While I might be a little late to the game I was recently alerted to the anger among some regarding the flying of the rainbow flag at a Limerick Garda Station. I will concede it’s far from ideal that a flag representing a minority of the people should be flown from an apolitical government building. When the day comes that all in Ireland are treated equally then this situation will never again be cause for alarm. The fact that it made national media highlights to me just how necessary a move it is. I am personally delighted and immensely proud that a Garda station in my home city has used their standing in the community to highlight the issue of gay rights. Just 20 years ago it was an offence to be gay in this country, look how far we’ve come and how much further we have yet to go.
I work in what I believe to be an exceedingly mannerly environment and recently debated this with a colleague as he held a door open for me. What we see as chivalry is simply good manners and I gladly exercise the same courtesies regardless of gender, however this gesture, when granted to me should never be at the expense of my right to be treated as a rational person capable of contributing to society as much as the straight white Irish man. The same applies in the case of those who identify as LGBT. This gesture of raising a flag on a celebratory occasion is certainly welcome but I hope we as a nation can rally behind what it stands for and grant anyone under that flag with the respect and responsibilities they deserve.
Until every woman has complete bodily autonomy, until every homosexual person can marry whomever they wish and until every immigrant to our island is afforded equal rights I will continue to applaud any attempt to highlight these issues. Reading the Letters To The Editor of the Irish Times over the past few days one would think our Island demographic is predominantly white Irish catholic men. These letter writers do not represent the majority of society and for that I am relieved. These men know nothing of being denied basic human rights and I emphatically salute any and all attempts to highlight this or any other equality issue to them.