Wednesday 21 March 2018

Dr Ciara Kelly: Let's celebrate Pride - in the name of love

The love that dared not speak its name in Oscar Wilde's day
The love that dared not speak its name in Oscar Wilde's day

It's Gay Pride this weekend and in fairness the LGBT community has lots to feel pretty proud of, of late. It's just two years since Ireland became the first country to bring in same sex marriage by popular vote. And our first openly gay Taoiseach (were there secretly gay ones?), Leo Varadkar, took office on June 14 this year - becoming one of only a tiny handful of gay premiers around the world.

There was some argument here, about whether or not it was a big deal that a gay man had become the leader of the Irish Government - with many people who don't like Leo stressing that it was not because he was gay and attempting to dismiss his sexuality as irrelevant to the broader discussion around whether or not he would be a good Taoiseach.

But of course it is a big deal. In the same way it was a big deal when Barack Obama was voted in as the first black president of the US or in the same way it would have been a big deal had Hillary Clinton been elected the first woman. It is a big deal not because being gay, black or a woman has any effect on your ability to do your job. It's a big deal because we know at one point prejudice and bigotry would have meant that it would have been impossible for a gay, black or female politician to be voted to high office. So the fact that a gay person has been elected Taoiseach says we have moved beyond some of the bigotry that was only recently an integral part of our society.

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