TV3’s Ursula Halligan has come out as gay and is calling for a Yes in the upcoming marriage referendum.
The political editor for TV3, Ursula Halligan has written an opinion piece in The Irish Times which was published this morning; in the piece, she reveals her sexuality and how difficult it was to come to terms with.
“Emotionally, I have been in a prison since the age of 17; a prison where I lived a half-life, repressing an essential part of my humanity, the expression of my deepest self; my instinct to love.”
In the piece, Halligan reveals how she repressed her sexuality for fear of repercussions from the age of 17, quoting a diary she had as a teenager.
At 17, she wrote: “‘I have been so depressed, so sad and so confused. There seems to be no one I can turn to, not even God. I’ve poured out my emotions, my innermost thoughts to him and get no relief or so-called spiritual grace. At times I feel I am talking to nothing, that no God exists. I’ve never felt like this before, so empty, so meaningless, so utterly, utterly miserable.'”
The 54 year-old admits that she poured herself and her emotions into work and studying so she wouldn’t have to reveal her innermost thoughts, to herself or anyone else. She reveals how she watched her siblings grow up and get married, taking for granted that they had the opportunity to do so.
“It’s a part that heterosexual people take for granted, like breathing air. The world is custom-tailored for them. At every turn society assumes and confirms heterosexuality as the norm. This culminates in marriage when the happy couple is showered with an outpouring of overwhelming social approval.”
She also says that, were it not for the referendum, she perhaps would not have had the courage to come out.
“The game-changer was the marriage equality referendum. It pointed me toward the first option: telling the truth to anyone who cares.”
Ursula Halligan calls for a yes vote as a Catholic and as a gay woman, hoping that its passing would end institutionalised homophobia.
“If Ireland votes Yes, it will be about much more than marriage. It will end institutional homophobia. It will say to gay people that they belong, that it’s safe to surface and live fully human, loving lives.”
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