Writing in the Irish Times today, broadcaster and journalist Ursula Halligan has said that next week’s referendum on same-sex marriage has encouraged her to be open about her sexuality, reports The Journal.
She also encourages people to vote Yes because it would “say to gay people that they belong, that it’s safe to surface and live fully human, loving lives.”
She quotes from her diary, written as a 17-year-old in 1977:
“These past few months must have been the darkest and gloomiest I have ever experienced in my entire life. There have been times when I have even thought about death, of escaping from this world, of sleeping untouched by no-one forever. I have been so depressed, so sad and so confused.”
She goes on to describe a sense of loss because she hasn’t experienced the same social approval as her siblings:
“For me, there was no first kiss; no engagement party; no wedding. And up until a short time ago no hope of any of these things. Now, at the age of 54, in a (hopefully) different Ireland, I wish I had broken out of my prison cell a long time ago. I feel a sense of loss and sadness for precious time spent wasted in fear and isolation.”
“If Ireland votes Yes, it will be about much more than marriage. It will end institutional homophobia. It will say to gay people that they belong, that it’s safe to surface and live fully human, loving lives. If it’s true that 10 per cent of any population are gay, then there could be 400,000 gay people out there; many of them still living in emotional prisons. Any of them could be your son, daughter, brother, sister, mother, father or best friend. Set them free. Allow them live full lives.”
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