Sometimes you’re left shouting at the radio or switching off a television debate in a rage and think “what can I do?”
Well, we decided to do something. When I would chat to straight friends about the upcoming marriage equality referendum in May, they would frequently ask that same question: “What can I do?” As a gay person, I know that my straight friends feel bad about me being an unequal citizen. Myself and Finian had plenty of conversations about the referendum, how Finian as a straight married guy feels passionate about equality, and how I as a gay woman do too.
Referendums are a numbers game. Polls change and turnouts can vary. But votes come in ones. And every single vote makes a difference. The majority of the electorate is straight, and it’s straight people who will carry this referendum. At this crucial point in our country’s history, we need the majority to stand with the minority. On voting day in May, the Irish people will be presented with a choice: do we want to give something to our fellow citizens, or do we want to take something away? With a positive result, when the sun rises the following morning, we will wake up in a society that is more equal than it was 24 hours before. This referendum won’t just change individual lives for the better, it will change our whole nation for the better. It’s a big deal, and we need to make it happen. We need to give it our all.
As a gay person, like any minority, solidarity from others is an incredibly powerful thing. It makes you feel like you’re not alone anymore. It makes you feel like other people have got your back. Agility wants to contribute something positive to what is already a strong campaign. We want to give straight people a platform to share their preference for equality in Irish society. This isn’t just a “gay issue”, it’s an issue for all of us. A lot of people realise that, but we want to give everyone the space, the information and the tools to engage with it.
The goal of Straight Up For Equality is to get people talking about equality, get people engaged in the issue, get people involved in the campaign if they so choose, and give people the opportunity to come together and stand up for what is right.
The first phase of the web platform we’ve built is live now. This is the registration phase, and up until the day of the referendum we’re going to register as many people as possible. We’re asking people who’ve joined to spread the word. Later in March, we’ll launch the second phase of the website, which will provide people with all of the information they’ll need to get involved in advocating for marriage equality in as small or as big a way as possible. Every person can, and will, make a difference.
So, what can you do? You can start by joining us on straightupforequality.org