Former Rose Gets Thorns Out For Northern Ireland

Former Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh has blasted Northern Ireland's record on LGBT rights saying “on this island not all 32 counties are deemed equal.”


Speaking in the Irish Independent, Walsh, who has worked for children’s rights charity Plan International Ireland since 2015, said that despite having a gay leader, people are often unaware of the true status of marriage equality across the island of Ireland.

“He [Varadkar]’s great advocate for that (LGBT rights), but you are often quite ignorant when people say ‘your island passed a referendum in 2015’. Your reply is ‘no the Republic passed it’. Unfortunately we have a little bit more work to do up North.”

Walsh, who was the first ever openly gay Rose when she took the crown in 2014, said that communities on opposing side of the debate will be engaging in beneficial discussions on the subject.

“Some communities are so divided by that and it is just so funny that right over our border it can be very different but that is the case and in other countries, it is very different. That is a good conversation point over the next year or two,” she added.

The Rose of Tralee competition, an annual ‘lovely girls‘ style contest which takes place in the titular Kerry town each year, was hit with controversy in February following reports that trans women were barred from taking part in the contest.

Contest organisers later dismissed the reports on Twitter, tweeting that The Rose of Tralee competition “does not ban transgender women” and that “transgender women are welcome to apply.”

© 2017 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

0 comments. Please sign in to comment.