#MarRef: Homophobia has adapted to a changing Ireland; we cannot let it win

And our penultimate pitch comes from reader Oisín Hassan in favour of a Yes vote tomorrow.

By Friday night the long slog of months of campaigning will be over, and by Saturday afternoon the outcome of one of the most momentous decisions the Irish people have ever been asked to make will be known.

Opponents present marriage equality as a demand too far, dreamt up in the heads of ‘gay agenda’ pushers to force alternative ‘lifestyle choices’ on society. In reality, marriage equality has been lifetimes in the making. It is a dream many never even dreamt of, and a reality that many (even days from the end of the campaign) still fear to imagine to be possible in case it slips through our hands.

Many young LGBT+ people may actually have never experienced face-to-face homophobia or bigotry in modern Ireland, and it is sometimes easy to forget that that was not always the case. Often homophobia is personified in misplaced phrases or sayings that even the most liberal of us fail to see as problematic.

We have yet to recognise how truly devastating our jokes or jibes, no matter how innocent, can be to a person struggling with their identity. Thankfully, vitriolic and violent homophobia is not something that all LGBT+ people will face, but don’t get me wrong, it is still all too common an occurrence.

But public discourse is giving rise to an ever more dangerous form of homophobia, disguised as rational debate. With social media the exposure to anti-equality campaigning has been amplified. But it is not just the so-called ‘arguments’ against marriage equality that have caused untold damage to the psyche of an already isolated and vulnerable group.

So too the debate around lifting the ban on gay and bisexual men from donating blood, the vociferous calls in favour of a ‘conscience’ clause for Christian-run businesses to refuse service to gay couples, and especially the attempts to belittle and demean the idea that a family can have two parents of the same gender, has all proven how homophobia has been transformed in 21st Century Ireland.

As the demand for equal rights for Ireland’s LGBT+ children reaches a crescendo this week, we are met with the new face of homophobia. Homophobia has evolved with the times, and is becoming much less blatant. Rather, it is more calculated, knowing that the grip of outdated, religiously-based arguments is waning.

During the course of the referendum campaign the No side has attempted to rebuff the criticism of their campaigning as inherently homophobic. To label No campaigners as homophobes is supposedly abusive, and is an attempt to silence them.

Indeed, some Yes campaigners inhale deeply and protest profusely that they don’t agree with all this labelling and finger pointing!

But that is to deny the tone and sentiment of the No campaign, which has focused on the idea that same-sex couples are unable to make good parents, or that their love is somehow different and therefore equality for that love is a misnomer.

The presentation of the No campaign is based on the idea that difference should mean that same-sex couples are excluded from elements of the law, or should be treated differently by the law in order to shield society from the negative effects of their ‘agenda’.

At this very moment equal marriage is not yet secure, despite the polls. The No campaign has successively peddled the idea that children are somehow at risk if they don’t have a mother and a father.

It’s all rather reminiscent of a bygone Ireland, where the single mother was shunned because it was thought unimaginable that she would provide a stable environment for her children. But no one wanted to help lift her children from the apparent nightmare that society believed they were living.

So too, the children of gay and lesbian couples the length and breadth of the country are not the concern of the No campaign. Why else would they blatantly ignore the fact that this referendum will have absolutely no implication for the already enshrined legal right to adopt children, and access surrogacy, for same-sex couples?

I agree wholeheartedly with my fellow LGBT+ friends and comrades that no one should have the right to decide on our equality; it should be inherent, as equality is indeed within us all as human beings. The No campaign has proven why that decision should never be anyone’s to make.

There are those who loathe the idea of two men holding hands in public, who think that two loving mothers is worse than an abusive mother and father, and who think that a young person who feels trapped by the gender of their birth is just ‘going through a phase’.

Those people have been given a platform by this referendum; a platform to attempt to rationalise those views. Views not founded on fact or understanding, but founded on fear.

Homophobia is irrational. It is a fear. And it is still widespread. That fear is based on prejudice, and it has informed how the No campaign operates and argues. Today it campaigns on the streets and lanes, hills and boreens of Ireland.

As a young man from County Derry, based in Belfast, this referendum won’t technically have any effect on my inequality or on that of all those living on the northern side of the border who cannot marry the person they love. Indeed, the past few years here have been plagued by the openly homophobic outbursts and utterances of some of our politicians. Sadly, that won’t change on Saturday.

I watched the fourth debate on the Assembly floor on marriage equality from the public gallery. I watched DUP politicians in awe. In awe of their hypocrisy. Arlene Foster (one of the supposedly milder politicians from the DUP brand) argued that civil partnership was fair, despite the DUP being vehemently against it at the time it was introduced.

I heard her attempt to speak directly to the LGBT+ community, and sympathise with them, that the nasty politicians on the opposite bench wanted the debate and vote simply to use them as a ‘political football’.

Arlene was not the only one. Some of her colleagues went much further in their efforts to harm the LGBT+ community that day; this despite the fact that Jim Wells had brought scandal down upon their heads just days earlier for saying similarly nasty things.

For those who utter homophobic slurs, or defend those utterances, to then stand before the LGBT+ community they have so deeply harmed and attempt to sympathise with them was truly galling.

And that is why I ask that all campaigners, gay or straight, recognise their place in this fight. That each and every one of us, whether we are equal before the law or not, is arguing for the equality of someone else on this island.

Because the truth is, marriage equality is not the end of inequality for LGBT+ children.

It is just the fall of another frontier on the road to equality. When that frontier falls on Saturday, as I believe it will, there will still be thousands across this island living in fear.

Thousands still hurting from the effects of this campaign. And in the homes of No campaigners and voters, be assured, that young LGBT+ people will be there. They will need the fight to carry on the most.

While the No campaign rationalises homophobia LGBT+ people across the island and further afield are fatigued; they are hurting; they are fearful. To continually hear on the airwaves that they are inherently unable to make good parents, or to create stable loving homes is to be repeatedly punched.

They cannot watch the news without facing into the darkness of homophobia. Those arguments are merely the day-to-day thrust of political campaigning for some, but for those who this referendum affects it has been a physically and mentally draining experience.

It looks likely that the referendum will pass regardless, even though the margin may be much smaller than hoped for. Though, homophobia will not die on Saturday. That fear inside the LGBT+ people of Ireland will not die; but hope lives, and true happiness could be reality. For the first time recognition will be tangible.

As the younger generation on this island reaches that time in their lives when they consider settling down, gay and lesbian couples too will be able to make the exact same commitments to each other as their heterosexual friends and family. Perhaps too, there will be those who denied themselves their entire lives, born into a state in much darker days of religious intolerance and oppression, who will finally feel the warmth of acceptance.

In the North court cases are being prepared, and an argument has begun about having our own referendum. LGBT+ people here rightfully fear that referendum if it became reality. Given everything that has been suffered at the hands of some of our most powerful politicians, would it stand a chance of passing?

Would the No campaign be even more horrendous than the one currently fighting for an Ireland of olden days that is on life-support? The truth is that that Ireland is not yet dead. On Saturday it will take a fatal blow.

As the light of equality spreads in the hearts of those who have always loved, but never been allowed to love equally, so too that light will spread across the border to an LGBT+ community that is growing in strength – but one that is tired from a bitter fight. Homophobia has taken many forms, and has adapted to a changing Ireland.

This referendum is proof of that. Let’s hope, that unlike in the divorce referendum, progress and fairness has a resounding victory, and homophobia is rightfully defeated by a large margin. That message would not just travel across the border closest to home, but across borders worldwide.

It is a message of hopeful determination, that anything can be achieved in the name of equality if we stand together.

  • Zeno

    Gay rights activists do themselves or their cause no favours. The Ashers case is a prime example. The behavior or some participants on Gay Pride Parade. The dress, the T-Shirts etc.
    If we had a vote tomorrow on gay marriage I wouldn’t even vote to support it.

  • JohnTheOptimist

    Has any research been done on how many gay marriages are likely to be carried out in Ireland if this referendum passes? I suspect that, even if it passes, very few gays will avail of it. This is clear, both from the figures for Civil Partnerships in the Republic and from the figures for gay marriages in other countries.

    Let’s assume that 4.5% of the population are gay. It might be more. It might be less. The ludicrous Enda Kenny claimed at the weekend that 10% of the population were gay. But, I’ll stick with the 4.5% estimate here. That’s over 200,000 gays in the Republic. Yet, in the first 4 years of Civil Partnerships in the Republic, there were only 1,500 Civil Partnerships registered. That is, only 3,000 gays availing of the opportunity to formally register their unions. Less than 2 per cent of the gay population.

    And take the Netherlands, the first country (I believe) to introduce gay marriage in 2001. Wikipedia informs me that by 2011 there had only been 14,813 gay marriages conducted (of which a considerable number were for foreign gays, unable to marry in their own country).That’s under 30,000 married gays in the Netherlands out of a total gay population of around 800,000 (again assuming the 4.5% figure), even a decade after the introduction of gay marriage. So, just 4% of gays living in a state of matrimony in the Netherlands, even a decade after they were allowed to do so.

    The reality is that, unlike heterosexuals, the vast majority of gays have no interest whatever in formally registering their unions. Presumably, the difference with heterosexuals is that the sexual unions of gays don’t produce offspring, so they feel little need to formally register them. All the fuss is largely for nothing. Any gays who point out these salient facts, like Paddy Manning and Keith Mills, are, of course, subject to streams of abuse that would quite rightly be labelled homophobia if it was coming from straight people.

  • Whether or not most gay couples will take advantage or not is irrelevant; gay couples should have the same option to avail of marital rights as opposite-sex couples if they so wish. That’s the point. It is of both practical and symbolic importance.

    My own more-detailed thoughts on the referendum here: https://danieldcollins.wordpress.com/2015/05/20/wont-somebody-please-think-of-the-children/

  • JohnTheOptimist

    Homosexual unions are fundamentally different to heterosexual unions. I’m not going to use loaded terms like ‘unnatural’ and ‘natural’. But, they are clearly different. The essential difference is that one produces children, the other doesn’t. One is essential to the continuation of the human race, the other isn’t. It is from that difference that their different attitudes to formal registration of their unions (marriage) derives. There is a far greater societal imperative to have a system of formal registration of heterosexual unions. Most gays realise this. Consequently, even if they are given equal rights in law to marry, the de facto situation will continue to be that a far higher proportion of heterosexuals see the need to formally register their unions (marriage) than homosexuals. The majority of heterosexuals will marry at some time in their lives. Based on the experience of the Netherlands, only a tiny percentage of homosexuals will marry even if the law is changed.

  • Every union is different from the next. Children are not essential to marriage or the constitutional family. There are plenty of constitutionally-recognised two-person families in the south, be their two-person status willing or involuntary. There is no marital obligation to procreate.

    Even if a homosexual couple cannot procreate between themselves, they still have the capacity to raise a child for the greater social benefit. Heterosexual unions and procreation will obviously still exist and occur, so it’s not as if same-sex marriage is ever going to threaten the continuation of the human race.

  • Turgon

    “Every union is different from the next.”

    So why then are we discussing homosexual marriage?

    There are two logical positions:

    Firstly that marriage has for many years been the union of one man and one woman.

    If that is no longer judged to be acceptable then the only other logical fair alternative is that marriage (or civil partnership call it what you will) should be between any validly consenting person and any other consenting person or persons.

    As such the discrimination against non sexual / romantic relationships, polygamous and polyandrous relationships and adult consenting incest must also end.

    If equality is to meaning equality it must be for all.

  • Carl Mark

    A few little points, many heterosexual marriages do not (sometimes by choice sometimes not) produce children and since children can and are produced outside marriage then the claim that it is needed for the future of the human race is quite obviously false.
    Could possibly give us the proof behind your claim, that most gays realise that there is a greater imperative for regeristion of heterosexual unions.

  • Carl Mark

    This whole introduction of ,incest,polyandry etc is a expected smoke and mirrors trick.
    I am sure that when the vote for women was a issue some said: what’s the point unless we let 18year old vote as well, after all voting has always been a all male thing anyway.
    The obvious answer is that their is certainly to my knowledge no meaniful push by anybody in society to have marriage rights extended to those involved in incest.
    However I am sure that anyone hoping to have their incestouss raised to the status of marriage will be happy to know they can count on your support.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Carl, Surely Turgon has a point by saying that some people will still be treated differently by society because their kind of love is not recognized by the state. Should the state be allowed to discriminate against them? Maybe people in incestuous relationship are afraid of being criminalized by the state, as their kind of love is still illegal.

    What’s your thoughts on it?

  • Turgon

    It is worse than that. Adult consenting incest is a crime: the very act is criminal.

    Although polygamous and polyandrous unions are not illegal if their participants attempted to formalise them they would be committing a crime: bigamy.

    Then we have non sexual / romantic committed relationships. Although they are not criminal there is no mechanism to formalise them or give them the advantages of marriage / civil partnership.

    Finally we have heterosexual non related romantic / sexual unions. These persons cannot avail of civil partnerships only marriage.

    Neither the current situation nor the proposed changes produce equality: they merely change the parameters of discrimination.

  • We are discussing same-sex marriage because there is societal consensus for discussion and recognition. If gay couples seek access to marital rights that society already wishes to extend to at least some couples, I see no reason why distinction should be made as to sex.

    I didn’t think it necessary to make clear I was referring only to two-person unions. I’ve not made any claim in relation to any other type of relationship. Our particular society, for whatever reasons they may be, appears to favour imposing a limit upon any more than two persons engaging in a marital union. If those in other relationships – the types of which you mention above – wish to lobby for recognition of their three-or-more-person relationships too, they’re free to do so. I don’t have any particular opinion on them one way or the other so long as they’re all consensual and involving persons of responsible age. None of my business. If they’re socially harmless or even socially beneficial, then why not extend recognition to them? I’m not closed to it in principle. I don’t see why supporting the extension of marital rights to same-sex couples should logically necessitate support for other types of relationships involving more than two persons though.

    Are non-sexual/non-romantic relationship discriminated against? Opposite-sex platonic friends would be practically able to marry at present in order to avail of the potential advantages, no?

  • The changes do reduce discrimination though, right? In the sense that the option is extended to a greater number.

  • Turgon

    There was no meaningful push for homosexual marriage until about a decade ago so that argument is a straw man.

    If people want homosexual marriage then fair enough but call it what it is. It is not, however, marriage equality or equal marriage. It is changing the parameters of discrimination.

    If one claims to want equal marriage why leave out the religious views of the second largest faith group on the planet; why leave out the views of significant numbers of sub Saharan Africans (certain members of both of these groups – not mutually exclusive- practice polygamy).

    If we are trying to celebrate and promote committed human relationships in all their diverse forms then all should be celebrated and given the same protections: that goes for the elderly farming siblings; the polygamous groups; the consenting biologically related sexual partnerships just as much as for two person non biologically related homosexual and heterosexual romantic / sexual relationships.

    Equality should mean what it says: equal. It should be for all.

  • Turgon

    If we believe in celebrating human relationships in all their guises then all should be equal.

    You want equality but it is a sham equality: it is equality only for those whom you condescend to grant it to. If you believe in equality it should be for all.

    You state above: ” If those in other relationships – the types of which you mention above – wish to lobby for recognition of their three-or-more-person relationships too, they’re free to do so.”

    The logic of that position is that only homosexuals should argue for homosexual marriage: precisely the opposite of what is argued for in the OP. On the contrary many heterosexuals have argued for homosexual marriage. It should not be left up to polygamous groups alone to argue for their rights: they are likely to feel marginalised and deserve support from those claiming to support equality. Unless that is those supporting equality are hypocrites who having achieved what they seek are happy to ignore others.

  • Turgon

    No they merely change it especially as they leave out the largest groups: cohabiting sexually linked heterosexual couples; families of platonic parent / parents and adult child / children and platonic sibling families. Each of those three groups is almost certainly larger than the homosexual marriage / civil partnership group.

    Indeed even in relationship to homosexual marriage it is not equality since the criteria for making and breaking homosexual marriages are different (in GB at least) they simply make the whole thing an endlessly complex nonsense.

    The logical and equal option is for the state to stay out of the bedrooms and also the living rooms of its citizens and support committed relationships between any person and any other person or persons able freely to consent to such a relationship.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    The Ashers case was taken on by the Equality Commission which represents all minorities. Have you ever tried to understand what it feels like to belong to a minority?

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    You have some very unequivocal and definite views on the nature of gay relationships. Tell me, where did you do your research? Was it fieldwork based?

  • You seek to put words in my mouth for some reason and seek an argument where I don’t think there is one. I’ve never stated I believe in unconditionally celebrating human relationships in all their guises, nor have I imposed any limits either actually, so I don’t know where you’re getting this idea from that I believe in sham equality or why you assume I must be against recognition of the other types in principle. I’m at worst agnostic because I’m not sure of all the potential repercussions of embracing every single type of human relationship imaginable, but, sure, recognise other forms of relationships that are socially harmless or beneficial then. Give them equality too in the interests of consistency. Why not?

  • Is this actually what you believe or are you playing devil’s advocate in an attempt to expose perceived double standards?

    I’m puzzled because you seem keen to ram home a point, but I’m not sure why you’d perceive double standards.

  • Granni Trixie

    Given current knowledge about domestic violence, of how families in NI/Ireland dealt with young women ‘In trouble’ (hiding them away in convents and often taking their babies from them) and sex abuse in families. why on earth are No campaigners holding up heterosexual marriages as the ideal?

  • JohnTheOptimist

    I didn’t say ‘heterosexual marriages’ are needed for the future of the human race. I said ‘heterosexual unions’ (a polite way in a family blog of saying ‘male-female sex’) are needed for the future of the human race. This is obviously true. From the narrow point of view of the continuation of the human race, it is immaterial whether or not these heterosexual unions take place within the institution of heterosexual marriage. But, from the point of view of the overall good of society and raising children to be upright citizens, most people believe (or at least did until recently) that some regulation of heterosexual unions through the institution of marriage is advisable. One of the objectives of this regulation is to ensure as far as possible that parents who have produced children remain faithful to and stay with each other, rather than finding a new partner every six months. With homosexual unions, there is no such necessity. Since homosexual unions produce no offspring, there is no necessity to regulate them. Gays should be free to do as they like. If they want to have one partner for the rest of their lives, fine. If they want a new partner every night, it matters not one jot. It is their choice. Whatever makes them happy. To be blunt about it, male-male or female-female sexual acts are not important enough for the state to concern itself in any way with them, whether through prohibition of them or formal recognition of them. In contrast, male-female sexual acts are important enough (as they produce children) for the state to have an interest in formally recognising them. Recognition of this difference by gays themselves is why only a tiny percentage of them formally register their unions even in countries where civil partnerships or gay marriage are allowed by law.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Pointless casuistry, Turgon. The equality argument is for couples who are of equal standing in the eyes of the law with each deserving the law’s protection. To toss in polygamy or even polyandry into the debate is both fallacious and spurious. The power imbalances that exist in polygamous (and polyandrous) households is akin to the harem or the lion and his pride. Complex legislation would be required for such a set up and is not relevant to gaining balance between heterosexual couples and homesexual couples. In fact why aren’t you arguing that paedophiliac relationships be recognised by this inconsistent or undeveloped logic that you so smartly challenge? But I know you know that it might be seen as overstepping the mark. So let’s debate instead the number of angels that can dance on a pinhead. And we’ll sneak out when you’re not looking to leave you to enjoy your onanism in your echo chamber.

  • JohnTheOptimist

    I don’t need to do research to know that no homosexual act ever produced a baby.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Try using the word balance instead and cause yourself less grief.

  • JohnTheOptimist

    Any individual, any couple or any group of people can raise a child and, unless its badly treated, it will be perfectly happy. That’s no big deal. Certainly, a gay couple can acquire a child (in whatever way) and raise it perfectly happily. I don’t doubt that for a second. Likewise, a commune of 20 people can acquire and raise a child. A convent of 20 nuns can acquire and raise a child. The Manchester United football team can acquire and raise a child. But, only sex between a male and a female can produce a child. And because society has generally believed that the male-female couple whose sex produced the child are the best combination to raise it, that’s why heterosexual unions have been given a status that other combinations of participants in parenting have not.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    So by your reasoning, babies produce fidelity?

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    I recall a tv debate on gay marriage in the early 90s. Peter Tatchell contributed. Also France enacted its Pacte Civil de Solidarité in 1999 where both hetersosexual and homosexual couples could enter a union.

  • But children are not an essential component to a marriage or a family. Unions are not “regulated” simply because of the potential for offspring; they can comprise of rights and obligations relating to other matters too. Certain heterosexual unions will never produce offspring, but the participants of such unions still presently have access to marital rights.

    Heterosexual unions will still continue to exist even if same-sex unions are formally recognised, so it isn’t as if we need to refuse recognition for same-sex unions in order to ensure the survival of the human race. What a preposterous notion to bring into the debate anyway; as if the race is on the verge of dying out or something…

    Committed same-sex couples can raise children to be upright citizens too; one of the couple could be a biological parent or the couple might even apply to adopt. Under such circumstances, it might be beneficial for all concerned, including the state, to have formal recognition, protection and security if all parties wish for that to be so, no?

  • But an “ability” to parent is not determined by being a biological parent. Some biological parents may be incapable of providing a stable or secure upbringing for their child(ren) for whatever reason. Some biological parents might even abuse their children. So the presumption that “the male-female couple whose sex produced the child are the best combination to raise it” is simply nonsense.

    Adoptive parents might be just as competent as biological parents, or even in a better position to provide a child with an decent upbringing.

  • saa5of5

    You misunderstand and suggest hatred and homophobia when you say the argument is that homosexuals aren’t capable of being good parents. This is about the reality of each of us having a father and a mother and the ideal and right to know the mother and father from whence we came. Most homosexuals are very happy they have a mother and a father. You wrongly speak as if those who see value in marriage also are those who condone hatred and mistreatment of homosexuals. They are in our families, schools and workplaces and loved by us. Genuine concerns related to laws and rights are common to all, regardless of orientation, race, religion, etc. The good of children is not being genuinely considered when you, in effect, say it doesn’t matter whether a child is raised by their biological parents, that it can no longer even be mentioned as an ideal! Think carefully. No hate. Why Church leaders have taken a back seat on this is beyond me and seems a grave shirking of pastoral responsibility in properly caring for their flock. Truth in charity takes tremendous courage these days. Few have shown such courage.

  • Carl Mark

    I am not sure what you mean by this
    “There was no meaningful push for homosexual marriage until about a decade ago so that argument is a straw man.”
    please explain!
    And when you say equality for all, are you implying that gay (or anybody’s else’s) rights should wait until we have a law that covers every eventuality and every possible permutation of relationships.
    Because I am sure you are quite aware that the development of the rights we have at present did not all appear at once.
    the right to vote for example evolved from only applying to a rich elite to the universal franchise we now enjoy.
    Women’s rights similarly evolved from being the property of their husbands/fathers to our present situation!

  • Carl Mark

    yes he has his points, Alan I do not deny that.
    but to suggest that the rights of the gay community should be put on hold until we are in a position to give every body the same right is being mischievous.
    look at the history of the abolition of slavery in the Americas, was that put on hold because there would still be slavery elsewhere!
    Was the right to vote for working class men put on hold because it did not extend to women.
    History shows us that the development of the rights we enjoy was a gradual piecemeal thing.
    Surely if Turgon was so interested in equality then he would support gay marriage and encourage those others whom he thinks are being unfairly treated to campaign for equilty.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Ben, thank you for pointing out that all minorities (and even majorities) are protected by the legislation. The polarising acrimony of bitter debate has blinded the pro-Ashers camp to the very real danger that in attacking the equality legislation and looking for “get outs “such as “conscience”, they are also endangering their own (completely taken for granted) rights. Law will always be imperfect, but the only real issue here is that, underneath the distractions, they are actually asking for the right of “conscience” to trump equality. No one is attacking anyones private right to have personal beliefs, simply their right to impose those beliefs on others at whim. No attempt to distract from this simple truth with any number of red herring arguments can in any way lessen the deleterious effect on the freedoms of each and every one of us that permitting this “conscience let out” would entail.

  • Granni Trixie

    Out of curiosity what exactly is a “non sexual/romantic committed relationship” – would this be the same thing as what I see on the Internet is known as “emotional affairs”?

  • Zeno

    The Equality Commission are an unelected quango. Am I supposed to respect them? I don’t.
    We all belong to minorities, except the Chinese obviously.
    We can’t force people to like or respect the gay community, but we can easily turn people against gay rights by targeting easy marks like Ashers.

  • Carl Mark

    and of course your proof that heterosexual unions tend to be more stable than homosexual unions is what exactly?
    you wont find it in the divorce rates, the amount of single parents or the number of children in the adoption or fostering systems!

  • damon

    I just read this now, a few days late. It’s a terrible piece imo. It’s really whiney and annoying in it’s tone. And too ”in your face”.
    Not everyone gets what gay is. Even I don’t understand it fully and I’ve been in gay clubs and a gay holiday town like Provincetown in the USA.

    Have a quick look at the images on this promotion for a Provincetown gay hotel where they hold tea dances every afternoon
    http://boatslipresort.com/tea-dance/

    Of course not everyone ”gets” that subculture. It’s as different and particular in its way as the culture of the Orange Order and the flute bands are different and particular. I must say I’ve gotten a bit fed up with the LBGT agenda – when it hasn’t even fully explained what that acronym means. What is transgender? Does it include men who just like to dress up in women’s clothes from time to time? Why is that so different to people who like to pretend to be outlaw bikers at the weekend or dress up at Star Trek conventions? Transgender is something that is tacked on to the gay equality movement, but people can’t be bothered to explain it fully.