27 Comments

  1. Carol

    Here here, I was horrified by the article. She was desperatly trying not to sound prejudice but her ignorance shone through

  2. Allie

    In terms of journalistic integrity, it rates as a zero, and in terms of a person, she’s in the minus figures. In the same week as I read that piece of trash, I saw the following words in the New Yorker, written by Hendrik Hertzberg:

    “No one can say for sure why Saturday, June 28, 1969, was different, but the botched bust at the Stonewall touched off not only four nights of raucous, riotous demonstrations but also, in short order, a sustained burst of political activity aimed at making minority sexual orientation, like left-handedness or dark skin, a legally, morally, and socially neutral condition, not an impediment to full membership in the human family.”

    Brenda is living in the last century, still doggedly flying the flag for ignorance and bigotry. She’ll find it’s a lonely station soon enough…

  3. Optical Mouse

    ;-) And because the interweb is all connected, Conor and I commented on each other’s posts simultaneously…! What do you think of that Brenda… the psychic forces are at work to defeat bigotry!

  4. Ripley

    Bloody Brenda Power. Her article ruined my Sunday. I spent the whole day composing a letter to her in my head. Must write it and email her. I just could not get over her total ignorance. I was further astounded when she started going on about heterosexual marriage being like an Irish stew, and some rubbish about changing the ingredients….Not everyone likes meat and two veg Brenda!!!!

  5. The next LGBT Noise protest is 9th August (not too long after the GAZE Film Festival). I fully intend to bring as many LGBT and straight mates as possible, and my family members who might be available.

    I think that Power’s article has triggered something in a lot of LGBT people, garnering and solidifying opinion in favour of equality – judging by the reaction online, at least. (I’m just catching up on everything now, having been away for a few days.) From the comments on Power’s own article on the STimes’ website, at least, the overwhelming majority seem to convey this.

    I think if all the gays and as many people as they can bring with them to the protest, we can effectively and in large numbers demonstrate our feelings in relation to equality.

    Keep an eye on http://www.lgbtnoise.ie for further details of the August protest.

    I really have to steel my nerve and read Power’s article in more detail, as I’ve only had the chance to scan. I may then be able to rant some more on it – or not, depending on how ridiculous her views seem to be.

  6. Ripley

    Just wrote my email to Brenda. Does anyone know the email address for the editor? I’m thinking Brenda will just hit delete. The email I’ve sent is too long for the letters page, so any ideas?

  7. Aengus

    OPEN LETTER TO THE GAY AND LESBIAN EQUALITY NETWORK (GLEN) FROM A QUEER NOBODY

    Following the disasterous recepton at Pride, and beyond, to the Civil Partnership legislation announcement, I as a member of the LGBT community write to you to request you desist from further lobbying work and withdraw your support of the Bill.

    It is ironic that an “Equality Network” has not networked with any of the existing LGBT organisations and groups to garner support, held any meaningful public meetings to consult on the issue, or mobilised any support for such huge policy change. In short, you do not have community buy-in. Further, the irony deepens as GLEN attempts to institutionalise inequality in Irish law for the very people it purports equality for. Irony becomes parody when you consider the paltry reaction GLEN has offered to the media – and only to the media – in the face of such huge negative reaction as voiced at Pride.

    You do not represent me – actually as far as I am concerned your patriarchal style of doing politics is contrary to mine and seeing the discourtesy you have treated the LGBT community with by your silence both before and since the announcement – I think it important that you clearly address the growing opposition to the position GLEN is pursuing. Your actions are hugely divisive and it appears to me that you are blatantly disregarding this fact.

    As far as I am concerned this civil partnership work you are engaged in is an action of internalised homophobia. It is hard to locate exactly, but to me I cannot help suspecting the motivation of your organisation on pushing this sub-standard legislation through. I question your motivation in the light of an absence of consultation and inclusion of diverse opinion on this subject, as evidenced at the recent Marriage Matters conference and at Pride.

    So before the divide deepens and stuff really ‘hits the fan’, I ask you to desist from pushing this proposed legislation any further. If you think that the current noise against your policy will quiten, I think you are mistaken. What you are pushing is deeply offensive to so many. I fear you will trigger a rift within the community that opposition – both political and media – will exploit (for example, see Brenda Power’s article in the Sunday Times, 5th July, where she uses GLEN’s position as the potentially reasonable one and trashes same-sex families in homophobic terms).

    Given the urgency of the situation with the debate due in the Dail in the Autumn, would you please be so kind as to let Irish LGBT people know when you are consulting them and in what forum around this legislation that will affect them so directly? Would you also let us know what pieces of the Bill you have problems with exactly (I read in the straight press that children and adoption is problematic or that you have “deep concern”). Is there a stumbling block – in other words are you just going to accept whatever is granted or at what point do you say “No”. Would you please demonstrate a modicum of courtesy by addressing these and the many other concerns that I believe your offices are flooded with in the very near future, perhaps by the end of this calendar month?

    Yours sincerely
    Aengus Carroll

  8. P.S.

    @Aengus – Many thanks for your lengthy post, it’s food for thought. I was thinking just this evening about the differing strategies, let’s say, of the various groups campaigning on the issue of recognition of same-sex relationships.

    I find it interesting, one of your early points: “It is ironic that an “Equality Network” has not networked with any of the existing LGBT organisations and groups to garner support, held any meaningful public meetings to consult on the issue, or mobilised any support for such huge policy change.

    I remember when I was coming out, and looking around for any groups or supports that may have been out there. I found GLEN’s contact info (same as it is today), and decided to write to them to ask for information or whether I could join. Perhaps the naive, teen me also interpreted the organisation’s title literally. I never received a response.

    (Thankfully I was lucky enough to find friends elsewhere, many of whom I still have over ten years later.)

  9. Aengus

    Hi Click Here
    Sorry for another long one – I find it hard to say things concisely!!
    GLEN is an interesting organisation around for 20 years and worth taking a really good look at in some ways. I do not think that they are “bad’ people, but I do think that political schmoozing has totally gone to their heads. The guy who heads the organisation is a senior civil servant in the Planning Office and knows how to get around the civil service and has lobbied politicians for years. I think, and have always felt, that his is a “we know best” attitude and this is unfortunately picked up in the way they operate. There have been all sorts of unhappy histories with lesbians in that organisation (there is one woman working there now who does the education stuff and she is really great) and sadly there is a middle-aged, middle class white male attitude pervading that non-representative organisation. Atlantic Philantrorphies are their major funder who lend a legitimacy to their work and recently (the last few years) they have put the pressure on GLEN to have a community development role. In my opinion this has caused the organisation a lot of problems as communicating their strategies just runs against their grain.

    I recently wrote a human rights country report for Armenia for ILGA-Europe (published feb 2009 and on http://www.ilga-europe.org). One passage may be of relevance “Although in many countries a point of contention, those working in the LGBT legal field around Europe and elsewhere often prefer to work quietly and without much public, political or media debate. This approach can be effective in the early stages of creating an environment of safety for those claiming the full and extensive set of rights and protections for LGBT people. However, such an approach can also exclude the voices of the very LGBT persons whose rights it seeks to address, as intimate and strategic groups working for legal change may not have either the capacity or the wish to involve non-legal voices or discourse in their deliberations and directions. These people can sometimes, in the eyes of many activists, seem to come from a patriarchal-type, authoritative standpoint which sees grassroots activism as somewhat naive or even harmful to the larger LGBT cause.
    This quiet approach can also deny or severely limit a process of public debate both in and beyond the LGBT population. Further, the exact shape of the proposed legislative changes and amendments can, by exclusion, render elements of that legislation redundant for certain members of the LGBT population.
    Any legal campaign group needs to stay rooted in the communities it seeks to serve and, in the difficult early years of LGBT community development, should ensure it is in symbiotic relationships with those newly forming or expanding communities, thereby responding to the wider responsibilities which come with a leadership role.
    Love your site by the way and glad of its existence
    Aengus

  10. Optical Mouse

    Thanks to everyone for the comments, particular thanks to Aengus for cc’ing that excellent letter to GLEN.

    I’m listening to the download from The Last Word at the moment- god the woman’s ignorance is boundless…… let’s hope she is a catalyst for us all to get battle-ready, we are nowhere near equality while that kind of bigotry stalks the airwaves and newspapers.

    This week has taught me so much in terms of recognising your enemy and trusting your allies.

    @Click Here- great to have you back! I wondered could you hear our battle cries on hols..!

  11. Many thanks for the kind words, Aengus!

    That’s an interesting point you highlight from the report – as far as I’ve heard (I’m a couple of years too young to be aware of the politics and lobbying of the time), but it seems they were more inclusive (not sure if that included the lesbians!) around the time of the decriminalisation campaign, but since 1993 have tended towards their current modus operandi. I’m open to correction on that, however.

    In any event, hopefully popular opinion among LGBT people and their friends and family will overtake events and schmoozing strategies, especially since the Brenda Power/Ian O’Doherty articles and the letter from Helen Doody.

    Bring on the rallies! (Tomorrow at 1pm outside Dáil Éireann [www.marriagequality.ie], and on 9th August 2009 [www.lgbtnoise.ie].)

  12. P.S. – lol!! Thanks, O_M. I’m sure I’ve a rant or three brewing. Will try to compose my thoughts properly tomorrow!

    Just starting to listen to the podcast now, too. Ugh..

  13. ann

    As a mother of a lesbian daughter it is frustrating to read,yet
    again, an ignorant rant from a hack who will not inform hrself
    before writing.One can only suppose she has to fill fiew inches
    each week and any ill informed comment will do .

    I want for my daughter unadulterated equality, certainly not
    something decided by Ms Power who does not seem to know that
    equality is not divisible.

  14. t mc carthy

    I must say i nearly totally agreed with brenda power,after all is that not what most people say indoors out of the public eye in this ridiculous p.c. age,if you cannot express yor true views through the press,where does that leave freeedom of speech?Personally i know gay couples,i do totally accept they have their rights the same as straight couples but i do not accept marriages being done by gay people in the way as straight couples,marriage is sacred and is for man and woman only,its beautiful, productive and is great example.Now i`ve expressed my views,you may condemn me,i d`ont care as i have a full right to my views,thankfully everyone has that left.

  15. Moo

    T McCarthy – totally agree that freedom of speech is sacred but it is also the repsonsibility of the Press to report responsibly and not to garner prejudice against a group already suffering under same.

    As for marriage being ‘sacred’, the sacrament of marriage is sacred in the church. Gay people don’t want the sacramnent, we want the civil right. The two are very, very different things

  16. Carol

    there is no doubt that Ms Power had the right to say what she thinks, I can’t see anyone suggesting that. She has a right to publish her opinion as others have a right to disagree with it.

    I think Moo hit the nail on the head when saying “Gay people don’t want the sacramnent, we want the civil right”

    Here here

  17. Karlos

    Although I think Brenda’s article is baseless nonsense and in many cases factually incorrect, I welcome the passion and debate she has sparked. She has inadvertantly stirred up the sort of unity that we need to progress on this issue as a community and shown us what we’re up against.

    I also agree with Carol about Brenda and all of our right to express our opinions (as long as they don’t breach our beautiful new defamation bill that is…). How fortunate we are to live in a country where we have such freedom of expression.

    Having said that, I think most of what she’s written isn’t even worth picking up dog crap with.

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