Presbyterians, Salvation, and God

We cremated my friend James on the freakishly warm Friday before St Patrick’s Day, between the two bouts of even freakier snow. We did this after a celebration of the Supper of the Lord Jesus Christ who was his Saviour and the anchor of his life. The daffodils bobbed in the sunshine as we took his coffin through the traffic from the church in the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral to the crematorium in East Finchley, his terminus ad quem … Read more

Losing the armour after decades of hurt

Paul Francis Quinn is a singer and in this heartfelt piece he describes exactly what the recent marriage referendum result meant for him and many others. In 1986, near the end of a long, balmy and sleepless summer, a heterosexual male friend and I took the DART from the suburbs of Bray. Into the city we went and once there he promptly deposited me in a dingy, beer stained bar called “The George”. A third of the size it is … Read more

Gay Life in NI if the Conscience Clause Were Enacted

It was a summer Friday in 2008, and we were in a provincial town West of the Bann. Jordin Sparks was Number 1 and Ian Paisley’s tenure as leader of Our Wee Country had ended a few weeks before. We’d planned a day trip, but we’d ended up exploring a bit further than expected. It was chilly for June, but the showers from earlier had cleared into that gorgeous, soft, summer evening light that is the thing I miss most … Read more

Two Ceasefires and a Coming Out: A Memoir

I’ve been thinking about coming out. There have been a few horror stories doing the rounds recently: Vicky Beeching’s harrowing life and those of Lyra McKee’s friends. It’s made me think about how it was for me, all those years ago. If I’m honest, it was a banal tale set against a bizarre backdrop. Maybe it’s just because I’m home, for the first significant amount of time since Chris died, sleeping in the room where I came out to my … Read more

Cartoon – Fighting the marriage equality tidal wave

  Earlier, David McCann laid out the conservative case for marriage equality. Fellow conservative Andrew Sullivan has written for a number of years on the question and recently called the current situation “The Marriage Equality End Game” and spoke of “The Tidal Wave For Marriage Equality“. Looks like we’ll have to wait a while longer. Andrew Sullivan also recently shared a quaint anecdote from his visit to Belfast in 1995, have a read. Enjoy the cartoon. Brian SpencerBrian is a … Read more

Not a good week for ‘gay cure’ quacks

This week California passed a law banning therapy aimed at making gay teenagers straight. Now Britain’s biggest professional body for psychotherapists, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) has instructed members that it is unethical for them to attempt to “convert” gay people to being heterosexual. The other main professional body for British psychotherapists, the UK Council for Psychotherapy, had issued similar guidance to members back in 2010. The professional guidance comes on top of the BACP withdrawing professional membership from ‘conversion … Read more

A new take on pride and prejudice…

SO fair play to Lord Mayor of Belfast Gavin Robinson for being the first from the DUP to take a seat on the panel of Belfast Pride Talks Back debate. I’m sure he doesn’t feel any less straight the morning after the night before, and the move certainly upstaged the rest of the panel. Whether it actually means anything in terms of their policies remains to be seen. As a mayor for everyone, will Gavin be at the Gay Pride parade, … Read more