SUZANNE HARRINGTON: People’s Republic can shine with Cork Pride

 Driving through Cork city on my way to a yoga studio, there are big colourful signs everywhere. Cork Pride 2017. Wow.

Cork has yoga AND gay pride. Which is a bit like past American tourists marvelling that we had electricity AND running water, but when I left Cork in 1987, we mostly still had provincialism AND homophobia. Wow, I think to myself, marvelling at generational evolution. Thirty years ago, there was Loafers, that lovely friendly pioneering pub. Today, the theme of Cork Pride is ‘shine’. I feel massively proud, and I’m not even queer.

I realise Cork Pride has been happening for the past 12 years and I’m a bit behind the times, but my excuse is I live elsewhere — Brighton, the gay capital of the UK, with the loudest proudest Pride this side of San Francisco. On July 22, Brighton had its fifth TransPride, smaller and more grassroots than the commercial behemoth that the bigger Pride event has become. There were a few thousand trans people and their friends and supporters celebrating in the sunshine — it was all about visibility and inclusivity. It was all about shining.

Generational evolution is not automatic, however — someone forgot to tell Donald Trump that progress remains preferable to regression. Overturning Obama’s legislation which protects trans soldiers, the current ‘commander’ in chief has out done himself.

Trans people in the US military, tweeted the world’s stupidest president, create “tremendous medical costs”. Um, no, Donald, they do not. For a supposed business person, he really is rubbish at sums. The medical care of trans people in the US military — less than 5,000 individuals out of an army of almost 1.3 million — comes to 0.01% of the military budget, which works out at about $8.4 million of a $6.5 billion pot. Everytime Trump pops down to his golf club in Florida for the weekend, it costs $3.6 million in security. That’d pay for a lot of hormone therapy, Donald.

The reinstatement of the trans military ban is nothing but a crude and bullying diversionary tactic to focus attention away from the shitstorm that daily engulfs Trump and his dreadful relatives. Exposure of dirty deeds done with Russia to smear Hillary and gain power? Quick, distract everyone by kicking trans people out of the army, even as the White House admits it has no clue how or when to implement their boss’s latest tweet. Sorry, policy.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not pro military. I’m all about the peaceful sit-down protest — make tea not war. However, if there are people out there for whom the idea of guns, bombs and combat is not wholly repugnant, and they wish to defend notions of ‘us’ and ‘them’ in humanity’s perpetual war of no winners, let them. That must be their choice. Not Trump’s, with his ignorant bigotry and bad maths.

Meanwhile, back in the People’s Republic, shine on. Happy Pride, one and all.


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