You can’t cure love

Eoin Tennyson is an Alliance Councillor for the Lagan River DEA.  It’s been more than two years since the UK Government published its LGBT Action plan which committed to end the practice of so-called ‘gay conversion’ or ‘reparative’ therapies – a range of denounced, discredited and dehumanising practices which seek to change a person’s sexual orientation or suppress their gender identity. In that time we’ve heard promises repeated by the Prime Minister, but seen little in the way of tangible …

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Trans Rights are Human Rights – Ellen Murray’s Amnesty NI lecture at Belfast Pride

Read or watch back Ellen Murray’s lecture (delivered on Tuesday 30 July as part of Belfast Pride). Under the title ‘Trans Rights are Human Rights’, she examined the international context, foreign opinion on the “worrying” state of public discourse in the UK, the shared history with disabled rights struggles, as well as healthcare, welfare of children, women’s rights and her hopes for trans rights in Northern Ireland.

The end of Catholic Ireland? @ESRCFestivalNI

The end of Catholic Ireland?  by Allan LEONARD 6 November 2018 In what Alan Meban described the event as a symposium (“but don’t say it was in a bar” [The Dark Horse Inn]), Dr Gladys Ganiel, a sociologist of religion from Queen’s University Belfast, laid out quantitative and qualitative findings about the apparent secularisation process in Ireland. This was discussed by fellow panellists Pádraig Ó Tuama (poet, theologian and leader of Corrymeela) and Professor Margaret O’Callaghan (historian, Queen’s University Belfast). …

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When you are not seen as equal in the eyes of the law, it is difficult to feel equal in society and in the workplace. I hope that today will be instrumental in helping to change that inequality.

Denise Hart is Chair of [email protected] in Northern Ireland I’m the Chair of [email protected] in Northern Ireland, the firm’s UK-wide diversity network, so it’s no surprise I feel passionately about LGBT issues and equality. But back in August of 2017, when the Northern Ireland High Court ruled Marriage Equality as a devolved matter and LGBT equality felt further away than ever, I sent what could have been a rather career limiting email to the regional chair of PwC NI. I was …

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Theresa May claims to be a proponent of gay rights, and no doubt she is, in other parts of the UK. In Northern Ireland, however, she is countenance to their denial

By Eoin Tennyson A British Government survey of 108,000 LGBT individuals has affirmed that discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity is still alive and kicking across the UK. Two-thirds of those surveyed fear holding their partner’s hand in public while five percent have been offered controversial “conversion” therapy. These results may shock some in England, Scotland and Wales; but they are all too recognisable for those of us here in Northern Ireland. The Tories’ LGBT Action Plan …

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The Churches are backing themselves into a corner of Northern Ireland’s narrow ground. The laity should take over

Following on from the testimony of  Gerry Lynch and Elizabeth Nelson, it’s  hardly a surprise that the continuing revolution in faith and morals over abortion and  LGBT rights won elsewhere but not here,  is splitting the churches. True to ancient form, the leaderships of the Roman Catholic and Presbyterian Churches are treating what is actually a clash of moralities as challenges to authority.  The Catholics appeal to canon law, the Presbyterians to the Bible. And that is still that. For …

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Christians must break Conservative mould

The Marriage Referendum in May 2015 was a seminal moment in the political and faith life of this island. It was a moment when Irish people chose to celebrate the difference and the diversity of our sons and daughters and, in doing so, defy one of our most enduring stereotypes – as a country of conservative Christians. One of the most heartening characteristics of the campaign for marriage equality was that it did not divide the country between those of …

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Why ignore the Ulster Unionist councillor who single handedly ended criminalisation of gay men?

Very good piece from Finola Meredith in the Bel Tel at the weekend re the proposal to have a stained glass window in City Hall to celebrate Belfast’s LGBT citizens: On the surface, then, this looks like a good news story – and a rare moment of forward-thinking in a place known for its backwardness. Poke a little below the shiny, progressive veneer, however, and you soon discover the same old pettiness and point-scoring. For instance, I was astonished to …

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After the Marriage Equality Veto

The Northern Ireland Assembly voted in favour of opening marriage to couples of the same gender by 53 votes to 52 yesterday, although in our Potëmkin democracy it is unlikely to become law any time soon. Although I have known for several years that this would be an inevitable stage in the road to marriage equality in Northern Ireland, it still felt like a punch in the plexus to finally secure a democratic majority through years of hard work only …

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Coming out. For equality.

Fergal McFerran is the President of NUS-USI, the organisation which represents around 200,000 students in Higher and Further education across Northern Ireland. He tweets @FergalMcFerran. This weekend I did something I was never sure that I’d be able to do. I got on a train and I went home to see my family. This journey home was different to all of the others I’d ever made though. It was different because this time I went home with the sole purpose …

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Another Societal Milestone Passed; What Next for Progressing Ireland?

Last Saturday’s overwhelmingly positive referendum outcome in support of constitutional recognition for same-sex marriage was a great result for progress, equality, liberty, inclusion, rights for everyone and all things good in Ireland. It was a proud and historic moment for Irish society generally and especially for those Irish citizens living in the Republic who had and positively utilised the residential privilege to vote. To think homosexual acts were only decriminalised in the state 22 years ago in 1993… Having found themselves under the repressive moral and …

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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 …

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Yes to Marriage Equality!

Gay people have long been subjected to the nonsensical presumption that they and the activities in which they engage are unnatural; as if the concept of opposite-sex marriage is somehow more natural than the concept of same-sex marriage. This happens to form one of the most popular moral attacks against homosexuality out there. Both types of marriage are non-static social constructs and, thus, both are inherently as natural or unnatural as each other (if one indeed wishes to invoke such a false and meaningless dichotomy as …

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Jim Wells: Has he damaged the DUP? UPDATED

Any hopes that the DUP had that last night’s ill-judged comments by Health Minister Jim Wells would be quickly forgotten appear to be fast receding. If anything the ‘apology’ by Mr. Wells betrays ignorance on the part of the Health Minister more than anything else. Sadly the PSNI have now confirmed that they are now investigating comments made by Mr. Wells’  –  perhaps the new laws suggested by the Ulster Fry would be more appropriate. UPDATE: Tonight (Sunday April 26th, 2015) …

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LGBT issues: Northern Ireland party views – UPDATED

(Updated to include responses from the Ulster Unionist Party and People Before Profit) Research conducted by Ruth McCarthy highlights some stark differences between the parties contesting this years Westminster elections in Northern Ireland on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues. A series of questions were asked: 1a Does your party visibly support LGBTQ equality issues in your party manifesto, on your website and in election campaigning materials? If YES, please give examples. If NO, please state why. 1b Please give …

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Will Ashers Make Me A Cake…? A Sinful Post

A thought experiment…   I woke up yesterday with a bit of a hangover, I had a lot to drink the night before and was fairly drunk (SIN), I was at a friends partying (SIN) for their birthday. We played a drinking game, you might have heard of it, truth or dare? I was asked when I lost my virginity, I said 16 when it was actually 15 (SIN).  To be honest, we were doing some fairly weird shots, one …

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Flegs and Anthems

I was interested to note the Union Flag carefully positioned immediately beside Belfast PUP Councillor Julie-Anne Corr Johnson for her interview with BBC NI’s The View recently. “On one hand they tell us the British identity of Northern Ireland citizens is under threat”, she thundered, “whilst at the same time denying British citizens like me access to British laws and British rights.” The openly lesbian Corr Johnson was objecting to the DUP campaign for a ‘religious opt-out’ to equality laws …

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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 …

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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 …

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