Je suis Charlie, je suis heterosexual, je suis homosexual, je suis bisexual, je suis transexual
The above are labels invented by society to describe the sexual identity of the various groups within that society. It’s society’s way of differentiating between the sexes – heterosexuality being seen as the ‘norm’ because it brings together a man and a woman in a conjugal relationship that leads to the propagation of the species. The present debate over the marriage referendum in Ireland, where voters will go to the polls on May 22nd, 2015 to vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ on the issue of same sex marriage, that ‘marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex’ has in recent weeks developed into an argument on surrogacy rather than same sex relationships – the argument being that a child is entitled to woman and a man as parents, not two men or two women. In other words, the ‘norms’ are being challenged. And isn’t it time that the norms were challenged, for, as norms go, it’s obvious that society has failed and failed miserably when it comes to sexual orientation. The image of the family put forward by the Catholic Church as the reason why same sex unions don’t work isn’t convincing. A child should have a Mother and a Father they say, so that the child can lead ‘a normal life.’ This is a fallacy. A great number of children raised by heterosexual couples lead anything but normal lives, many of them being subjected to mental and physical abuse not just by parents, but also relatives, teachers and church leaders and all those who prey on the more vulnerable members of society. we continue to propagate this ‘myth’ of the family as being a Mother and Father, without ever investigating the reality that lies at the heart of that myth. The fact is, many individuals from so-called normal families lead anything but normal lives, many of them suffering from depression or suicidal tendencies, not to mention all the other mental and physical ailments forced on them as a result of having to suppress their sexual identity. I knew from an early age that I was bisexual, that I was attracted to men and women as individuals rather than by reason of their sex. Coming from a theatre background, over the years, I have worked with many ‘so-called’ gay individuals. As far as I was concerned, they were the same as I was, except they were not seen as the same by heterosexuals. When I think back now to the kinds of abuse these individuals were subjected to, being called ‘queer’ or ‘camp’; being laughed at for a ‘mincy’ way of walking or talking; women referred to as a ‘a bit of a collar and tie job’ and men called ‘poofs’ or ‘faggots’; or men and women who were viciously attacked for being gay and all of this accepted by society with a snigger so that so-called normal types could think themselves superior. Now here we are fifty years later and the debate still rages on with this ‘holier than thou’ attitude not just from the Church but from heterosexuals who regard themselves as better. Who told them they were better, or gave them the right to look down on others? It seems to be acceptable for heterosexuals to engage in the most obscene sexual practices (witness Fifty Shades Of Grey) with women being abused fore and aft whereas two men or two women in a loving relationship is seen as some kind of a sexually aberrant condition or disorder. The disorder, I would suggest, lies within society as it stands in that it is unable to accept that men and women come in all shapes and sizes, gendered or otherwise, a fact that’s been with us since the beginning of time. So I, for one, will be voting ‘Yes’ in the referendum on same sex marriage this coming Friday, May 22nd 2015, because I want society to change the way it thinks. I want everyone to be made equal in the eyes of the law, regardless of their sexual orientation.