Does anyone else feel tired of hearing the same-old same old? Does anyone else feel like they’re doing nothing but repeating themselves?
I went to a talk on Tuesday night. It was about a group of Irish people who are being denied a basic right by the Irish state. It is a right which is enjoyed in the vast majority of other European states. The denial of this right was condemned in court years ago. The government, though, has put off legislating on it. Every so often they tell us that legislation is just around the corner. There’ve been consultations and committees and the like for years, but nothing ever seems to come of it. They claim that the issue is complicated and needs expert groups, but don’t seem to listen to the people directly affected by it. In the meantime, being denied this right feels to many like the state interfering in one of the most essential and private things in a person’s life. Those in opposition to this right, however, tend to see it being introduced as a disgrace and an abomination. Their reasons are often based either on religious belief or a lack of understanding of the research around the area. They frequently mischaracterise those looking for this right as childish and frivolous at best, and dangerous and predatory at worst. Those in need of it, on the other hand, say that they’re just needing to have their country recognise that they have the right to choose the course of their own lives.
I’m referring, of course, to the lack of gender recognition legislation in Ireland. Maybe tomorrow I’ll post exactly the same thing about abortion. Maybe next week I’ll change around a few words and talk about immigration. I’m sure that with a quick scan of the morning papers I can come up with something else it’ll fit.
On the one hand, this makes going to demonstrations really easy- you can double up on signs and it’s a cinch to come up with slogans. But, although demos are a great place to meet up with the usual suspects and one of the few times it’s socially acceptable to shout at the top of your voice in public, I’d really prefer having to arrange my social life around something else. I’d be okay with that. I’d take having to find things to see at the cinema or work out what people actually fancy doing of an evening if it meant I was living in a country that respected people’s body sovereignty and right to self-determination.
Instead, we live with that ever-so-Irish response to a problem- ignore it. Ignore it until it’s no longer my problem. Pretend that the people affected by it don’t matter. Promise to deal with it next year and be ever so busy with something else every time someone asks about it. If you’re lucky, you’ll be retired before it comes to a head.
It’s funny. In this country we always hear that it’s the ordinary citizens who are apathetic. We hear that we don’t do anything, and that we should be up protesting against.. whatever it is that is screwed-up this week. It’s funny, because I haven’t seen much apathy here. I’ve seen people working, talking, sharing, protesting, demonstrating, writing letters and articles, discussing and educating. I see that all the damn time. I see people doing that despite all the other commitments in their lives. It doesn’t seem to me that people are apathetic. It seems to me that people aren’t being listened to.
- Memory, Memorials and The Gathering (irishamericancivilwar.com)
- I am ashamed that Ireland’s medieval abortion law still stands | Emer O’Toole (guardian.co.uk)
- Irish People say No More!….. (awakenlongford.wordpress.com)
- Ireland in desperate need of its own set of secular morals and ethics? (sluggerotoole.com)
- Ireland’s Medieval Abortion Law on Liveline (insideview.ie)
- Pushed Through The Cracks: Transgender Lives And Deaths On The Day Of Remembrance (thinkprogress.org)
- Europe has still a long way to go to combat violence against transgender people (dokmz.wordpress.com)
- Guest Post: Rally for Recognition: Identity, NOT Disorder (mamanpoulet.com)
- No timetable for legislation on gender recognition – (misebogland.wordpress.com)