Foreign Policy Magazine’s 2015 100 Global Thinkers Event Takes Place In Washington

tumblr_nyqvppkxeq1rar94xo1_1280The Foreign Policy Magazine’s 2015 100 Global Thinkers event took place on Tuesday, December 1 in Washington. Coming before the Foreign Policy’s annual 100 Global Thinkers issue, the event surrounded a panel discussion entitled, “The Fourth Unsolvable Problem: The Future of Activism”.

Global Thinkers on the panel included supermodel Andreja Pejic, WITNESS’ Associate Director of Communications and Engagement Matisse Bustos-Hawkes, activist Jim Obergefell, rapper Sonita Alizadeh, photographer Robin Hammond, artist Adejoke Tugbiyele and co-founder and executive chairman of GiveDirectly Michael Faye.

 

 

 

 

 

My Thoughts On The Marriage Equality Referendum

Tomorrow it is going to be a huge day in Ireland. A huge day for politics and a day when hopefully love, positivity and equality will win out over negativity. Of course I’m talking about The Marriage Referendum which will be taking place.

I remember the first time I realised that gay people couldn’t get married in Ireland. I was about 11, 12, 13 and I was writing a story and my main character was getting married to his boyfriend and my sister had to tell me that it wasn’t in the law. And I remember been incredibly sad about that. It had just never crossed my mind that stopping two people of the same sex from marrying would be a law or be even allowed to be a law. It was an eye-opener to the horribleness and prejudice that existed in laws and from then I’ve been on the Yes side but it’s only now I can do something about it.

I have heard so much about the No side feeling persecuted during the campaign. I find it quite amusing and ironic considering I don’t think the No side knows the meaning of the word persecution. Every time I see a No poster I get a pang of pain in my stomach. It’s just been faced with that moment each time of knowing there is people who campaign to stop people from been happy. There is just something so cold and distant about a person who could believe that two people in love who want to get married shouldn’t be able to because the person they love is the same sex. It feels like they have a lack of goodness and I know that because someone from the Yes side would hate themselves if they thought like that. I certainly would. On the other hand every time I see a Yes poster I feel happy because there is people who campaign for goodness, love and equality and thankfully for me there is more Yes posters up in Bray! Although two of the Yes posters have been vandalised by black marker with one saying “No” and the other saying “No. Bad Example.” As much as I hate seeing the No posters I’d never write on them. Didn’t like that sort of behaviour at all.

I do have to comment about something I read someone from the No side saying recently. Something along the lines of christians been persecuted if the Yes vote wins. I think that is a ridiculous comment. I’m Catholic and I am certain that not everyone thinks we are all against everything. After all the majority of the Republic of Ireland is Catholic so if the Yes vote goes through I think it’s safe to say a good lot of the voters who would have voted Yes would have been Catholic.

I remember hearing a guy I knew once who was gay talking about his future wedding. I think the guilt hit home with me because I don’t really mind either way whether I marry or live with the man of my dreams when I meet him but he did. And I found that upsetting because I had that choice and he didn’t and he clearly wanted to marry more than I did. It isn’t right. An adult should that choice regardless of their sexuality. We all have the right to happiness and by voting No people are attempting to take that happiness away from people. And there is no excuse, whether it is religion or whatever the reason is, for taking that away from people. Obviously everyone is entitled to their opinion but we are also all entitled to dislike a person for an opinion they might have when it’s as serious as this is and it’s difficult for me to like a person who could do that to another human being while they are happy and it not even flicker on them. Of course I’d be polite to a No supporter and I’d like to think that they’d be nice to me too but I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t be hanging out, let’s put it that way.

We are all born equal and we are still all equal even when we aren’t always treated as such and while I don’t know what it is like to be made feel unequal in terms of my sexuality I know what it is like in so many ways that I have lost count. Tomorrow people of Ireland let’s do this. Let’s make Ireland equal for everybody of every sexuality. Let’s do away with this prejudice law set up years upon years upon years ago. Let’s be kind, decent people. Let’s vote Yes. I certainly know I will be.

Children’s books featuring gay families to be destroyed

It’s really sad to see prejudice like this still existing. Children need to know that there is many kinds of families in this world and that they are all amazing and perfectly normal. Diversity and family are two of the most wonderful things in our universe. We need to celebrate that. Not destroy it.

simple & gayforward

I’m deeply disappointed by the news I came across on Yahoo! Singapore that our National Library are going to destroy some children’s books that depict families with gay parents.

What happened:

Two children’s books ‘And Tango Makes Three‘ and ‘The White Swan Express‘ were removed after a member of the public, a Teo Kai Loon, had e-mailed the National Library Board (NLB) voicing his concerns about them.

A Yahoo! News Singapore article reported that:

… In supposedly two days, NLB responded to Teo’s e-mail complaint, stating that the books have been withdrawn following his feedback. NLB emphasised that it “takes a strong pro-family stand in selecting books for children” and “when library visitors like yourself [Teo] highlight to us any conflicting content within books, we review such books thoroughly and withdraw them from circulation”.

The response was signed by Tay Ai Cheng, the assistant chief executive…

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The Garth Brooks Saga!

I feel terrible for the residents living in the Croke Park area with this whole Garth Brooks saga. There clearly wasn’t permission for five concerts and tickets were sold for two concerts that there wasn’t permission for. This is a rights issue. The rights of the little people like myself. A small group of people up against some government pressure, businesses looking for the money which will come if the event is staged and Garth Brooks and the promotion staff hoping that the laws which are there will be overridden for him to play the five shows.

Yes there is a big windfall coming into the country if the concerts go ahead but I don’t really care. I don’t believe in selling out on the people like myself simply because I don’t live in the area for any windfall.

Of course I feel sorry for the people who were looking forward to the night out but I don’t believe in walking over peoples’ rights. If these concerts are all granted where will it end? Will big stars get ten nights in a row next?

I do feel that our reputation has been tarnished a bit in the concert realm. But it isn’t the residents I blame for that. The rules were clearly in place before the tickets were sold and them two shows should never have been sold. Hopes of many Garth Brooks fans should not have been raised when the planning permission wasn’t there for the two shows.

 

Ashers Baking Company Refused To Bake Wedding Cake For Gay Couple

A Christian-run bakery in Antrim called Ashers Baking Company refused to bake a wedding cake with a slogan supporting gay marriage and now face a discrimination case in court. The bakery refused to bake the cake which would have featured the Sesame Street puppets, Bert and Ernie for a gay rights activist. The customer also wished for the cake to have the logo of a Belfast-based campaign group called “Queerspace”. Ashers Baking Company could now face legal action from the North’s Equality Commission and the watchdog assured that it was assisting the customer and has written to the baking company on his behalf.

The Alliance councillor Andrew Muir hosted an International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia which was the event the cake was ordered for and said he was in complete support of the action taken against the bakery.

“Businesses should not be able to pick and choose who they serve. There would not be any debate if the cake had depicted an anti-racism or anti-ageism slogan, nor should it require intervention from the Equality Commission for this cake for Anti-Homophobia Day. It is ridiculous for this bakery to suggest that they would have to endorse the campaign.”

He told how another bakery in Bangor stepped in and accepted the order for the cake.

He also said:

“For Northern Ireland to prosper and overcome our divisions we need a new society where businesses are willing to cater for all, regardless of religious views, political opinion, disability, race, age, sexual orientation, marital status, gender and other backgrounds.”

Gavin Boyd, a gay rights campaigner with the Rainbow Project in Northern Ireland also said,

“It is because of sexual orientation that the company decided not to print this. The law is really clear. You cannot pick and choose which sides of the law apply to you. If you are a company that is trading out there in the market place and someone comes to you, you can’t pick and choose whether or not to fulfil that order based on their sexual orientation.”

The Christian Institute, who have said the request for the cake was made in May by a “volunteer LGBT activist”, said it is in support of the bakery because,

“The case proves the need for the law to reasonably accommodate family-run businesses with firmly held beliefs”.

The charity also said:

“When the order came through to the head office, the manager and directors decided to decline the request on conscience grounds, and offered a full refund.”

The Equality Commission is reported to have told the firm that not printing the cake is discrimination.

Daniel McArthur, general manager at the bakery, told the Belfast Telegraph:

“We thought that this order was at odds with our beliefs. It certainly was in contradiction of what the Bible teaches. I feel if we don’t take a stand with this case, then how can we stand up against it further down the line?”

Colin Hart, the director of the Christian Institute, said:

“There won'”All the McArthurs want is to run their bakery according to their Christian beliefs. There won’t be many situations where they need to turn down an order but this is obviously one of them. No one should be forced to use their creative skills to promote a cause which goes against their consciences.”

I hope works out well for the customer and his partner. It must be awful to be treated like that at any time but especially you are planning one of the biggest and happiest days of your life.

I’m Catholic and I’m not like the people in the bakery who declined the order so I never understand why people always bring their religion into it to get out of blatantly trying to treat people differently based on their sexuality. And I don’t agree with all that about the Christians in these situations been treated in an unequal fashion. That would only be the case if a Christian was treated unequally without first treating other people unequally because of their sexual orientation. It is ridiculous in my opinion to attack people unfairly and then turn around and act like you are the one been attacked. There is consequences to doing things wrong and been cruel to people. You can’t go around treating people differently thankfully and get off scot-free. Imagine living in that kind of a world. Any decent person would absolutely hate to.

I know where not to get my wedding cake if I ever get married.

Also I am so glad that wonderful bakery in Bangor stepped in to make the cake. It looked wonderful. Great job. 🙂

Finally best of luck to the happy couple in their life together. Have a great and fun life together filled with lots and lots of love and happiness. 🙂