Tag Archives: pride

Loud(er) & Proud(er)

With each year, I get more and more excited about Pride.

I once disapproved of Pride; I felt the colourful parade an affront on wider society. Was it really necessary? Why did hundreds of men and women desire to dress garishly, blow whistles and flaunt their assets, when there were allocated places – such as designated bars – where they could do this in peace. I felt Gay Pride was crude. My views at the time clearly reflected I once did not accept my own sexuality.

With my increasing years and diplomas from the School of Life, I’ve done a U-turn on my views. This notably happened three years ago, when the Pride celebration was used as a platform for pushing Civil Union/Gay Marriage. At the rally, after the Pride Parade, holding my boyfriend’s hand, I realised, some day I too might want to get married or “unioned”, which at that time was not available to me. If my presence and participation in a parade, donated volume to a voice that called for equality, I was proud to take part.

The main day, of the week long Pride festival, involves a parade and rally. The bright parade starts from the Garden of Remembrance and makes its way down O’Connell Street to the Civic Offices via Dame Street. The usual suspects: Senator Norris, Panti and various political figures take prominent position. The promoters state the purpose of the Pride Festival is to celebrate diversity, promote inclusiveness and increase visibility and mutual respect. To my delight, in recent years, the reach of the parade is ever expanding. Families, involving same sex couples and relatives of gay individuals, are present in growing numbers every year. Very often, children take part. The sight of young teenage couples walking among the crowds leaves me emotional. These beautiful sights signify a gradual evolution of a society that decriminalised homosexuality as recent as 1993. And, every year, Dublin Pride gets bigger, bolder and more beautiful.

This year, I am going to go all out for the day. I’d say I am dressing up, but I am going scantily clad. I attribute every item of my costume to people I encountered during my life. For the guy that once gave me the sack, when he learned I was gay, I will wear a pair of demin hot pants. For the men in work, who are continually standoffish with me, I shall don a tight, shocking pink T-shirt. For the boyfriend of my close friend, who has yet to speak to me directly, I will carry a Pride flag. I will happily lend my outfit, presence and voice to Pride, which seeks to challenge every perception, opinion, boundary, piece of legislation and unequal treatment that resides in society.

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Another Slip Up

Yesterday afternoon, I planned to luncheon with a friend in Dún Laoghaire. I readied speedily and left the apartment for Grand Canal DART Station. The weather was miserable. I reminded myself it was only two days ago Dad and I picnicked on the banks of the Dodder with coffee, sandwiches and King Crisps. Autumn certainly knew how to make an entrance.

I was spared any substantial showers, tolerating a light drizzle, until the Heavens opened and emptied its reservoirs. My mack provided little protection from the fierce downpour. Why even bother to get dressed up? I asked myself as rain ran from my sopping hair, down my face and into my mouth. The weather left a bad taste in my mouth in the form of my hair gel, which by then I could taste. I quickened my pace.

I arrived and commenced my ascension of the steps of Grand Canal Station, looking upwards, longingly, towards the shelter of the entrance. Halfway through my incline, I did what I do best; I slipped and fell. The surface of the wet, tiled steps provided insufficient grip – to my already well worn brown shoes – causing my left foot to slide without a hint of friction. I fell forward, extending my arms before me, to catch myself. “Ugh, shit.” I roared aloud. My palms and sleeves of my jacket splashed into a sizeable puddle on the next step. I was momentarily startled.

I picked myself up from the steps., wiping my wet hands on my jacket, noting stiffness in my left arm. “Awwww, bollocks.” I twisted and moved my arm to assess if there was any damage. Only then did it dawn on me to check for an audience. I turned and looked downwards; no one followed me on the slippery staircase. I scanned the greater, surrounding area, feeling relief there wasn’t a soul to be seen. My arm might have been sore, but my pride – for once! – remained intact.

I ran into the train station.

Mary – no not you Mary, the ‘Other Mary’ – We Love You

What is it with the Irish nation and our love of Mary Robinson? We simply adore the woman.

During her time as Irish President, Mary Robinson received unlimited amounts of coverage by the Irish media. We as a nation loved her. We could not get enough. We followed Mary’s every action in the national and often international media. We beamed with pride at her regular address of human rights issues. Mary Robinson received incredible favourability during her time as Irish President. She was a charismatic figurehead for our country. She represented a modern, changing Ireland we were (then) proud of.

Mary Robinson has again hit the headlines. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by the White House in recognition as a prominent advocate for women’s rights. The award has been marred by controversy due to claims from American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), who maintain Mary Robinson is not an appropriate recipient of the award. AIPAC base their stance on Ms. Robinson’s alleged responsibility for the 2001 Durban conference against racism descending into an anti-Israel propaganda forum. A spokesperson for the White House re-stated the basis for the award. The spokesperson acknowledged that Ms. Robinson has made statements that Barack Obama did not agree with, but it was likely the same applies to all intended sixteen recipients of the medal.

Once again, I feel proud of Mary Robinson.  

I cannot help but wonder how Mary, our current President Mary McAleese, feels about Mary Robinson’s ascension to an international figure. Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese are obviously two completely different people. Their personalities are on opposite ends of the spectrum, but do we subconsciously compare them? Mary Robinson possesses qualities of a natural leader, whereas Mary McAleese gives the Presidential office a human – and emotional – edge. Mary McAleese’s softening of the Presidential role is an achievement, but has failed to capture the imagination and coverage of both the press and Irish nation. Mary McAleese is regularly criticised for doing little in her role as President. Mary McAleese is as equally busy as Mary Robinson was during her time as President. The defining difference is that Mary McAleese’s daily actions and speeches receive a fraction of media coverage Mary Robinson boasted.

I am sure Mary McAleese is proud of the Mary that came before her. On days like today, when Mary Robinson is in the headlines, I wonder if Mary McAleese ever gets frustrated while eating her Corn Flakes and reviewing the newspapers. I can picture her throwing down the paper, maybe spitting some cereal, and angrily asking her family what she must do to win the favourability of the Irish nation like the ‘Other Mary’ did.

Grand Slam Champions

Less than one hour ago, the Irish rugby team delivered a victory in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Ireland  now hold the Grand Slam title, which they’ve not done for sixty one long years. History has been made.

My heart was in my throat during the final ten minutes of the game. I had to call the RSPCA to home the litter of kittens I gave birth to during the match. Serious stress fest!

The sight of President McAleese celebrating with the Irish team brought tears to my eyes. I’m proud to be Irish.

Oh and Prince William’s hair is noticeably getting thinner. Move over William and make room for Harry.

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