On Saturday 29th, Irish Feminist Network will be marching at Dublin’s 30th anniversary of the Pride parade for two important reasons- to celebrate everything bisexual, transgender, lesbian and gay people have gained in Ireland as well as to still fight for the safety, dignity and rights of those who can’t fully live their lives in the gender and/or sexuality they are comfortable with both within this State and around the world.
Pride is the result of decades of hard work and solidarity by people who wanted social change to arrive in Ireland, not just overseas. That hard work is still being done today by various individuals and community groups.
It can’t be forgotten that same-sex relationships were banned up until 1993 and every year, there’s so many people who leave the country so that family and friends don’t know of their sexual / gender identity or have lost close ties to people they trusted when they came out to them. A lot of us still struggle with our gender or sexual identity either in the educational system, our culture, our religion, the region we reside in as well as other factors that makes it difficult for a lot of children and adults to just be who they are.
The proposed new bill regulating abortion in Ireland falls far short of serious reform, which can only be brought about through changes to the Irish Constitution, writes Clara Fischer
This week, the Irish parliament is debating new abortion legislation, to be enacted before the parliamentary summer break. For anybody familiar with the now infamous Savita Halappanavar case, this should instinctively come as welcome news. Naturally, one would assume that the death of a woman in an Irish hospital – who was denied an abortion despite already miscarrying – should cause moral revulsion and spur Irish legislators into action to prevent such needless tragedy in the future. Moral revulsion there was, with people all over Ireland coming out to protest, holding vigils, sharing their own stories of pregnancies gone wrong, of hurt inflicted by a system that romanticises women as mothers, but turns its back in moments of crisis. And yet, almost eight months later, the Irish government is proposing a law that does nothing to prevent another scenario like the fateful one endured by Ms. Halappanavar.
It’s one of the defining moments in Irish history. A tight-lipped, proud in defeat Padraic Pearse stands stiffly in front of an almost farcically relaxed General Lowe. It was Easter Monday 1916 and the leader of a disastrous uprising had surrendered unconditionally after just four days. It’s a good photograph but there is one thing very, very odd about it. There are three people but eight feet. Elizabeth O’Farrell was actively involved in the 1916 uprising and stood proudly by Padraic Pearse’s side as he delivered his surrender. However, the conservative media of the time didn’t think it was appropriate for a woman to be seen outside the home and erased her from the photograph, but left out – or left in – a tiny pair of details. Nurse O’Farrell’s disembodied feet remain in one of our best known historical photographs as a reminder of all our forgotten heroines.
This is the centenary of the year that gave us our trade unions. Led by James “Big Jim” Larkin, the workers organised and went on general strike for better pay and conditions. The employers then united and locked-out all of their unionised workers. The dispute went on for four months and the Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU) is usually the only group to be credited for the events of 1913. But if behind every great man there is an even greater woman, it follows that behind every army, or union, of great men, there must be an army of greater women.
At least 80,000 people killed. Children detained and tortured. Civilian populations targeted. Bread queues bombed. Rape as a weapon of war…
Each of these snippets is enough to make the blood boil. Unless we’ve heard them before… unless we’re warned that accompanying reports may be ‘unverified’… unless we’re too concerned with our own insular issues… unless these atrocities happen in one of those places where women wear hijabs and deaths are approximate numbers, devoid of names or faces.
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