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Nine Weeks

Portrait by Marta Faye Photography.

I’m queer. My mother had a bit of an issue with that word. Her generation, I think, still struggle with it. I explained to her that ‘we’ had reclaimed it, that it was empowering. And further still, thought of it as a term of positive affirmation! To me it’s linked with creativity, oddness, left-of-centre principles, and fighting oppression. Some of my straight friends I call queer. Very few mind you. It’s reserved for extremely special cases. But there are some who get special dispensation. Anyway, my mother, who would have been 63 this year, had a very different association with this word. It reverberated with danger - a tool of hate chiefly used by cisgender straight men from her generation. And what a generation! Can you imagine being a young woman in early 1970’s Ireland?

My mother grew up believing she was less. Taught by a Catholic patriarchal society that she was a lesser being. She believed she needed a man in her life for support, because she couldn’t find it anywhere else. And I know she’s not the only woman to experience that. It has to be said - and it should be repeated because the effects are still being felt - shame on the Catholic Church. Can we please evolve past worshiping men?

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