Last night, my friend Conor and his flatmate invited Michael and me to their New Year’s Eve party, in their flat in the Titanic Quarter. There were probably about ten people there, and we spent the evening playing with the Xbox, listening to music, and generally being social. There was also some alcohol consumption, but as a non-drinker I’m going to draw a veil over that. At midnight, we watched Big Ben* on the BBC, and yes Michael and I kissed.
It was a completely normal New Year’s Eve party for all of us.
Re-read that last sentence:
it was a completely normal New Year’s Eve party for all of us.
We weren’t the only same-sex couple there, and everyone was treated the same, no matter who their partner was. Something that was particularly important to me was nobody treated us differently because we are living with HIV and MRSA.
People sometimes say that there is nothing more to be achieved for the gay rights movement, because gay people are now treated equally. We are not. Other people say that gay people want special rights. We do not. We want to be given the same respect, the same dignity, that the straight people of the world have. There have been great strides towards that in Northern Ireland over the past 40 years. Last night Michael and I were lucky enough to experience true equality. We were saying goodbye to 2010, and hello to 2011, but it felt like a moment from the future.