In a time with so much media, social networking, instagramming and tweeting – there is an unfathomable amount of publicity available. We live in a world of complete connection, twenty-four hours a day you can interact with those you know and this bond is at the click of a button.
With ease, we can lift people up and, with the same smooth motion we can break them down. I can only imagine how intense it is to be young in the Ireland of today, when I was in school Facebook and the other personal sites weren’t really a standard thing. I really enjoyed my time in school, and of course from time to time suffered because of my unwavering devotion to rock music and copious amounts of black eyeliner. I was different, and it was visible, I didn’t really have to hide it but I was aware of how to limit my personal ‘choice’.
Sexuality, on the other hand, is something which is casually used to grasp people at the helm of their insecurities and it hurts because it isn’t a choice. ‘Gay’ is tossed about as an insult, as a rough accumulation of all the things the individual is lacking. It even stretches so far as to encompass the feeling towards situations. ‘Homework is Gay’ as in, lame and therefore individually we were lead to believe that being gay was simply a lesser version of the desired masculinity. The idea was Men are straight, and anything less is gay. Likewise, ‘Lesbian’ isn’t used to express a singular aspect of a person, it is used to describe that particular woman and everything else she chooses afterwards is as a result of being a lesbian. She is a lesbian if she doesn’t want to kiss a particular guy, if she dresses in a way polar to femininity, or if she speaks with strong opinions. School is a time in which we are taught classes. but social lessons are delivered through remarks and bitter tongues. This is why we need to shape a country which teaches our youth that being who you are, and sharing it with someone you love, is the most natural and wonderful part of human experience. We need to stand up for any people who want to provide a strong and loving environment for children. It doesn’t matter if you are gay, bisexual or transgender there is no ‘in spite of’, if you are a good parent, or good parents you are brilliant at what you do and you deserve to do so.
To be understanding of others is one of the most powerful attributes one can have. To allow love to be expressed freely, with absolute devotion and happiness, is the only thing that can really solidify our human relationships. In a time where we are losing the true meaning of connection, we can’t deny anyone who is trying to experience the most beautiful of emotions. Not only because I want my friends to be able to experience love like I do, not simply because of human rights, but because of the need for every young person who is silently withholding their true selves to be able to smile at the fact that they are not the other, and they are welcome to be exactly who they are.
This is why I am voting YES.
Words: Erin Grant