Tag Archives: politics

Juno and the Paycock

 

I have a soft spot for this particular play by Sean O’Casey, I never studied it in school but read it all the same. The language of it, the rhythms of speech can still be heard in Dublin today.

I have seen it preformed a few times and have read as Juno in table readings of the play and was offered the role once when I was part of an amdram group but turned it down due to nerves and lack of experience.

I think it’s an important one, esp for women to read, and my favourite of Sean O’Casey’s plays. A friend of mine reminded me of this quote today and  93 years after it was written it is relevant today.

“Maybe, Needle Nugent, it’s nearly time we had a little less respect for the dead, an’ a little more regard for the livin”

Juno and the Paycock by Sean O’Casey

http://www.irishplayography.com/play.aspx?playid=31933

 

Gloria Steinem and #repealthe8th

I was delighted to see images on my twitter feed of Gloria Steinem posing beside the Repeal Projects jumpers and the AimsIreland T shirts.

https://twitter.com/Harmonica26/status/756831226682568705

But I wasn’t one bit surprised. Ms Steinem was one of the Founders and Editors of Ms Magazine and it’s debut issue in December 1972 featured 52 women stating “We Had an Abortion

This action followed on from the French & German Actions of June that year: the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur Published the Manefestio which was orchestrated by Simone de Beauvoir and was sign by 343 women and the Stern Magazine cover is wonderful and 70 women came out about having had an abortion.

VOE STERN 24/1971 BS 1 Titel Titelseite Wir haben  abgetrieben Abtreibung 1971_24 Schlagworte:Zeitschrift, Presse
VOE STERN 24/1971 BS 1 Titel Titelseite Wir haben
abgetrieben Abtreibung 1971_24 Schlagworte:Zeitschrift, Presse

All these actions happened before I was even born, but I knew that if women in Ireland are to have the right to an abortion when we need one, then just like the women in France, Germany and the USA some of us were going to have to go public with our stories. Which is why I chose to start telling my story, which by a quirk of fate was also published in Le Nouvel Observateur

But I was just one person back in 2013 but soon other women started stepping forward, and when I was asked to take part in the X-ile Project it was something I could not refuse.

Women in Ireland have started to come forward to ‘come out’ (as Panti Bliss recently put it) about their abortions, we have done so follow the footsteps of many other brave women, and Gloria Steniem is one of those women. She has shared her story about having to get an illegal abortion.

So I will be keeping an eye out for Gloria Stenism on the Women’s Podcast, I am looking forward to what she has to say about #repealthe8th, I don’t doubt she agrees that we need Free Safe Legal and local abortion services in Ireland.

Proud to be Bisexual

I wrote this after a call out for the Cork Pride Booklet asking for a piece from a Bi person, but due to some confusion over deadlines it won’t be included so I am publishing it here with additions.

 

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I am Proud To Be living in Ireland in the 21 Century, not just the passing of the Marriage Equality referendum but the many more changes I have seen in the last 20 years.

I have very proud of the group of people who have come together as the Bi+ Network and the work which has been done over the last year to bring together, support and increase the visibility of non monosexual people in Ireland. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there are so many of us who are Bisexual, pansexual and bi romantic in Ireland and from all 4 corners of the country.

I am proud of the work I have done as an out Bisexual person, in giving interviews on TV and Radio and of the raising the issue that Marriage Equality effects Bisexual people too on various social media platforms.

I am proud to see a generation of young people who have grown up attending the workshops and groups which BelongTo run all over the countryside being so open about being Bisexual and being so accepting of their peers being Bisexual.

I am proud that so many of our secondary schools have the Stand Up program running in them. That there are positive messages about being LGBT are being heard in many of our schools. That so many rainbow flags were raised on college campuses across the country.

That my own kids have grown up secure knowing that if they turned out to be LGBTQI that they were never have to fear being kicked out of the family or out of home and I hope that this will be the same one day for all teens.

Yes we still have to wait for the the marriage equality legislation to pass through the houses of the Oireacthas, yes there is still work needed on the Gender Identity bill, yes the health care services need to do better when dealing with LGBT clients. But what has been accomplished in the last 20 years makes me so very hopeful.

I was a teenager when homosexuality was decriminalized in Ireland, someone being ‘gay’ was a term mentioned in hushed tones or else there were unkinder words slung at people. Even after the change in the law it has taken a long time for the level of acceptance LGBTQI have to come about but it’s not finished yet.
Bisexual people still have to deal with having our identifies defined by our partners, which is absurd and more often then not we don’t hear the term Bisexual at all in the discourse we see in our media, from print, broadcast and even online media. Which is why the T shirt I wore at the Dublin Pride has the Bisexu Whale on it, if you are unsure how to say the word Bisexual, try pronouncing Bi Sex U Whale first.

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We had just under 50 people walking with the Bi+ Ireland Group at Dublin Pride. It was the 1st time there had been a BI group with a banner, hopefully we will register earlier next year and so not be so far to the back of the parade. The feeling of solidarity was wonderful and so was having people cheer us. Unfortunately I did hear remarks from people as I was the lead steward for our group and walking slightly ahead of the block.

All of the comments came from white men, most of whom given what t shirts they were wearing I am going to assume were also gay men. 4 times I heard the phrase “Bi now Gay later!” also heard  “who let the breeders march” “bisexuals are real?!” and a few more which I won’t repeat. It seems We have a long way to go to combat Biphobia yet.

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These two lovely members ordered Bi Pride flags and wore them, they had people tell them they were wearing the wrong flag, or just be utterly confused about the flag. But we did a huge amount for BiVisiblity by just taking part in the Parade.

So out of all the things I am Proud to be, I am Proud To Be Hopeful that we will as a Society keep moving forward with the acceptance and support for all LGBTQI people.

A mile in our shoes, Canvassing for Yes Equality.

I meet a couple while canvassing this evening, they opened the door exclaiming they were voting yes, and how glad they were to be at home and to be canvassed. They came out, one of them holding their dog, telling me the whole road was voting yes and that they had told friends and family if they wanted to come to their wedding that they had to vote yes.

They were both very emotional to see a group of strangers they didn’t know out asking for a Yes vote for their right to marry. They asked what the response on the doors had been like and how they their nerves would be shot until the result on Saturday. They held hands saying thanking us for caring and canvassing.

There are real people, like this up and down this country of ours who are feeling supported and hopeful, I just hope the result doesn’t dash our hopes and dreams.

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Painting a different picture

They often say a picture is worth a thousand words and certainly pictures help to set the scene, the tone and context of an article. Which is why sometimes images which are paired with articles about abortion be it in the news, magazines or online can be problematic.

Often the go to image is that of a pregnant person. We have all seen them the headless pregnant woman who is 30+ weeks pregnant, is sometimes called the preggo belly shot. Sometimes the image is just a front close up  the preggo belly or other times the image is in silhouette, eliminating the woman from the image entirely.

The problem with those sorts of image it that it distorts the discussion of abortion before it even begins. The vast majority of abortions happen before 9 weeks, when person really has no outward signs of being pregnant at all. They can often be unfortunately paired with a really good pro choice piece.

Some online news outlets have gotten better at the image they choose, from using airplanes, pictures at protests rather then the preggo belly image or one of a distraught women. But how do we bring about a change in what pictures are used?

Often simply asking works. Campus.ie  recently published an article on Repealing the 8th amendment. It was by Tomás Heneghan and a great read but alas it had been paired with the preggo belly image. So Tomás and Campus.ie were asked over twitter could the image be changed; the suggestion was made for the article to have instead a stock image of a positive pregnancy test. And I’m delighted to say it was changed and it is a worth while read. http://campus.ie/surviving-college/politics/why-we-need-remove-eight-amendment

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We are now starting to see a new type of image being used on articles about abortion, that of women telling their stories,  which clearly makes the article and the discussions focused on the woman, her rights and her choice.  Which is why the photograph of Tara who shared her story of travelling staring into the camera brave, defiant and unflinching is such a powerful one.

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http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/tara-they-shouldn-t-have-control-over-my-uterus-1.2089490

This means we are seeing abortion being discussed a very different way in the media in this country, one which no longer promotes stigma and shame, and this creates the space to have different conversations which we have not been able to have before. There will be no going back, we can only hope that our legislators can find a fraction of the courage Tara and other women have had to do and set in motion the referendum to repeal the 8th amendment.

On Being Propositioned

So I was on my way home from spending some time with a friend, you know the fun few hours of tea and chats and conversations that twist and meander, it was late in the evening by the time I went for the bus.

As I strolled along slowing to the bus stop, as I knew I had time to toddle along, a car pulled up along side, I stopped thinking it might be someone who was looking for directions, but instead I got propositioned. I was asked “was I working”, I gave a startled laughed, replied that I wasn’t and the driver pulled off hastily.

I was a lil taken back, after all I didn’t think black combats, a Jack Skellington hoodie would be what sex workers tend to wear, and I tweeted about my experience when I got to the bus stop and while I waited for the bus to arrive.

I had a fair few people shocked and concerned for me and my safety. I hadn’t been worried about my safety, I was on a busy enough street, there were open pubs and shops near by I could have fled too, if I felt I needed to. My whole reaction was one of amusement.

Some people seemed to think I should be upset and disgusted that I had been mistaken for a sex worker, personally I found it funny, esp considering what I was wearing. I hadn’t been in that part of the city for a few years and as I replied to tweets I tried to remember the last time I had been propositioned and yep it was the in the same area.

I have had more upsetting experiences in pubs, and walking down more ‘safe’ and ‘respectable’ areas of Dublin when the polite and restrained inquiries of when I have been propositioned by someone hoping I was a Sex Worker.

I don’t have an issue with someone who engages in Sex Work, their body, their choice. The only thing I would wish for them is that, they choose to do so of their own free will and are not compelled to do so.

I know that there are those who ID as Feminist who have have huge issues with Sex Work and I read this yesterday which prompted me to write this blog.

http://bornwhore.com/2012/12/07/hey-baby-how-much-stop-blaming-sex-workers-for-street-sexual-harassment/

I have to say I agree, the type of street harassment I have experienced, from verbal right up to sexual assault would never be something I would connect to Sex Work and I think it’s wrong to try connect the two.

 

 

 

 

 

Corcaigh Abú; Cork City Council passed a motion to support a referendum to Repeal the 8th amendment

Given the title of this blog, there maybe ancestors spinning in graves down in Kerry, but credit where it’s due.

Late last night during a 5 hour session, in which topics as varied as the lack of librarians to new cycle lanes were tackled after the summer recess, Cork City Council passed a motion to support a referendum to Repeal the 8th amendment to the Constitution.

 

 

The motion was narrowly passed, making Cork City Council the first brave set of counselors to make such a call. Over the last 12 months County Councils all over the country, have passed motions in support of a referendum on Marriage Equality, setting precedent for this type of motion.

The 8th Amendment Article 40.3.3 which is 31 years old restricts doctors from offering health care that women need and has seen over 160,000 women have to travel to the UK and increasingly women risking the 14 years possible jail sentence as laid down in the Protection of Life in Maternity law last year.

The 8th amendment is also responsible for the high court being able to make drastic care orders like those which were imposed on Miss Y. “This amendment is incapable of adaptation to human needs. It’s broken. It’s dead. It needs to come out.” stated Mairead Enright of Lawyers for Choice at a meeting to build a coalition to Repeal the 8th amendment last Saturday, it seem Cork City Council is in agreement with this.

We want to thank those brave, compassionate 12 Councillors who passed this motion and those who voted them into office in the last local election. It is going to take more brave and compassionate people taking action to make this referendum happen, you can take part by signing The Abortion Rights Campaign’s petition to repeal the 8th amendment, by taking the National Women’s Council of Ireland action to contact your TDs telling them you want the 8th amendment repealed and by joining us on the March for Choice on the 27th of September.

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Who is most at risk due to ‘Care’ in our Maternity services?

We know that our maternity services are dangerously under staffed, we know there are no national polices for screening and there are other national policies which are also  lacking. It is not just a case of doctors differ and patients die, it is that depending on where you are in the country, the level of ‘Care’ and the consistency of ‘Care’ varies greatly, even in the same units but from week day to weekend.

But it varies even more so if you are woman who is from a minority in Ireland, this has been born out by the National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre Severe Maternal Morbidity Report 2011


As Sinéad Redmond   a maternity rights activist and an AIMS Ireland committee member said

“This is a link to the National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre Severe Maternal Morbidity Report 2011. Page 10 points out that maternal morbidity (severe maternal medical complications occurring during pregnancy, delivery and the post-natal period) occurred disproportionately among Traveller women and women of colour.

These women also die during pregnancy, delivery and the post-natal period in disproportionate amounts to their representation in the Irish population.

There appears to be no work in progress or completed (or suggested, that I’m aware of) to investigate the causes of this (institutional racism is of course an obvious one, as was apparent in the ‘care’ given to Bimbo Onanuga), and thus no attempts underway to tackle this. ” 

Bimbo Onanuga,

Dhara Kivlehan,

Nora Hyland,

Savita Halappanavar  

All of these women died in a 3 year period, while in the ‘Care’ of our ‘world class’ Maternity services. Their deaths have caused by medical mis adventure, or failure in basic care. I do not think they are the only ones, but these are 4 which we have heard about due to their loved ones insisting on an inquest and investigation.

Ireland is more diverse then it was 15 years ago, but it seems that institutional racism is happening in our health services. I had hoped that we would do better when it came to dealing with people of a range of backgrounds who are here to be part of our society and to raise to have their families.

Aims Ireland has been doing it’s best to point out where our maternity services falls short but it seems that again this is a story which the media is not interested in covering.

 

Which every way you decide to vote please go vote.

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Voting is important, the more people in your housing estate which are registered and bother to go and collect a ballot, not matter who they vote for or even if they spoilt the vote, it’s noted. The level of participation does make a difference when it comes to allocating resources. It will take 5 to 10 minutes out of your day to to go trade your polling card for your ballot and then what you do with it, it is up to you.