So I usually keep this blog for posts about books, mine, other people’s…tonight I find myself so angry that I have to vent…
On Friday, Ireland gets to vote in a referendum to bring Marriage Equality into law. This is a big deal. For the world, for Ireland and for me. No, I’m not gay, I can already marry the man I love (actually I can’t, because there’s loads of them and they’re mostly fictional, famous or oblivious) but because I am a 21st century woman who doesn’t understand that people think love could be wrong between two consenting adults, no matter the gender. (I say consenting adults, but I do think Jamie and Cersei Lannister have gone a bit beyond what’s appropriate for Love…and other examples of inappropriate love you can think of)
So imagine my surprise, when I posted a pretty rainbow coloured Ireland image and bemoaned the fact that despite the fact I’m Irish by birth (born in Dublin, dragged to the UK as a child) I don’t get a vote because I’m not a resident, so I’d really like it if my friends voted yes…reasonable? Well apparently that’s a no! Because my surname is Mahood and from Ulster, I am British and shouldn’t possibly be able to vote in Eire (it’s shorter then Republic of Ireland to type repeatedly)
Being me, argumentative on a good day, I corrected the person, a fellow Mahood (who friended me as part of a Mahood genealogy thing, and thankfully not someone I could say would be ever attending family events) that I was indeed from Eire but being an expat, had no voice in voting. The person in question repeated that my name was from Ulster…yes sir, I can read. And yet I’m still not born of Ulster myself, and it was irrelevant because I’m talking about marriage equality here, not the genealogy of the Mahood family tree…he persisted
Here’s where I’ll tell you more about me, I’m stubborn and one step away from Bruce Banner on the ‘don’t make me angry’ scale (seriously, ask my friends what happens when I want a burger and they won’t let me) I also have a chip on my shoulder because I’ve been called a ‘Plastic Paddy’ on more than one occasion because of this affliction I developed as a child…a Yorkshire accent.
So telling me I’m not ‘Irish’ enough to be able to vote because someone came up with a surname in Ulster like a thousand years ago, doesn’t go down well. What also doesn’t sit well with me, is when that whole interaction was thinly veiled bigotism. The Mahood in question either didn’t like my politics in supporting Marriage Equality, or by declaring my being a Mahood from the south. Now I was only ever schooled in the UK and my entire school career of history had touched briefly on The Battle of Drogheda (only lesson I was ever kicked out of too, for telling the teacher how to pronounce it when she said Drog-eeeeda) so you know, I don’t know the whole history of the troubles and my mum was very clear it was probably better that way.
I know enough though. So I know when someone is challenging me for being Irish, when my surname says I’m ‘British’…technically I now am, but only because I’ve been resident so long…and that’s not an argument for someone’s status at 11pm on a Wednesday night. That’s not an argument people should still be having.
I’m Irish, because I was born on that island in the sea, you know, the pretty green one between England, Wales, Scotland and America (geography isn’t my strong point, pretty sure that’s the next stop. My mum is Irish, she was born in the top bit, my dad is Irish he was born in the bottom bit. My sister, well she was born in Yorkshire, so she’s Irish/Yorkshire adjacent. I’ve got cousins on both sides of an invisible line. I am agnostic, because I don’t believe in things that can’t be proven with science and stuff. Not because I don’t believe it’s possible, I’ll believe it when there’s irrefutable proof (sorry Granny) and I’m open to that day happening. I was christened and raised in one faith on the divide, but that’s irrelevant here. Oh and I firmly believe unicorns are possible, because if a Rhino can have a horn, why can’t a horse…I just don’t think they’ll be digging up any fossils anytime soon.
We live in the 21st century, and yes, in the not too distant past, there were ‘troubles’ in Ireland, because Irish people are inherently passionate about their beliefs and just as stubborn about arguing them. But when I set a status about how I’d like any future homosexual relatives of mine to be able to marry one day (the current homosexual relative I’m aware of and love, is also an Expat, any others feel free to come forward and be hugged) I do not expect a bad grammar, terribly spelled, rant about my surname that might as well be a brick through the window of my imaginary home in Belfast… We’ve gotten past that to the major extent, and I hope never to return to it.
Sorry if this didn’t make sense, it’s late and Hulks have really large thumbs…my iPad is only a Mini.