Growing up in a country where gay marriage is illegal is tough. Not just because of the obvious issues, but the implications as well. It’s actually scary to think that the people who are supposed to be running the country have decided that certain people deserve fewer rights than others; it’s even scarier to think that most people agree with them. When talking to new people, I often have to be cautious of what I say, so that I don’t provoke any immediate hatred. If they seem like open-minded people, I’ll tell them the truth about my sexuality and we can continue getting to know each other. If they don’t, however, and they make frequent homophobic jokes or comments, I keep my little trap shut and make a mental note to avoid them for the rest of eternity. I never actually tell people the whole truth, though. I often describe myself as bi when talking about my sexuality, because it’s a hell of a lot easier than explaining what pansexuality is. Even as I type this, the spell checker isn’t entirely sure, leaving its judgmental red underscore.

Revealing I’m pansexual often comes with a request for an explanation and myriad questions. The whole process can take up to twenty minutes; twenty minutes I’d rather have back, thank you very much. But, it’s not their fault. I can’t blame someone for what they don’t know, especially if they only seek to learn. It’s a pain in the ass, though.

I think the world could benefit from a little education on the topic of sexuality and gender identity, or maybe just this side of the world. I can’t really complain though, because with oppression comes rebellion; and we sure know how to rebel. ‘Belfast Pride’ (The capital city of Northern Ireland, for those who don’t know) is the biggest pride parade in Ireland, and this year it was bigger than ever; with thousands of people rallying to promote the legalization of gay marriage. It made me a little more optimistic about the future of this country. My optimism was swayed a little by the recent ‘gay cake’ debacle. For those of you who are interested but aren’t yet aware of what I’m talking about, this might help.

In summary, Northern Ireland is slowly on it’s way to joining the rest of the modern world when it comes to views on homosexuality and the LGBTQIA+ community. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made but I’m still wary of the general consensus. I guess I’ll make my final decision on referendum day. Until then, I guess I’ll keep walking on eggshells.