Grateful and Queer

I am a very lucky man.

I have had a few conversations lately with older Irish men and they’ve all said how fortunate I am to have been born in this time. When they were growing up, the state was controlled by a conservative catholic morality. I don’t feel equipped to discuss the details of life in Ireland during the middle of the twentieth century. I wasn’t there. I have read the history but I can’t talk about how it was. What I can say, is that I am grateful to the people and movements that have let me live the life I live.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about Catholic Ireland and how lucky I am to be living in a social world where my queer, pagan self is a source of curiosity rather than hatred and fear. This weekend my partner and I went to a bear weekend in Dublin. It was relaxed and celebratory, and very, very Irish. There was traditional music, the cúpla focail as gaeilge (the few words in Irish), drag queen hosts, nice Dublin venues, and a lot of happy smiling beardy men. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to live as an LGBT person in rural Ireland in the 1950s and 60s. There would have been no words, no names, no sense of identity. There would have been no love.

I have seen it written, that the best and shortest prayer you can say is ‘Thank You’. I am grateful for the Love in my life. I am grateful for my opportunities to travel. I am grateful for the health of myself and my loved ones. I am grateful to have a home. I am grateful to have books and internet, ideas and wonders. The spring has arrived in Ireland this week. We didn’t have a winter this year but this past fortnight, the trees have come back into leaf. Today I sat under a horse chestnut watching the five-fingered leaves emerging in lush green from the massive buds. And I am grateful for eyes to see it. I am grateful for a mind that can appreciate this wonder and mystery of Spring.

I am a very lucky man.


2 thoughts on “Grateful and Queer

  1. I think the race of Ireland has always been welcoming to ideas, hospitality and others customs. It was not the spirit of the race that altered but the words which were inscribed upon them and enchained a burden of false Order upon their young’s backs.

    The spirit of a race cannot be broken, but it can be put under a spell of powerful dormancy. Creativity has the power to nibble away at restricting chains and what awakens not only walks with open mindedness but a world full of wondrous horizons.

    Perhaps 8 years ago I expressed my sexuality to the wider public and the reactions I received were not only negative but saddening. So, it is up lifting to read that others are finding positive support from their surrounding communities.

    May Spring fill your doorway with awakening pleasure.

  2. John Phelan says:

    I love the sentiment in this passage Pol. It resonates with me as I often feel grateful to those who have gone before, broken the ice and fought the good fight. It makes me think about what I contribute myself for those who will come after me.

    It is not just in the sense of being a gay man but in being an Irish citizen, of living during these times. We often complain about the failings of the state and rightly so, but I watch the misery of so many around the world every night on the news or think about what it must have been like to struggle and sacrifice the way people had to during the second world war and think what a blessed life I lead and what a lucky time to be alive.

    I am grateful too.

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