Marriage Equality's November Advocate of the Month

2 Nov 2011

Mary McAleese

Throughout her 14 years as President of Ireland, she has forged strong relationships with LGBT groups in Ireland. She was recently awarded "LGBT-Friendly Political Figure of the Year" at the 2011 Gala Awards, and we're delighted to name Mary McAleese as our Advocate of the Month for November!

You can watch the acceptance speech from the 2011 Gala Awards, or read the transcript below.

"It's a great honour and pleasure for me to accept this Political Figure of the Year award from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Ireland, and of Ireland.

2011 has been an historic year for the gay and lesbian community, with the passing of Civil Partnership legislation. It has been heart-warming, life-affirming to see since then, the pure joy and happiness on the faces of those who have been able, at last, to have their loving relationships officially recognised.

Yet we have only come a small way on the road to achieving a society where all citizens enjoy full, equal rights and civic opportunities. I pray that we can achieve full equality and deconstruct the noxious apparatus of homophobia, which attempts to demean the human person, causing such awful damage, particularly to those young people throughout the country who are coming to terms with their sexuality and sense of self. Much has been achieved to counter this toxin, but there still remain problems to solve, and work to be done.

But tonight I want to pay tribute to the people who are doing the work. To the National Lesbian and Gay Federation for their advocacy for a more equal, more inclusive, more tolerant society - you are not only the custodians of the trust of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, which you represent with such passion and conviction - you are worthy exemplars for all those in Irish society, who yearn to see the full realisation of the Proclamation of this country: that all the children of this nation shall be cherished equally.

May you all enjoy this wonderful evening, and celebration of all that is good in your community.

May I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support and many kindnesses to me during my time in office."

Thank you for your kind words and dedication to equality. From all of us at Marriage Equality, we wish you the best of luck going forward, and we look forward to working with you in the future!