I usually use a keyboard as a means of conveying my vehement belief that one should always co-ordinate their socks with their pocketsquare, etc., but with a rather important event just two days away, I feel it only right that I use my voice to tell all of my fashion friends why I will be voting Yes in the Marriage Referendum this Friday.
Growing up, I always felt a little bit, shall we say, different. I enjoyed theatre, music and art, and was more likely to know my way around a Steps routine than I would around a football pitch (some things never change, eh?). But, nonetheless, the love and support of my family didn’t make me feel different, it made me feel special. It made me feel unique. It made me feel almost invincible. My family never questioned me, they never forced any ideals upon me, they just let me, be me. I knew that when I was a ‘grown-up’, I couldn’t wait to have that family for myself too.
As I got into my teen years, and started to question the possibility that I was gay, that sense of security that my family had always provided began to diminish. While it was still very much present, it was outweighed by an overwhelming, stomach-churning onslaught of fear. If I was gay, how could I get married? How could I have a child? How could I bully my best man Cormac into wearing a lavender tie at my wedding? All of these things that I had grown up wanting and aspiring to achieve suddenly began to evaporate, and I saw myself destined to a world of solitude and regret. Not much craic, am I right?
Of course, fast forward a few years to a summer spent in Paris for college and, low and behold, I came out. Everyone rejoiced. Fears, pain, that unsettled stomach, all washed down with a fresh attitude and a few blue WKD’s (hey, it was the noughties). My family were amazing, my friends were feigning shock (Drama and French in Trinity and an affinity to Beyoncé? Come on), and I finally felt like my full and fearless self.
But, these past few months, that unsettled stomach began to resurface, and a few Motilium and a flat 7up just wouldn’t seem to cut it. That fear of not fulfilling my childhood aspirations slowly clawed its way back into my psyche, and I couldn’t help but feel a little bit annoyed with myself for allowing it to do so.
However, if the Marriage Referendum doesn’t pass on May 22nd, then I, essentially, won’t fully feel like myself yet again. I always strive not to compare myself to others, but when that comparison comes down to basic equality and fundamental rights, then I guess in the context of my friends and family, I will feel like a lesser person.
Hearing people proclaim exhausted views of surrogacy, the rights of children etc., all seems rather arbitrary, especially when government and children’s charities fully support a Yes vote. Ultimately, as the Yes campaign has so excellently illustrated, this referendum is about equality, and about my right to marry a man should one ever have a tolerance high enough to inhale hairspray on a daily basis, and, subsequently, my right to slut drop to Single Ladies and mean every word I sing in its full, marital context.
Hearing my family talk to everyone they know about the importance of a Yes vote is truly inspiring, and I couldn’t be prouder of them. Dad wears his badge with pride, my mother flaunts her Yes tote around Malahide like it’s a Chanel, and Vanessa is one step away from turning her Yes badge into a Swarovski ring and hoops set. Once again, my family is supporting me. And I hope that come this weekend, I’ll know that I can have that same familial unit someday, in a full, equal capacity.