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From The Team

Welcome, dear reader, to our October issue of GCN, or, as we joyfully refer to it – the Wedding Issue! It’s our ninth annual Wedding edition and once again we take a deep dive into all things nuptial, as we celebrate the happiest day of many couple’s relationships. Weddings are still a cause for concern and action for us given that the 1.8 million people living in Northern Ireland continue to be denied access to marriage equality.

Katie, Stefano, Lisa, Peter & Dave

In this issue, we’ll take a look at the full spectrum of marriage from meet-cutes all the way up to the ceremony and beyond. LGBT+ lovelies who bravely popped the question to their beloveds (and got the desired response!) share their proposal stories. Four wonderful couples let us in on their wedding journey and all the planning, organising and dreaming that goes into creating the perfect day. They have even kindly provided a suppliers list, which could be an invaluable help for anyone planning their own special day.

Wondering what happens after the big day? Long-term married couples give the lowdown on how to keep a relationship strong after many years together.

We know that some people are completely not into the whole wedded bliss malarkey, so we hear about a long term couple who have no intention or desire to marry and are perfectly happy with that!

On the culture side, we have a pair of interviews with two wonderful musical acts. The legendary duo, Indigo Girls talk music, activism and decades in the business, while the thrilling Cub Sport talk new music as well as the same-sex marriage battle in Australia – fitting, as two of the band are actually married.

Now, let’s talk. For our LGBT+ family in the South of Ireland, we fought long and hard for equality and the right to marry the person we love. We all remember the anxiety and the worry before those vote results came in and the absolute jubilation afterwards when we were finally equal.

But it’s not as cut and dry as that.

Newly married same-sex couples now have the same rights as their straight counterparts. That is the case until we start families. And then, sadly, we are far from equal. The children of same-sex couples do not have the same rights as other children. Same-sex parents do not have the same rights as other parents. That is the harsh reality for LGBT+ families four years on from the marriage referendum. And it’s time for that to change. Ranae von Meding, a tireless LGBT+ parents’ rights activist tackles the vast complexities of the current legislative gaps and discusses what must be done to achieve true equality for families in Ireland.

Continuing the conversation on equality, our cover is by the incredibly talented artist Joe Caslin whose Claddagh Embrace mural in Dublin became synonymous with the equal marriage referendum. Our stunning cover image, which also called out for equality north of the border, adorned the walls of an ancient castle in Galway, a visual reminder for people that love is love and we all deserve equality. Art plays a powerful and important role in the fight and it was with this in mind that we recently teamed up with Dublin Fringe Festival and OUTBURST Arts festival to create a very special zine and live event - The North is Next, the first part of which took place during Dublin Fringe Festival in early September. The second instalment will happen at the wonderful OUTBURST in November. The North is Next is part time capsule, part activist artwork. We gathered creators, artists, thinkers and activists from all over the island to ruminate on this most pivotal moment of change for Northern Ireland. We’re calling for continuity of activism for right now and for whatever comes next.

By the time The North is Next is staged in Belfast, the October deadlines for the Stormont assembly and Brexit will have passed and we’ll all be inhabiting a potentially changed legislative landscape but, as we know from our own struggle, the law making is only one element of the overall fight for equality.

While commissioning the fantastic SOAK to illustrate our zine we took great inspiration from the Dalia Sapon-Shevin quote which perfectly captures the passion and humanity of our shared struggles- “Your heart is a muscle the size of your fist. Keep loving. Keep Fighting.”

Stay tuned to GCN and OUTBURST Arts Festival for more details about The North is Next.

THE GCN TEAM

This article appears in the 358 Issue of GCN

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This article appears in the 358 Issue of GCN