SENATOR ANNIE HOEY | Pocketmags.com

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SENATOR ANNIE HOEY

In April 2020, Annie Hoey made history when she became the first out bisexual member of Ireland’s national parliament. She has continued to serve in the Seanad, acting as a voice for young people and the LGBTQ+ community. Beatrice Fanucci spoke to her following her nomination for Person of the Year.

When asked how her LGBTQ+ identity and her political career intersect, Senator Hoey shared, “It feels a bit wild that in 2023 I am still the first out bisexual member of our national parliament. People make a lot of assumptions about my sexual orientation and I think it is important to fly that bi flag high!”

Since she was elected, Annie has had to face a lot of what all bisexual folks are sadly familiar with: bi-erasure. From receiving online abuse by people who questioned whether she’s even a member of the LGBTQ+ community, to the general failure to include her in discourse around LGBTQ+ politicians, the forms that this particular brand of oppression has taken have been multiple. Despite this, Annie has continued what has been her lifetime work as an LGBTQ+ activist; campaigning for the rights of all members of the community.

“With bi power comes great responsibility!” she joked. Then, getting more serious about how her LGBTQ+ activism has profoundly impacted her career choice, she explained, ”It is how I got interested in politics in the first place. I was very aware from a young age that there was one part of me that would be accepted by society and I could do all the ‘normal’ things like get married; but there was another part of me that didn’t have the same legal protections, and it all depended on who I fell in love with.”

She also mentioned having to witness the obstacles that her trans friends have to face - “I had the most beautiful, wonderful friends who were made to jump through all sorts of ridiculous medical hoops just so they could live as their authentic selves. So between that and marriage equality and getting very agitated for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community how could I not end up in politics!”

Annie’s commitment to the LGBTQ+ community is clearly visible in her actions. In the past two years, she raised topics on LGBTQ+ issues over 25 times inside the Oireachtas, especially on parental matters and trans healthcare. She also championed the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival in 2022 as a “focal supporter in the Oireachtas” and has worked internationally to support LGBTQ+ rights also beyond the Irish borders.

Moreover, Annie also regularly works with LGBTQ+ organisations to ensure community input on national topics and she constantly uses her position to give a national voice to LGBTQ+ folk in Ireland.

“LGBTQ+ folk are already some of the most politically active people in society; we have been agitating and campaigning in some form or other for most of our lives,” she said. However, having members of Parliament that can represent the community is vital and she’d like to see more LGBTQ+ people elected. For that to happen, she said, we need “support structures that help candidates during the election period, buffer them when things get tough online, and lift them up as champions in our local communities.”

While waiting for that to happen, Annie intends to continue to support the community from within. “A big area that I think we all need to get behind - not just public representatives - is supporting the trans community and standing against this hateful rhetoric that’s flying around,” she said, speaking of the increasing anti-trans rhetoric in Ireland.

“The far-right won’t stop at demonising just one part of our community,” Annie continued. “They’ll pick away and dismantle bodily autonomy and the right to live as our authentic selves. And I have every intention of using every last piece of platform I have to stand against the far-right and the damage they’re doing to our communities.”

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