2015 Is The Year For Us All to Change The Future


As 2015 fully kicks in, we should all resolve to personally shape the outcome of the decisions that directly affect our future, says Rachel Mathews McKay.


We may well be a week into 2015 already, but I think it takes this long to recover from December’s festivities and for the mind fog to start clearing after all the ‘vegging-out’ and gorging.

So Happy New Year and Happy Chinese New Year (February 19) to you all and let’s hope that 2015 will be a good year full of important equality changes, measures and memorable occasions for us all, including a few spectacular long over-due weddings at the end of the year. It’s looking good according to Chinese New Year of the Ram/Goat/Sheep 2015 predictions; socially and economically we’re due to experience great improvements and see radical changes, here’s hoping!

I appreciate that the ‘New Year’ concept of fresh starts and big aspirations can trigger all sorts of mixed emotions, positive and negative. It seems somewhat cruel that we are collectively expected to feel enthusiastic about writing down our big aspirations for the year, or signing up for French classes, or renewing gym memberships while it’s still dark outside and we’re still broke, having spent all our money over Christmas. Obviously there’s a strong argument for increased exercise or intense detox programmes after a commercially supported over-indulge, but the bombardment of media messages and pressure to quit or ‘lose weight immediately’ can be overwhelming.

From experience as an ex-smoker May was a much better month to give up the old cancer-sticks, the sun was shining and I had no problem drinking enough water and eating salad to help counteract the food substitutions and drown out the cravings. And as for my weight – I’m well aware all year round how much extra weight I am carrying, thank you very much, and I’m working on it in my own good time, not just for January.

Having said all of that I personally love the concept of a clean slate, taking a little time to reflect on last year’s successes and learning from the mistakes and losses. As a ‘glass half-full’ kind of a person I tend to be pragmatic about my failings and I put my hand up to several of them last year, including a couple of relationship break-ups, none of which were easy. But I’m always glad of the opportunity and permission to take stock, re-jig and re-evaluate.

I am one of those people who unashamedly loves to make lists and plans, so New Year’s Resolutions are really just an extension of that. I can spend hours day dreaming about my ‘five year plan’, forever tinkering with it and updating it as my CV expands, and every now and then I get carried-away and it turns into playing the ‘What would I do if won the lottery?’ game. Of course, being a stationery lover as well, I take the opportunity to commit these fantasies and constructive plans to decently threaded paper, and purchase a handsomely smart diary and new pen to record all of these golden goals.

This year, like every other, I sat down with my new, clean diary and ink-jet pen and scratched down a few hopes and dreams. Top of the list: Help win the Marriage Equality Referendum, get back in the pool, back on the bike, clear the loans, spend more quality time with friends and family, dust the heartache off, put myself out there and have some fun.

I am happy to say that it’s going well so far – I’ve attended several referendum strategy meetings. I’m hosting a dinner fundraiser to help fill the campaign coffers, I’m slowly reacclimatising my Christmas-podged backside to the bicycle seat and have dusted myself off for a couple of dates with a very lovely lady, I’ll get back to aqua-aerobics next week. I’m convinced that the secret to my kick-start was not just having a plan and beginning its execution, but having the best New Year’s Eve in ages. It started with dinner with one of my best gay boyfriends, who joined me for an all-night dance-off at the Funky Seomra. We shook our ‘thang’ and hugged the New Year in to the merry sound of Pharrell’s ‘Happy’.

The Funky Seomra if you don’t already know is an alcohol and drug free nightclub – maybe it sounds a bit dry to some perhaps and don’t get me wrong I love my craft beers and wine, but this is my kind of nightclub when I’m in the mood for a pure, sweaty, un-adulterated, free-styling dance. No dramas, no messing, no vomiting in the ladies – everyone is there for the natural high of eight hours on the dance floor to an amazing mix of tunes. It took me hours to settle down when I eventually climbed into bed and days to stop humming tunes and bouncing off the walls. It’s on in a few different places around the country every few months and I highly recommend it as a mood-lifter, immune system booster, a libido awakener and a great night out.

On a more serious note I am quietly but not overly confident that this is going to be a great year, not just for me personally but especially for the LGBTQ community and our equality champion allies. In the next few months our legislators will be drafting, amending, debating, passing and proposing some overdue equality measures that can potentially change and improve many of our lives and choices greatly. There is still time and the need to lobby, encourage and support our public representatives as they finalise the Gender Recognition Bill, the Employment and Equality Act Amendment Section 37.1, the Children and Family Relationships Bill and of course roll out the Amendment of the Constitution (Marriage Equality) Bill for the referendum in late April/early May.

While these important measures promise to radically bring us closer to full and equal status with our fellow heterosexual citizens, there are of course still many issues we must keep championing – education, health care, employment rights, protection against homophobic and transphobic violence, sexual health awareness, elderly care, social welfare measures, mental health supports and the list goes on. But rather than just letting these things happen and then being disappointed when they’re not quite what we hoped for, let us engage, interact, write to, email, lobby and shape the outcome of the decisions that affect our futures directly.

My personal resolutions may come to pass or they may not, and I can face being pragmatic about whether I failed to lose the spare tyre or whether the relationship worked out. But I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I cannot bear the thought of us losing these golden equality opportunities. I ask that we all do what we can to ensure their success.



Rachel Mathews McKay


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