This is Helen Ryder’s powerful pro-marriage-equality speech at Atheist Ireland’s public debate yesterday. We’ll have the full debate online soon.
“Twenty nine years ago I married the man that I loved. I married him in a Catholic Church. We swore vows to each other that we would love each other to the end of time. During the twenty nine years since we’ve had a beautiful daughter, she’s now nearly twenty.
And also during those twenty nine years, we have also discovered that my partner, the person that I love, is female. She has gone through surgery, went through years of transition, and a lot of difficulties, but our marriage has survived.
From the age of ten, my daughter has accepted that she has two mums, not a mum and a dad. She is with her biological parents, and she has had to adapt, and we have had to adapt, and we have come out.
And she calls us her two mums, she introduces her family as her two mums, she talks about her two mums. She advises her mums on their handbags and their makeup.
She is with us the whole time, she is a generous person, she is Trinity College, she was also accepted into Oxford but she couldn’t take up Oxford. She has come out of this whole situation as a very mature, very understanding, and very pro-marriage-equality person, and she is campaigning on that.
And I am saying to you, both of you, life is not binary. Life is not male and female. Life is different to what you hope. And what I hope is that on the 22nd of May, because it will personally affect us, that we vote yes.
Because, under the present Government they are formulating the Gender Recognition Act. And under that Act, a transgender person can get their Gender Recognition Certificate. But we won’t be able to, because to do so, we would have to divorce.
Twenty nine years of pain and struggle to acceptance and love, and we would have to, by this Government, divorce if we don’t pass this Bill. We have gone through too much, and I am not accepting that.
And I am pounding on the doors, and I am talking here now, and I will tell you I am fighting every step of the way, not just for ourselves, but for every gay and lesbian person in the country.”