'Pixel' and Caoimhe Do Not Have A Political Agenda


Far from being a political bashing stick, the ‘Pixel’ and Caoimhe video for Newstalk is about the basic human right to have your love respected, whether you are gay or straight, says Brian Finnegan.


Seemingly the social media trolls have it in for ‘Pixel’, the teacher who pixelated her face in a video with her female partner, Caoimnhe, when entering a Newstalk wedding competiton. Pixel didn’t want to be identified by her employers, a Catholic institution that has the legal right to fire her for being gay under Section 37.1 of the Employment Equality Act.

According to a story in The Irish Times, Pixel and Caoimhe are “taken aback by the scale of the backlash” from social media commentators, who say the couple are deliberately using the competition with a political agenda.
Interviewed for the piece, Pixel said she now believes it was “naïve” of her and Caoimhe to enter the competition, and that it was “never meant to be a political bashing stick”.

The confusion here, I think, is between political agendas and basic human rights. I am making the assumption that the people complaining about Pixel and Caoimhe have the comfort of taking for granted their human right to remain securely employed even though they are heterosexual. Of course, not all gay people are discriminated against by the shameful Section 37, but the very notion that a person who just happens to be gay can be discriminated against in any sector of Irish employment has an effect on all gay people, and all of our society.

In the Newstalk competition, couples were asked to lipsynch to songs in a YouTube style. Pixel and Caoimhe’s video is supremely clever, because it not only highlights the basic human right to be employed without fear of dismissal because of who you are, but in using the song ‘Everybody Needs Somebody’, from the film The Blues Brothers, it clearly states, in advance of the Same-sex Marriage Referendum, that all love is the same, and that all love deserves to be equally valued and respected. The chorus of their friends, holding up signs that say ‘# Everybody Needs Somebody To Love’, represents the support of right thinking people for a Yes vote in the referendum.

The media might be talking about a backlash, but I’ve searched Twitter and Facebook and the vast majority of comments are in support of Pixel and Caoimhe, while denouncing Section 37. This gives me hope that the majority of Irish people see equality of LGBT people as a basic human right.

I agree with Pixel and Caoimhe that their video is not a “political beating stick”. Section 37 enshrined the denial of a basic human right into our laws. Is it political to demand a human right? Are we being political if we say we deserve equality as citizens of this country? I don’t think so.


Watch ‘Pixel’ and Caoimhe’s #OpenToAll competition entry. Vote here.

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