As the March for Choice approaches , we asked some members of the Irish LGBT+ community why they are pro-choice and why it’s important to get out and march. The response we received was overwhelming, below some of them tell us how they feel.
Clodagh Leonard (Dublin Pride Chairperson)
Repealing the 8th amendment is a movement towards an Ireland that respects autonomy and the right to self-determine. These are similar objectives that have driven the fight for equality within the LGBTQ+ community.
Everybody deserves a life that they shape for themselves, one free from societal expectations or control.
This is a feminist issue but it would be remiss of us as a community to ignore that impact it has on LBTQ+ members of our community. Particularly trans men who can have an additional barrier when seeking abortions and information around reproductive health.
Repealing the 8th amendment will rid so many people in this country of the stigma and silence that has been forced on them by having to travel and hide. That’s why I will be marching on the 30th and believe everyone else should too.
Will St Leger from LGBT+ For Choice
The campaign for LGBTQ+ rights and reproductive freedom have been historically aligned.
In 1993, Ireland decriminalised laws which punished sexual activity between men of the same sex. Yet the Irish government continues to criminalise LBTQ+ people by making it a criminal offence to have an abortion except when there is “a real and substantial risk” to the woman’s life.
In the largest LGBT survey conducted in Ireland, More than 90% of respondents agree that the LGBT community should support equality for other groups who experience discrimination. Adding, that the only issue of significance which was raised by respondents as an answer is ‘Repeal the eighth amendment’ or a call to liberalise Ireland’s abortion laws beyond the X Case ruling. (Burning Issues 2, 2016)
We believe that marching with other organisations with similar beliefs and objectives sends a powerful message to Government and the wider public.
It’s time to Act. Repeal the 8th.
Niall Sweeney (Designer)
28 years ago I was working in the US around the time the famous Women’s March On Washington took place, for which Barbara Kruger produced her powerful poster “Your body is a battleground”, and it seemed to be suddenly everywhere, in every city and street, shop window, community centre and t-shirt (and in different languages).
That poster — and its words — have been ringing in my eyes and ears ever since. For me, they not only speak of the “right of every woman to make her own reproductive choices”, but of everyone’s right to bodily autonomy, and the State’s responsibility to provide support, care and respect for that right.
Marching together is a very powerful act, as it presents an undeniable greater body, one that is made up of real flesh and bones, but also a community of collective principles and values. Marching, in essence, is about doing the right thing for people. This is the moment to march right through one of the most significant thresholds of our time.
Derrick Carberry (Make-Up Artist)
I am pro-choice because a pregnancy should never be mandatory. Denying a woman of her right to choose is a reprehensible and violent attempt to control her body. There are many reasons as to why a woman may not be capable of carrying a fetus, should not carry a fetus, or simply does not want to carry a fetus. These reasons, however, should not matter.
Which life has more value and who has the right to decide a pregnancy that very well may kill a woman with preeclampsia, a fetus resulting from a rape, or the fetus of a woman who is unable to afford prenatal care? It’s, of course, that woman’s right to decide”.
I feel it’s very important for like-minded pro-choice people all across the country to march together this Saturday to hopefully bring out a positive result in the referendum to help many women in the future make this process somewhat less stressful and they feel supported no matter what tough decisions they have to make.
Phil Boyle aka Ghostboy (Mother DJ)
Many years ago a friend confided in me that she was going to the UK for an abortion, and I witnessed the additional stress and fear that having to travel abroad and back again caused her.
It’s to our shame as a society that we’ve allowed this “export the problem” solution to persist for so long.
Abortion should be free, safe and legal in Ireland. The time for change is now. Please join the March for Choice on the 30th.
Ailbhe Smyth, LGBT+ and Womens’ Rights Campaigner
It’s important for all of us to be out there the March for Choice because what we’re fighting for is equality, freedom, justice; simply the right to make our own decisions about ourselves and our lives, and that’s something that LGBT+ people know so well. Now it’s time for us to say, ‘No more telling women what to do when they’re pregnant.‘ Women need to be able to make their own decisions and their own choices. I say, let’s all get out there to support women and to fight for the kind of country and the kind of society that we need, where equality and freedom and justice are truly valued.
You can read about why more Irish LGBT+ people think it’s important to march here.
The 6th Annual March for Choice takes place on Saturday, September 30, assembling at the Garden of Remembrance on Parnell Square from 1.30pm.
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