Dr Joan McCarthy (Joint Chair, UCC LGBT Network)
"As co-chair of the UCC Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Staff Network (LGBT Network for short); I am delighted to see such a diverse gathering of colleagues and friends to celebrate with us the launch of our network and website today.
Today’s event is indeed a celebration for all kinds of reasons but I’ll just mention one that’s dear to my own heart. It’s an event to celebrate because it represents the honouring of certain moral values. For some time, the talk on the street (when it’s not about rugby, mortgages or cosmetic surgery) has been how Irish society is losing its way and we are selling our souls for the latest HD television or shopping trip to
. And, of course, there is a genuine worry that we are trading in our traditional values too glibly and easily. But if that is the case, today’s event recognizes the fact that if Irish society is losing some values; it is also acknowledging and embracing others. Values such as openmindedness, neutrality, diversity, equality.
There are colleagues in this university – lesbian, gay and heterosexual, who might ask ‘what is the big deal’ – ‘why do they need to make such a big deal out of what should be a private thing?’ And for most of my life, and for many lesbians and gay men, I am sure I have been absorbed in many projects that have nothing to do with my sexuality – watching TV (HD), flying to
, working in this university … and much much more. But, even apart from the need to address the major equality issues, when it comes to basic kinds of every day stuff - the chat in the staff room about Christmas holidays, wedding plans, what to do with the kids for the summer, the latest novel or film, keeping my life private means that I keep my life silent, invisible. If being ‘out’ as a lesbian or gay man – something that you have to keep doing in so many different ways in different situations - has a certain price, there is also a price to pay for silence. So, I guess for me, the fact that I am a woman who happens to fall in love with women will have to be a ‘big deal’ until it just gets ordinary – I wonder will anything so extraordinary ever become ordinary?! Meanwhile, I think the fact that my employer, University College Cork, in recognizing the fact that some of its staff are truly great workers, who just happen to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans, is bringing that day of ordinariness closer
Excerpt from the speech br Dr Joan McCarthy (Co-Chair of the LGBT network) at the launch of the UCC LGBT network on Thursday 28th February 2008 in the Lewis Glucksman Gallery, UCC