The Marriage Equality Rally In Belfast Is A Sign Of Progress

The Marriage Equality Rally In Belfast Shows Society Has No Choice But To Progress

Marriage equality should not be something we still have to fight for, but it is.

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There's something romantic about rain. The way a lucid, lambent sky transposes into a glowering one, sometimes in the space of seconds. Clouds pregnant and ready to burst, casting a shadow over the city, causing everyone, just for a second, to hold our breath. Until, finally, with a whoosh of bitter wind, a plethora of rain comes down and kisses every one of us. I find myself thinking how comforting it feels, like an embrace from an estranged lover.

It was oddly poetic, yet it set the scene perfectly. We cheered, chanted and cried out our biddings: we are gay and we are here. You will hear us. Like an incantation of spirit, we called for the Northern Irish and British governments to hear our pleas. The rain wasn't going to ruin our parade.

We were marching for marriage equality. I remember standing back from the crowd to take it all in, my mouth slightly agape and tears stinging my eyes. The largest rally I had ever seen for our cause: a couple of thousand people, at least, marching through the streets of Belfast.

The umbrellas shot open one by one amongst the rainbow sea of piquant placards and multi-colored flags. Everybody looked so happy, though determined, despite the harrowing circumstances. I also noticed the immense number of older couples who had taken time to join in, some with their adorable dogs with little rainbow collars or bandanas.

The rally itself was heart-wrenching. The whole event had been organized by the Love Equality Campaign and lead by Sara Canning, the partner of the journalist who was shot dead in Derry a few weeks previously by dissident republicans. They had been planning to get engaged this week in New York. She stressed that the Northern Ireland marriage inequality was completely unacceptable and demanded change.

The crowd cheered their concurrence and support. Here was the sentence that broke me:

"We pay our taxes, we are governed by the same laws, we live deeply and we love dearly. Why should we not be afforded the same rights in marriage?"

Who can argue with that?

How, in 2019, can we still be fighting for basic human rights? On March 13, 2014, gay marriage was legalized in England and Wales and abortion was outlawed in 1967. Northern Ireland is five years behind the rest of the UK. If a woman chose to abort she could face life imprisonment, even in the case of rape, incest or fetal abnormalities. A same-sex couple who wished to spend the rest of their lives together must travel in order to get acknowledged as a legitimate married couple.

How, Theresa May, can you justify this?

A spokesperson at the rally chimed that 75% of Northern Ireland inhabitants now support marriage equality and 72% are pro-choice. Overwhelming figures that illustrate a future where the archaic laws that infringe human rights are reversed. They cannot fight us for much longer. We will win and, when we do, it'll be a win on all sides.

Because what can equality liberation be if not incomprehensibly beautiful?

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

From an outside perspective, suicidal thoughts are rarely looked into deeper than the surface level. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is that people live in between those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead.

You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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7 More Jams By LGBTQ+ Artists to Add To Your Pride Month Playlist

These are the best underrated pride songs.

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It's that time of the year again!

Pride Month is in full swing, so I thought I would do a part two to an article I wrote for last year's Pride Month.

Whether specifically about being LGBTQ+ or just by LGBTQ+ artists, here are some great additions to your pride playlist!

1. "Rainbow" by dodie

This song perfectly highlights the reason why pride parades and Pride Month exist in the first place.

In a world where anyone who is not straight/cisgender is constantly being told that their feelings are wrong, it's good to have a month to be told that you are a rainbow. It can make all the difference to someone struggling with their identity.

2. "Make Me Feel" by Janelle Monáe

Some people don't know that this song is actually about Janelle Monáe's pansexuality. And what better way to come out to your fans than creating such a bop?

3. "GUY.exe" by Superfruit

Superfruit (a musical duo featuring Mitch Grassi and Scott Hoying from Pentatonix) love to specialize in very outwardly gay music, which is so refreshing in a musical landscape where a lot of artists try to be more subtle in its LGBT themes.

Plus the lyrics and music video are both hilariously relatable for almost every orientation.

4. "Girls/Girls/Boys" by Panic! at the Disco

Brendan Urie recently came out as pansexual himself, making his words "Girls love girls and boys and love is not a choice" even more meaningful.

5. "The Joke" by Brandi Carlile

This Grammy award-winning song is the perfect anthem for anyone who has ever been put down about something that makes them different.

It's the perfect song for people going through a hard time to really latch onto and get strength from. I can't recommend it enough.

6. "Rendezvous" by Miss Benny

We love a gender nonconforming bop! Miss Benny really knows how to get people jamming while examining their preconceived notions on masculinity. What a queen.

7. "Older" by Ben Platt

Though not explicitly about being gay, the line "get to fall in love with another man" was the first time Ben Platt confirmed his sexuality to his fans. So this coming out moment hidden in a motivational song just makes the song all the more uplifting.

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