result will show that we are open to embracing each member of our family and that we welcome the people they love. That we want to nurture each and every one of our children and young people and give them space to lead fulfilling lives”.
There were a number of speakers on the day outlined their personal stories including Finn Murray, a father of two children living in Cork. He was raised by lesbian parents. He issued a challenge to those on the No side who try to suggest children raised with same sex parents will be some how not as well cared for or loved as any other kids. He is now a 30 year old father of a boy and a girl and he is showing the same kind of love he himself was shown. If anyone on the No side wants to take up his challenge, Yes Equality Cork will happily facilitate this!
One of the speakers, Rebecca Murphy who is a health promotion, equality and well being advocate said “I’m voting Yes because I believe that same sex couples should have the same rights as their straight friend and family, to enter into a loving union that is recognised equally by the state and the constitution. On a personal note, I want to be able to marry the person I love regardless of their gender.” She concluded “I believe Ireland has a chance to send a clear message to all its people that we are an equal, inclusive, welcoming and just nation and we should grab it with both hands”
The ceremony was book-ended with musical brilliance. It began with a big screen showing of the new video for We Love The Same by Choral ConFusion, the proceeds of which go 100% towards the campaign and The ceremony concluded with a show stopping performance by Chicago born, but now living in Cork Karen Underwood singing some numbers from her recent “Of Ladies Lost and Found Tour” She like all the others on stage and in attendance is a strong advocate of Marriage Equality. She believes we all should have the right to marry the one we love regardless of their gender.
Yes Equality Cork are delighted to announce a benefit fundraising club night, aimed at supporting their campaign efforts to secure a YES vote in the forthcoming Marriage Equality referendum.
‘Love, Like’ club night will see the cream of Cork DJs perform in support of the Yes Equality Cork campaign, a locally based group who have formed to activate support in favour of the forthcoming referendum on civil marriage equality.
The organising committee for Love, like revolves around Niamh Walsh and her partner Josephine O’Halloran with their straight friends Colm Motherway, Michelle O’Neill, Catherine Murphy and Sinead Johnson. Josephine outlines their motivation for creating this benefit party “We want to get married and our friends want to the come to the wedding, plus we all believe in equality. All of our DJs signed up without any hesitation and in the end, we could have had another 10 DJs such was the level of interest and support from the community!”.
Headlining the club night are duo Greg Dowling and Shane Johnson, FISH GO DEEP, Irelands’ premier House music production duo, who attract a loyal and dedicated crowd wherever they play. In the line-up of Cork talent are renowned performers Stevie G, Tonie Walsh, Colm K, Stevie G, Angi, Misterr Fork, Billy & Gina, Generic People, Colm Motherway, JusMe and Alex Bruce.
Chairperson of Yes Equality Cork, Joe Noonan, said “We are very grateful to Niamh and Josephine for their passion and enterprise in creating this very special music night in aid of our efforts. We hope to see as many supporters there on the night as possible.”
The Love, Like benefit night takes place at The Hanover Club on Saturday April 18th from 8pm. Tickets are €10 available on the night.
Cork’s Choral Con Fusion LGBTS Choir have released the video for their debut single with the aim to raise funds and awareness for the marriage referendum’s yes campaign.
The video for the single, “We Love the Same”, was directed by Shane Cronin and was released yesterday.
Formed in 2010, Choral Con Fusion is an all inclusive choral group consisting of 40 members coming from all walks of life.
Speaking at the launch, choir member Tina O’Toole said “This choir has forty members from seven countries and all parts of this island; we speak eight languages, we are of different ages, ethnicities, and class backgrounds.
“This Cork, that fosters an openly LGBTS choir, has emerged from a long tradition of community activism across a range of social movements for equality.”
One of the groups straight members, Cliona Kenny, spoke of how she feels it’s wrong how she can marry and her fellow members can’t.
“I was born with the right to marry and to be an automatic guardian of any children I may bear but I stand next to two ladies in the soprano section that do not share those rights and that is wrong.”
“For me it’s neither a gender issue nor an issue of sexual orientation, it’s a human rights issue.”
The launch of the video for the groups debut single is the latest milestone in what has been a good year for Choral Con Fusion.
In March at the 2015 GALA Awards, Choral Con Fusion claimed the Entertainer of the Year award beating off competition from the likes of Hozier, Graham Norton and Colin Farrell.
Community Radio Youghal launches a Ground – breaking two part Documentary on the LGBT community
“Life Behind the Rainbow” looks at the lives of people who are Lesbian,Gay, Bisexual and Transgender,living in the Cork area.
Orla Riordan, who produced and presents the show, was inspired to write it after a childhood friend came out as a lesbian.She wondered if it made her feel any different about her, it didn’t. But she realised that she knew little or nothing about the LGBT community so set about talking to different people to ask them about issues that affect their lives.
LGBT people make up approx 10% of Irelands’ population, and Orla speaks to the participants about their daily lives, marriage equality, homophobia,Cork Pride, coming out, their hopes and dreams for the future and lots more.
Life Behind the Rainbow was made in conjunction with the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and explores issues that face the LGBT community living in Ireland today.
This documentary is first and foremost, about people. It is a funny, poignant and interesting look into the lives of people who live and work in our communities, pay their taxes, raise children and contribute to society in many ways.They just happen to be members of the LGBT community.
Life Behind the Rainbow, which as made under the Sound and Vision Scheme, will be broadcast on CRY104fm on Wednesday 25th. & Thursday 26th. of March between 6.30 & 7pm.
You can listen live on www.cry104fm.com
The programme was produced and presented by Orla Riordan and edited by Séan Healy.
The Taoiseach has said he expects the same-sex marriage referendum to take place on May 22.
Enda Kenny made the comments during a wide ranging interview on RTÉ’s Prime Time programme earlier tonight.
It comes ahead of the party’s national conference which gets underway in Co Mayo from tomorrow.
The Toaiseach also revealed that he hopes the referendum will pass – because he believes it will portray “a very tolerant and inclusive image of Ireland.”
Funk N’ Something present their first show of 2015, starring: Fabula Di Beaumarchais, Kitty Cartier, Emerald, Letycha Le Synn, Michael Crowley, Phil O Callaghan, Studio D and is hosted by Giles Reid
Friday March 6th, Doors 8.30
Chambers of Washington Street
All proceeds go to I.C.P.T (Irish Children’s Pilgrimage Trust) an organisation that brings sick kids to Lourdes
Selection of drinks only €2.99 up until 10.30
See ye there – nice and early now 😉
Whilst browsing social media websites come across several Marriage Referendum poster concepts and decided to gather them in this post for all to see
The wording of the upcoming referendum on same-sex marriage has been published by the Government.
It proposes to add to the Constitution a declaration that “marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex”.
Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said the wording is clear and precise, and gives a right to every citizen who wishes to get married.
The minister said that she believes the referendum is a recognition of the increasing acceptance of people of different sexual orientation.
She said that an informed debate will lead to an opportunity to discuss issues further.
Minister Fitzgerald said the referendum would be about marriage equality, while the proposed Children and Family Relationships Bill was about ensuring children in different family types have equal protection before the law.
There was no need for the issues to become entangled, she said.
The proposal will be voted on in May at a date yet to be decided.