I’ve been fortunate to receive an Arts Council NI award to do interview-based research on what it was like to be LGBT during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Ever since Grainne and I joined the communal narrative in 2005 as the first public civil partnership in the UK, I’ve felt strongly about how the intersection of these two worlds aren’t really explicitly spoken about. The civil partnership legislation was the result of many years of hard work by queer activists; Grainne and I were lucky enough to be the first beneficiaries in NI.
I’m also seeing the generation that pushed for the equality legislation getting older and tackling new areas for equality, like care homes for same-sex partners and queer awareness in health & social care. I don’t want their stories to be lost or forgotten. Younger generations in NI don’t have memories of a Belfast City Centre that shut down in the evenings, instead, they can hold hands every summer down Royal Avenue in the Pride parade.
I hope this project addresses the generation gap in NI, and also the misconceptions people outside of NI have about The Troubles generally.