“It’s just who I am.” Orla Tinsley on Miriam Meets
Left to right: Brian Tinsley, Eleanor McEvoy, Orla Tinsley, Patricia Tinsley, Miriam O’Callaghan.
Image: Orla Tinsley
Some readers may already be familiar with Orla, in her capacity as a campaigner for people with cystic fibrosis (CF) and as a journalist with The Irish Times.
In her autobiography, Salty Baby, she wrote about coming out both to herself and to her parents. Towards the end of Miriam Meets, Orla discussed with Miriam O’Callaghan how she came to understand her sexuality and the decision to include this aspect of her personal life in the book.
Here’s a snippet:
Miriam O’Callaghan: How’s your love life, by the way?
Orla Tinsley: Oh, em.. No comment! [laughter] No, nothing exciting going on.
MO’C: Is it true that you’re bisexual?
OT: Yeah, sure. If you want to call it that, that’s fine. Yeah, totally, I started having crushes on girls when I was around 10 or something, and my poor parents didn’t know what was going on. Maybe they did! I didn’t know what was going on! But yeah, definitely.
I wrote about it in my book as well because – some people said, “You don’t need to mention that, why would you mention that?” and I was like, “Why wouldn’t I mention it?” If I’m talking about my relationships with men, why wouldn’t I talk about my relationships with women? You know, it’s just who I am.
And that’s the funny thing about CF as well, it just makes you see that all of this crap about “You should be a certain way, you shouldn’t be a certain way”, that’s absolute rubbish. You just be who you are, and that’s it, you know?
MO’C: And I know you don’t like the word “inspiring”, but other young people reading your book who themselves might have different forms of sexuality – that gives them the courage, too, to be open, because there’s nothing worse than spending your life hiding who you are, do you think, Brian?
Brian Tinsley: Absolutely…
Patricia Tinsley: As long as you’re happy.
BT: …In one sense, you’re kind of thinking that it shouldn’t be mentioned because you’re mentioning something – I know that the reality is that bisexuality or anything other than a so-called “normal” – by talking about it you’re almost making it abnormal in some kind of a way.
PT: Do you introduce somebody as, “So-and-so, but she’s heterosexual”? You know, does it matter really? As long as the person is happy and honest within themselves and believes in themselves.
OT: And when you are honest in yourself, for me, I felt so free when I came out like that. It took a few years, because I would start coming out and then you’d almost forget that you’ve come out and you have to keep coming out again, but it just makes you feel a whole – your whole self – as opposed to that you’re hiding something, or that you feel there’s a part of you. Because it makes you angry not being able to be who you are, and you should just be able to be who you are. Because life is short, you know?
MO’C: It’s liberating, I think, because you only have one life.
(Love you, Miriam!)
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