- 08 Feb 19
Derry singer Susie Blue writes about the campaign for equal marriage in Northern Ireland.
Since 2012, we have tried five times to get marriage equality in Northern Ireland – and we almost did. We got a majority vote in the Assembly, but the DUP blocked it with the Petition of Concern. That was designed in the first instance in case one party decided to pass a ridiculous new law – in this situation, it seems to be a law that allows people who love each other to get married.
Both the UK and the Republic of Ireland have achieved the amazing feat of passing marriage equality. Incredibly, as dual citizens in the North, we get neither. As a lesbian woman, I would love to have the same rights as my heterosexual friends and family, but Northern Ireland seems to be staying in the dark ages. And with government nowhere to be seen for the last two years, when will we get another chance to change that? Also, the people of the North who have the ability to get pregnant have no rights over their own bodies.
As our brothers and sisters in the south pass another historic referendum allowing them bodily autonomy, and in some cases life-saving surgery, we sit and wait for the fight to come. We trust that they will fight with us when we get the chance to do so in the future. I find a release in my music, being able to sing about these issues, and also just singing about my life in general. I love women and find each one fascinating. Singing about those women is something I am passionate about, because when I was a young lesbian, I had very little to relate to in music.
Hearing a woman say “she” or “her” in the context of love gave me hope for my own life in a small town. Not many people know that the people of the North are barely getting by, with new benefit laws and other laws not being passed. To repeat: we are now without a government for a record breaking two years. I have young people messaging me on social media about LGBTQ+ issues, and they are presenting to me the same issues I had to grapple with when I was growing up.
I didn’t want this for them – I thought that we would have progressed in some way, but no laws have been passed to show that we have. I’m here for all of you and I will continue to sing about amazing women and love what I do! Music is one way for us in the North to shout about our hopes and dreams, for ourselves and our country – and we aren’t going to be quiet any time soon.
Susie Blue’s next single ‘She Is’ is due at the end of March.