Preparing For Ms Gay Ireland: A Diary
“You should probably identify as queer instead of bi,” one of the Out in UL-ers joked.
He had a point. When I first came out, I was plagued with questions regarding my confusion, my credibility, and whether I was fully gay yet. Heck, I still get those comments every day of the week. But the observation riled me up.
Identifying as bisexual in the competition is the point, I stressed. This is, quite literally, a big stage on which I can prove that bisexuals are just as valid a member of the community as anyone. I’m not trying to pass, or experiment, or get attention, or find a partner to cheat on. Bisexuality is an intrinsic part of who I am, in the same way that being gay is who you are. People can hate me all they want but I tried to convince myself I was straight, I tried to convince myself I was gay, and neither of those worked out too well for me. If I need to shout it, I’ll damn well shout it.
At which point the room turned and looked at the shouting girl and my rant ended.
I almost forgot that I need two outfits, which is stupid because I needed two outfits for Ms Gay Limerick. The opening lines of the MGL instructions were “This is not a beauty contest,” but I’m still paranoid that the wrong dress will screw me. No… this is silly… isn’t it?
I have no casual wear. I have been almost permanently in a skirt for the last two years so I never look that dressed up or that dressed down. What good is it having all gay male friends when no one can help me in a fashion emergency?!
I suppose I have an orange dress for formal wear. But it’s orange. I can’t decide if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Plus maybe it wasn’t my political opinions that won me the heats; maybe it was the kitschy fascinator.
Ara sure. I suppose I’ll just have to be louder to make up for my lack of dress sense.
I wonder what sort of questions I’ll be asked. All the contestants have to submit a question for the interview round, and whilst I hope everyone hands in something as broad and vague as I did, I am extremely aware that I could just as easily be asked about the situation regarding marriage equality for same sex couples in the far reaches of Antarctica.
I spam my friends for queer interest areas that I should sharpen up on and trawl the Internet for topical issues. Conveniently, Shelly (our webmaster) incidentally sends me various LGBTQ stories right to my email every day.
Let the research begin.
I look at the Facebook event page every couple of hours to see if numbers for the bus to Ms Gay Ireland went up. I need to book the trip soon, which involves talking on the phone. I’m not a fan of talking on the phone. Limerick people, I want to incessantly post, come hang in Dublin and cheer when I say words. Pretty please.
Another person attending.
I’m on a bus again, intent on seeing the other half in this time of increasing stress. I’ve spent the last week with the contest constantly somewhere in the back of my mind, but real life does eventually kick in. In an ideal world, I could spend all my hours organising events for Pride, writing for Gaelick, working with Out in UL, and speaking at length about feminism and gay rights issues, but it’s not an ideal world and I have exams to study for. Good thing I have this long bus journey and no iPod to distract me thanks to a run in with my washing machine.
Ms Gay needs to take a back seat for the next five hours.
I feel this horrible lurch in my stomach when the boys tell me. There was a page on Facebook and it was reported for abuse and it’s gone now. We didn’t want to tell you. Seeing as it had come up, wanted to know. What did it say?
Strip Ms Gay Limerick of her crown. Apparently people hate bisexuals far more than I had anticipated. I have a bit of a moment in which I question why I do any of this in the first place if all I’m going to get is criticism. And I feel like I could handle it better if it was run of the mill, homophobic, uneducated straight people criticising me. But the community? It sows the seed of doubt about whether anything I do or say will be good enough.
I feel pretty crappy. But I want to win more than ever before.
I’m on the radio today. And not even ULFM. Proper Dublin radio. I don’t know when I decided to stop being a stuttering mess when speaking in public and start being a functioning human being, but somewhere along the line it happened.
I talk about lots of things. Bisexuality, health risks in LBT ladies, the older queer community, why I love the Red Ribbon Project so much. I stumble a bit but I keep talking and suddenly eleven minutes have passed. Sinéad tells me I can speak. Can I?
Oh, and by the way, she adds. I’m one of the judges.
It was probably better that she hadn’t told me beforehand.
The final of Ms Gay Ireland will be held in the George on November 23rd.
GOOD LUCK K-STEW!!!