Colin Farrell, the beau of Irish cinema and Ballykissangel alum, wrote an open letter to the people of Ireland yesterday to plead for their support in next year’s gay marriage referendum.
Writing in the Sunday World, Farrell spoke with passion and eloquence of his brother Eamon‘s experiences with homophobic bullying. He recalled the bullies who harrassed his brother and the defiance with which Eamon met their hate.
Colin wrote about how he discovered his brother’s sexuality and didn’t see it as unnatural, he felt it was just another aspect of his brother that he felt wasn’t strange.
I think I found out my brother wasn’t grovelling in heterosexual mud like most boys our age when I was around 12. I remember feeling surprised. Intrigued. Curious. Not bi-curious before you start getting ideas.
I was curious because it was different from anything I’d known or heard of and yet it didn’t seem unnatural to me. I had no reference for the existence of homosexuality. I had seen, by that age, no gay couples together. I just knew my brother liked men and, I repeat, it didn’t seem unnatural to me.
The Irish actor wrote of his brother’s confidence and unequivocal determination to not allow his bullies to force him to change.
My brother Eamon didn’t choose to be gay. Yes, he chose to wear eyeliner to school and that probably wasn’t the most pragmatic response to the daily torture he experienced at the hands of school bullies.
But he was always proud of who he was. Proud and defiant and, of course, provocative. Even when others were casting him out with fists and ridicule and the laughter of pure loathsome derision, he maintained an integrity and dignity that flew in the face of the cruelty that befell him.
Colin goes on to wonder if those bullies, those boys who tortured his brother have changed, whether or not they still maintain their homophobic ideas.
I don’t know where those bullies are now, the ones who beat him regularly. Maybe some of them have found peace and would rather forget their own part of a painful past. Maybe they’re sitting on bar stools and talking about “birds and faggots” and why one’s the cure and the other the disease.
He then goes on to speak of Eamon’s marriage, of the happy family he has made with his husband Steven. He peaks of their love and happiness and how they had to travel outside of their home country to make their marriage official.
But I do know where my brother is. He’s at home in Dublin living in peace and love with his husband of some years, Steven. They are about the healthiest and happiest couple I know. They had to travel a little farther than down the aisle to make their vows, though, to Canada, where their marriage was celebrated.
That’s why this is personal to me. The fact that my brother had to leave Ireland to have his dream of being married become real is insane. INSANE.
It is here that Farrell reveals his intentions for this letter; this is a call-to-action for the Irish people. He wants us to stand up and vote; he wants the Irish people to register to vote in the marriage equality referendum and change the course of our history.
It’s time to right the scales of justice here. To sign up and register to vote next year so that each individual’s voice can be heard
How often do we get to make history in our lives? Not just personal history. Familial. Social. Communal. Global. The world will be watching. We will lead by example. Let’s lead toward light.
Join Colin and register to vote for marriage equality before November 25.
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