Thursday, November 24, 2005

Lunching for Equality

Today’s lunch to raise funds for the KAL Case and KAL Advocacy Initiative was a very impressive affair. You can read more about the KAL Case and initiative here. A full house in Fire with a veritable who’s who in terms of lgbt glitterati and numerous others. Our table was made up from women from Sapphic Ireland who had clubbed together to buy seats and donate money and also support other women who could not afford the €100 a plate.

It was a very different take on being queer in Ireland. I fully support the KAL initiative, especially the advocacy campaign that is planned to accompany the legal challenge being initiated by Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan. However there were times at the lunch today where I wondered where many of the lunchers were during previous struggles, the Fine Gaelers, the PD’s, and other well off and powerful straight individuals in Irish society.

There is no doubt that Katherine and Ann Louise are a deeply committed and compassionate couple who are well known and highly regarded for their work in human rights, public policy, theology and community development. I would hope that commitment to supporting the campaign from supportive and well connected straight people will be more that financial.

We need more heterosexual allies to speak out and take on the issue of discrimination against lesbian and gay people in Ireland and lesbian and gay relationships. Many of us have walked the walk on divorce, abortion, and so many other issues. I’m not quite saying its payback time, but if hearts and minds and laws and human rights are to change it can’t be queers alone calling for change. This is about so much more than putting your hand in your pocket or going to the drinklink or the chequebook which I think is one of the reasons behind launching KAL in the first place.

The other point of note today were the number of lesbians in the room. Very successful, talented women who are seen at numerous gatherings and social events and operate in many levels and strata of Irish society. Very visible, intelligent and connected women. Pity some of the men have not seen that in terms of developing lgb leadership and maybe in the 21st century there will be less tokenism and more equality in lgb community development and public policy visibility in Ireland.

Roll on the next fundraising event for the KAL Advocacy Initiative in the new year which will be a more accessible and possibly more entertaining monster pub quiz!


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