Sunday 21 January 2018

'All my life, I have fought against being labelled and against stigma'

In his bid to become our next President, David Norris has taken on the last taboo of suicide, writes Joe Jackson

LET'S face it; the Irish people will never put a 'Pansy' in the Park, meaning make David Norris our next President, right? Look at it this way. If he was President right now, the tabloids last week probably would have been awash with headlines like 'Queen greets Queen!' Besides, didn't Norris describe the men who fought for our freedom in 1916 as "terrorists"; doesn't he want us back in the Commonwealth? Hell, we may as well make Queen Elizabeth II herself Ireland's next President.

I'm joking, of course. But the fact remains that David Norris has often been reduced to, potentially, the politically neutralising label of 'Pansy' and his bid to become President has already been undermined by those terror-ist/Commonwealth claims. That's why, within minutes of our meeting in his office in Leinster House on the morning after the first day of the Queen's visit to Ireland, we cut to the chase.

"I don't mind people making jokes like those!" he says, picking up on my 'Queen greets Queen' and, more specifically, my Irish-people-will-never-put-a-Pansy-in the-Park lines. "In fact, one of my colleagues in Trinity said the same thing in terms of the Senate yet they did put me in and I delivered! But all my life I have fought against being labelled and I have already stated that I am putting myself forward not as a gay President but as a President who happens to be gay.

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