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A parallel universe of gay life and class issues. May 20, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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… where has Bruce Arnold lived the last sixty years one might ask. The answer is, well, here. But not the here many of us who live here, perhaps most of us who live here, know. For he says that:

…since his arrival in Ireland sixty years ago, a “penalised, unhappy, disfavoured, disadvantaged, interpretation of homosexual couples” had developed, “largely by invention”.
According to Mr Arnold, when he moved to Ireland homosexuality was not penalised or illegal and “homosexuals lived a reasonably open and happy life”.

And what evidence does he present for this?

“I remember particularly Micheál Mac Liammóir and Hilton Edwards strutting through St Stephen’s green hugely admired and known as a gay couple.”

As it happens I know, because I heard the conversations growing up, that many didn’t know for sure whether either Mac Liammóir or Edwards were gay. But even if they were sure, even if they were living a reasonable enough life, though for obvious legal and societal reasons Mac Liammóir or Edwards clearly had to keep their relationship under wraps to some degree, how does the situation of two individuals who had a high profile position and the status, and protection to some degree (though let’s not overstate it given the levels of homophobia in the society), map onto the experience of the many tens of thousands of other lesbian and gay women and men?

Every morning I pass by a park where in the 1980s Declan Flynn, a young man of 31, was beaten to death because he was gay (Come Here To Me have this post here which points to the fact that this sort of murderous violence was no exception on this island and of course more generalised homophobic violence was part and parcel of the experience of many gay people and isn’t unknown still). There’s a certain crassness in light of that reality to what Arnold says.

Or perhaps it is worse than crassness. From the off I’ve argued in relation to this referendum and this measure that there’s a class aspect to all this. The Arnold’s of the world live in a bubble, a comfortable middle class and upper middle class bubble. They have the luxury of pretending the world is other than it is, or that the lives of gay and lesbian men and women was somehow unpenalised, happy and favoured in this society because by and large their own lives are unpenalised, happy and favoured. Those of us outside the bubble, those with eyes to see, know that it has been and in some, thankfully diminishing, respects continues to be otherwise.

Anyhow, his argument descends to ever more absurd depths as he continues:

“Several people have repeatedly said homosexuality was illegal and was decriminalised by Máire Geoghegan Quinn in 1993,” said Mr Arnold. “This simply isn’t true.”

Do go on…

“Homosexuality was never a crime in Ireland. Homosexual acts were and through David Norris’ work with Mary Robinson in Europe the edict was created that made the government here reluctantly, and with disagreement, decriminalise homosexual acts.”

This is brilliant stuff really. Complete revisionism. And to what purpose? Black is white, night is day. Ireland was a shining beacon of tolerance for lesbian and gay people. Decriminalisation wasn’t decriminalisation because ‘homosexuality wasn’t penalised’. Problem, what problem?

What to say?

Well at least Micheál Martin suggests:

Mr Arnold needed to reflect on the alienation and discrimination suffered within the Irish LGBT community.

He sure does.

Comments»

1. An Sionnach Fionn - May 20, 2015

Is that the sound of the No campaign scraping the bottom of the intellectual and ideological barrel? Desperate times indeed.

Liked by 1 person

2. RosencrantzisDead - May 20, 2015

This may be the stupidest and most mendacious thing Bruce Arnold has said during this campaign, and there has been some pretty stiff competition.

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WorldbyStorm - May 20, 2015

The options are he knows better but doesn’t care or he doesn’t know better. Neither of which are great.

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Tomboktu - May 20, 2015

It’s one thing for Bruce Arnold to issue those views. The real culprits are the media outlets which have given them space as if they were relevant to the debate on the referendum.

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3. Charlie - May 20, 2015

Respectable opinion meant it was not the done thing to take a stand against such blatant homophobia.

Respectable opinion changes its form but remains respectable stifling a free society and progress under a deluge of tut tut.

The homophobia of then is every bit as strobg today and protected by stifling respectability. The European Fatwa Council run from Dublin by Qaradawi and Halawa is a prime example of mendacious respectability. It has a tip toe attitude to killing gays. Two sides to every stories is it and its leader thinks the holocaust was divine punishment.When asked about the punishment for people who “practise liwaat (sodomy) or sihaaq (lesbian activity)”, al-Qaradawi replied: “The same punishment as any sexual pervert – the same as the fornicator.”

That’s the type of homophobia that was tolerated decades ago under the name of respectability. Plus ca change.

Bruce Arnold is in good company.

“They have the luxury of pretending the world is other than it is, or that the lives of gay and lesbian men and women was somehow unpenalised, happy and favoured in this society because by and large their own lives are unpenalised, happy and favoured. Those of us outside the bubble, those with eyes to see, know that it has been and in some, thankfully diminishing, respects continues to be otherwise.”

That’s why opposing Bruce Arnold and Qaradawi’s IONA like scum bags is the only way to go. The luxury of pretending opposing Qaradawi is to oppose all Muslims is as fallacious as thinking opposing Arnold is to oppose all Christians. The bubble is shrinking.

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