Equality. Something that it’s fair to say we can lack in Northern Ireland. From my conversations whilst living in England, it’s apparent to me that it’s just assumed N.I must have the same equality that they do here (and you can understand why). It’s a ‘you don’t?!’ response. Usually followed by a lengthy but aiming to be quick reply by me consisting of listing and eye rolling. Then I look at their shocked eyes and scan their body language to see if there’s any indication they’re offended by my liberal points. Not to be judgy, but to gain an understanding of them.
LGBTQ+ Equality is what i’m focusing on in this post of course. With the lack of equality in N.I for this community nothing could be more poignant than the Belfast Pride parade. Literally parading their beautiful diverse glory around Belfast City with an ever increasing crowd of supportive onlookers and cheerer on-ers. Speaking of diversity, the crowds themselves were diverse but most notable were the young rainbow clad kiddies. Worth noting, as the first and previous time I walked in the parade with Atheist N.I in 2015 there were less kids spectating then than now. So really encouraging.
I was really proud to be able to show support in this years parade by walking in it. I don’t pretend to empathise with the daily difficulty that the LGBTQ+ can undeniably and wrongfully face, but I certainly can and do sympathise with them. All humans deserve to be treated with fairness. Be it person to person or government to person, regardless of faith or lack there of. It pains me that there’s so much work to be done here. We’re so far behind our neighbours but one positive to be drawn is that we’re a generation forcing or at least witnessing significant historic change.
A repeating chant from the parade marchers that echoed the hard streets of our city was
“What do we want? – Gay marriage! When do we want it? – Now!”
I joined in.
You know, that’s something I can empathise on. Our court case for legal recognition of Humanist marriages in Northern Ireland. Our legal team who are battling in our case are behind the ongoing case for gay marriage in Northern Ireland and the Attorney General has intervened in both cases. In that respect we share some of the same opposition in our own fight against discrimination.
I can say with conviction that it’s only a matter of time until same-sex marriage is recognised in Northern Ireland because it’s what’s just and deserving and in knowing so, relentless campaigning and pressure is building that can’t be ignored. Change never comes to fruition in our wee archaic microcosm without a fight. Thankfully the rounds have already began.