Maria Walsh emphasises unity in LGBT+ struggle as part of the Call It Out campaign

MEP and former Rose Maria Walsh reflects on past battles and highlights the importance of united struggle at the launch of the Call It Out campaign

Maria Walsh states that biphobia, homophobia and transphobia is not okay, as part of the Call It Out campaign
Image Source: Maria Walsh stands against biphobia, homophobia and transphobia as part of the Call It Out campaign

Crowned the first LGBT+ Rose of Tralee in 2014, and elected to European Parliament for Midlands North-West last week, Maria Walsh has broke boundaries in various spheres. At the launch of the Call It Out campaign, she called for all LGBT+ people to stand in solidarity with another, mirroring past struggles in Ireland.

Led by the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) and the Hate and Hostility Research Group of the University of Limerick (HHRG), the campaign aims to explore and break down biphobia, homophobia and transphobia in Ireland. Walsh emphasises that the act of ‘calling it out’ isn’t about “finger pointing at every little minute detail” but rather acknowledging that the “side glances” and “comments” do build up and “chip away at someone’s personality”.

Maria Walsh also notes that “if we are not a part of the solution, if we are not part of the team that calls it out, we are never going to progress and protect our community members, as well as our allies. It’s all about working together.” She emphasises the particular prevalence of transphobia in Irish society today, and calls for wider members of the LGBT+ community to stand up for transgender and non-binary people “like they did for us, as a community member for Marriage Equality” – the LGBT+ community should always be one of acceptance and solidarity, and we cannot accept our allies to support our struggles unless we are there for one another.

Walsh also takes the time to honour activists of the past, especially 19th century poet and playwright Oscar Wilde, who faced a prison sentence for “gross indecency” (homosexuality) just months after the debut performance of his masterpiece The Importance of Being Earnest. Next to his statue, she points out that “it’s great when we have our past, we have our present, and we’re talking about our future”. To Walsh, Wilde represents “how far we’ve come, and then how far more we have to go”.

On Wednesday, June 5, GCN – in conjunction with TENI and the Call It Out campaign (#CALLITOUT) – will host an evening of conversation exploring the complex and multifaceted nature of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia as experienced by LGBT+ people in today’s Ireland.

Project Arts Centre will play host to this vital event, which will include presenter, broadcaster and fashion designer Brendan Courtney, Ellen Murray from TENI, Paddy Smyth from My Disabled Life amongst the panellists.

Admission is €5/€3 unwaged/Student and proceeds will be in support of GCN and TENI. There will also be a limited amount of Call It Out merchandise up for grabs for ticket holders including the beautiful Call It Out T-shirts.

Tickets to the event are available here.

For more information, visit www.callitout.ie.

If you would like support on this issue, you can contact the following:
LGBT Ireland Helpline: 1890-929539
Gender Identity Family Support Line: 01-9073707
Gay Switchboard: 01-8721055
Dublin Lesbian Line: 01-8729911

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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