I’ve never been more proud to be an Irish citizen then I am today. I’m proud of each and every person who came out to a polling station today. I’m proud of the campaigners who battled the elements to spread a loving message; of every person who wore their tá or Make Grá the Law merchandise; of the shops who displayed their pride colors with joy and the cafes who used their bulletin boards to spread the love. I’m proud of my people for not being afraid to stand up to oppressors and I’m proud of all; those who stood up to have their voices heard.
I’m particularly proud of my generation (which isn’t something you’ll hear me say everyday) The last few days my social media feeds have been filled with hundreds and hundred of messages from all over the globe. I’ve read gut-wrenching stories of coming out, of being in the closet and of the terror of being afraid to be who you are. I’ve seen horrid advertisements shaming gay people and their families published by organisations who claim to “support” human rights and I’ve seen nothing but hurtful and narrow-minded tactics used by no campaigners. But nothing will outweigh the stories of pride, of true love, of triumph over adversity written by couples, lovers, parents, families and friends that have completely canceled the effects of the cruel words of the no campaigners for me. I’ve learned so much more about the LGBTQ+ community in Ireland and the hardship they face in the last 2 weeks then I have had in the last 20 years of my life and I’ve seen so much love and humility and devotion that I’m positive that one day Ireland can be a positive place to live for everyone. My generation are not the wasters we’re made out to be. We may not have been the most outspoken in the past about the Irish political system but when we’re educated and we’re interested we’ll take to social media and the streets in our droves. (here follows a cry to the Irish educational system to improve our political education in schools. CSPE doesn’t count. Drawing a picture of the Amnesty International logo or matching Barrack Obama’s name to his picture is not education, it’s a joke).
Above everything, my heart soars when I think of the 1000s of people who flew into Ireland in the last 24 hours with the sole purpose of making their vote counts. You are the people I aspire to be like. You are the people who truly show me that love has no bounds and that there is a huge, brightly colored future for my generation. For your dedication I must give you all a huge buladh bós. #hometovote has been used over 72k times in the last 24 hours and the stories it contains fills me with the greatest feelings of hope and pride and love.
Tomorrow we might wake up to a new Ireland. I think no matter what the outcome is, we’ve seen that Ireland can be full of love and hope and I wish that we remember that the next time we feel disillusioned with this funny little island of ours. And if all else fails, we’ll Lisbon it like before and keep voting and campaigning until this country recognizing equality and equal marriage rights for all it’s citizens. As the great Bard said “Love all, trust a few and do wrong to none”
(Image credit: yesequality.ie)