Friday, April 17, 2015

Mothers and Fathers do matter #marref

High profile opponents of the marriage equality referendum often accuse those of us in
favour of a yes vote as undermining or rejecting the importance of a mother or father’s love – that
we spend our time plotting ways to undermine family and love and happy stable homes for children
of all backgrounds.
Far from corrupting family life, many of us, myself included, desire nothing more than to ensure that
generations of children to come enjoy the same loving, stable family life we were lucky to enjoy. It is
insulting to suggest that we believe mother or fathers don’t matter – in fact many of us were blessed
with mothers and fathers who supported us, loved us, cherished us and raised us with the love and
care all children should receive. The difference, it seems, between our appreciation of our parents
and the no campaign’s is that we don’t reduce our parents to nothing but their genitals.
My mother and father matter because they love me.
My mother and father matter because they raised me with kindness and compassion – with
acceptance and understanding.
My mother and father matter because like all loving parents, regardless of gender, their children
matter to them more than anything else on this earth.
When I look back on my childhood with gratitude, it is not because my father is a man and my
mother is a woman – it is because my loving parents, regardless of gender, provided a nurturing,
playful and safe home where I was free to develop freely and happily into the woman I am today.
If only the no side could see people and parents as more than just their biology.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Speech at Yes Equality Cork Launch

I delivered this speech today at the Yes Equality Cork launch in 8 North Mall. It's more or less as I delivered, with only minor interruptions from my mother cheering sending me off script ;)

For more information about the Yes Equality Campaign, please see

My name is Rebecca Murphy and I am a Yes Equality Cork committee member. I’ve been asked to talk to you all this afternoon about volunteering and more importantly, how vital it is that we all work together to make a yes vote happen.

On a personal note, I’ll be voting yes on May 22nd because I believe same-sex couples should have the same rights that straight ones do. On a very personal note, my brother and sister both had the right to marry the people they love, and I think I should have the same rights – my parents, who are here today, who loved and raised all 3 of us equally, agree 100%.
I love this country, I’ve lived here my whole life, I work here, I pay my taxes drive, I drive around this country sometimes and I gasp at the beauty of the landscape and the warmth of its people. I hope this Ireland that I love votes yes. I know this will only happen if we all work together. This referendum won’t be won by a committee, nor will it be won on Facebook or on Twitter. It will be won because those who want a yes vote will find that extra hour in their week to put up posters, or knock on doors, or answer phones, or make phonecalls, or write letters, or make badges. It will be won because groups of ordinary people will stand together and say “yes – we believe in love, we believe in equality, we believe our LGBT friends and family are full equal citizens of this country, and we are willing to work to make this yes vote happen.”
We CAN win this. And if we work together, we will win this.
We will win this for ourselves, we will win this for our families, for our friends, for the person we love. We will win this for the children of the nation – those who cannot vote yet, and those yet to be born.
We will win this for those who have gone before us. We will win this for our country and our society, and for the men and women who fought and died for what they believed was a true Republic – a Republic of Equals where regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, of age, race, class or ability, cherishes its children equally and affords all it members human rights, respect and dignity.
So sign that volunteer form, find that extra hour – wake up on May 23rd knowing you did absolutely everything you could have.
We have an opportunity to make Ireland a fairer, more equal place – let’s grab it with both hands.
Let’s win this referendum together.

Thank you.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Squeeze - A very short story

Originally published in "100 Words, 100 Books" published by O' Brien Press for the RTE Bookshow short fiction competition.


Susan had always found humans difficult. Their off-whites and dim blacks never sat well with her, the daily commute an unwelcome reminder of how poorly her jigsaw pieced with the rest of the world - eyes heavy, mind tarry and faltering. The radio whispered the misery of the day as the grey wetness of the rain seemed to seep in through the windshield, pedestrians peering in at her from the concrete footpaths. Other drivers floated by, oblivious to her sharp eyes. She watched the milky pallor of her hands as it ebbed to and from her fingertips, draining to the rhythm of her steering wheel squeezes. She concentrated on dulling herself, zipping up the human suit she squeezed her blackness into each day, hiding her alien eyes, her short fuse and her knowledge that everything she saw was just simply wrong. She parked exactly, the muddy ivory lines framing her vehicle with the symmetry she needed. She sighed, eyes ahead, and prepared to enter the blur of other people's reality. A colleague waved, smiling brightly, and Susan flashed back a pearly response. She swallowed the lump in her throat. Another day had begun.

Rebecca Murphy

Saturday, April 13, 2013

LGBT young people and marriage equality

I was 13 years old when I began to realise that I was gay. It began gradually, a slow creeping of an idea that felt more and more right - it was a frame that suddenly my life, even that young as yet unformed one, began to fit itself into - suddenly who I was, how I was, started making sense - it suddenly found structure.

What was very hard at that point, and what tortured me most, was the idea that being gay hadn't been part of my "plan". The plan, as theoretical as it was, was that I would fall in love with a very handsome man (possibly Dean Cain or Angel from Buffy), we would get married and have lovely little babies, and those children would grow up and follow that life path also. Falling in love with a woman, being in love with a woman, living, in love, with a woman - it just wasn't part of that. I couldn't see any future as a gay woman with the level of happiness I had expected as a "straight" one. The sands had shifted under my feet, and suddenly I was adrift and I felt very, very alone.

I work with teachers and youth workers, and I tell them a story about how I didn't believe I could be a lesbian when I was a young teenager because I genuinely didn't believe they existed outside of America. I didn't know a single gay or lesbian person in my life, as far as I was aware, and being gay existed in a reality that was far beyond mine. As for being gay and being happy, in a committed relationship with someone that loved you? That didn't exist in any reality I was aware of.

Then something, seemingly innocuous and perhaps ridiculous happened. Anna Nolan went on Big Brother - and it changed my life. This seemingly happy, NORMAL, lovely lesbian was from DUBLIN - it blew my mind. I watched the show every night with my parents, I saw her describe her life and her coming out and her realisations and this spark of hope was lit within me - it's the spark that still stays alight. The notion that this world can be brighter, can be loving and welcoming and that the reality I grew up with - a world of silence and despair - is one that can change. Big Brother ended, and I told my best friend that I thought I was gay - the first time I had said the words aloud to anyone except my cat (my faith in cats still hasn't wavered). It may seem silly - but that one indication that life went on beyond the despair - that after the struggle could come a life that, while maybe it didn't fit "the plan", it was an alternative that was just as enjoyable, just as valid- just as cherished as the original path I had envisioned myself skipping along.

Which brings me to our current debate on marriage equality.

Young people are realising they're L, G, B or T everyday. Every single day from the age of roughly 12 years old* there are young girls and boys questioning assumptions they have made about themselves since an adult first joked with them about having a crush on a boy or a girl or since they first read a storybook where a prince and princess fell in love. We all grow up with assumptions - most people never have to question them, most people's plans don't have to be reworked and changed to fit around huge new pieces of information about themselves during puberty.

These young people are watching the decisions that are made about their future - they are looking for signs that everything will be alright. They need it - and we owe it to them.

I don't want another young person thinking their life or their relationships, their love and the families they will form are worth less than their heterosexual friends' and families' lives and loves. We have come such a long way in Ireland, even in the time since I was a teenager. Let's go all the way, let's take this next step towards a place where we can say to our young people with all honesty - you are a child of this nation, you are cherished equally, you are loved, you are welcomed, you are embraced and you are free to live life as happily as anyone else and to make any plan that you wish.

*Mayock, P.; Bryan, A.; Carr, N. & Kitching, K. (2009) "Supporting LGBT Lives: A Study of the Mental Health and Well-Being of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People" Dublin: BeLonG To Youth Services

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Christmas Cooking and Baking

I have a number of allergies, so I decided this Christmas would be the season I finally bake delicious things for myself. I can't eat gluten or eggs, so baking can be bit of a nightmare (and has been utterly heartbreaking most of the time.)

However I've had some success.

The most exciting piece of news pre-Christmas was the delegation of the Xmas ham to my capable hands. Ham is a big deal to me, and the Christmas ham is basically the Academy Awards of ham-making in our house, and this is how it went:

Dance to the beat of my HAYUM.

It was GOOD.

I followed this with a nutella cheesecake made with gluten free digestive biscuits. It was absolutely delicious.

Unfortunately the cheesecake met with a disastrous end after being knocked off its stand by my aunt in law. I won't show you that's too hard.

I decided then to turn my hand to some pastry - puff pastry. This was gas craic, pummelling a pound of butter into the dough, turning it 4,5,6 times and then dividing it into two batches, one of which I froze. With this, so far, I have made sausage rolls:

Stephen's Day Pie (turkey, ham, mushroom and onion pie):

and Vol Au Vents:

I have a load still left in the freezer.

I also had a mad urge for something I haven't had in a long time - sponge cake. This is NOT an easy thing to make when you can't use eggs or gluten but with a little experimentation with liquids etc I threw this one together. You'll notice it's not very big - the rise with non-gluten and non-egg based recipes is not as good but the texture of this cake was perfect. Wonderfully spongey and soft.

Today I had a mad urge for a scone so I threw some of them together, they are very very good:

And using the same recipe for the sponge cake above, I've made these beauties and have iced them using a very basic glace icing. Nom nom. Beauties is an unusual word to describe them alas, as they are incredibly ugly. I even left the really ugly ones (if you can pinpoint them) in this picture as I felt bad. I'm no good with presentation at all - and as long as they're delicious and they're only for me, why should I be? ;)

I've had a very delicious Christmas this year, and I'm really dreading stepping on to the scales once the party officially stops (I'm not back in the office until Tuesday, Christmas holidays until then! :D)

The cakes above come from a number of different sources, a lot of which are adapted, including:

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Dear Miss Smarty Pants

I read Stephen Fry's letter to his 16 year old self and felt inspired. His is here, and absolutely wonderful.

I started this a few weeks ago but have been editing it now and then.

It was a really interesting thing to do - I wasn't sure whether or not to publish it. But sure, why not?

Dear Rebecca,

I'm writing to you, 10 years from the day you're reading this. I'm 26, you're 16. I'm about to go back to college to do a masters degree, you're just going into fifth year. You're young and stupid. I'm slightly older, but still young and still quite a bit stupid. That's ok, everyone has their own kind of stupidity - ours has been serving us quite well so we'll struggle on with it.

You've had a tough few years, and I'm sorry, but the next few years are tough also. You get through it, you survive, you don't cope very well at first, but you learn techniques and soon you start to thrive and enjoy your life. You fall in love and you have many many friends. Lots of them are gay - I swear, you're not the only one on the planet!- most of them are wonderful, some of them are awful fuckers but you'll be able to filter them out yourself in time. Helpful tip: just because someone does something awful, it doesn't negate anything wonderful they've done or the good memories you have with that person.

I like a lot of things about you. You do your own thing, you try your best. You're smart, but not overly precocious. You will learn very quickly that there are people more book smart than you once you leave school - but you're clever and resourceful enough to get by. You can make people laugh and you work your butt off. None of these things leave you (most of the time) - cherish them. You will achieve a lot through grit and determination.

I can't correct your mistakes - and we both know there's been a few already - or the things I don't like about you(you will retain your love of whinging). I can't make your life perfect back then anymore than I can make mine perfect now - I wish I could. I wish I could tell you what I know now - that the world isn't as hateful towards you as you might think, I wish I could tell you to talk to someone, to admit that you're lonely for something you can't even describe yet. That you yearn for a place that's yours - something I know you still haven't quite found. It's a kind of loneliness that you have got used to, that you get comfortable with, so much so that anything that shakes you out of that makes you unsure and uncomfortable.

There are big challenges ahead - I wish I could tell you to ready yourself for them, prepare yourself to be challenged in terms of who you are, what makes you Rebecca, what gives you strength.

You know who you are, and that's something I envy from my position of mid-twenties drift. The certainty and clarity you have about everything, right and wrong, friends and enemies, black and white. That leaves you to a degree, as it does everyone. It never abandons you entirely, and we never lose that streak of pompous self-righteousness - you will learn to not be as annoying about it though (or so I hope!).

Happiness in every life comes and goes, the trick is to enjoy it while it's here but not wait for it to end - I still haven't learned. The rug can get pulled out from under your feet, and it will be. This happens to everyone. We get over it.

I'm sorry that I underestimate you so much - I'm sorry I called you a brat the other day after I read my diaries. Seriously though, you need to stop judging people so much. They may not judge you as much if you do - when you presume everyone is an arsehole then they may see no reason to show you any different.

I know you believe you have all the answers, I wouldn't deny you that experience for anything - but be more open minded. You can listen to people's points of view without accepting them, it's a sign of an enlightened mind, which you can have if you just listen. And keep reading - what was the last book you read? Turn off the computer and go out into the real world.

Keep writing. Please just keep writing and writing even when you think it's crap and no one else will like it.

Please be kind to yourself and to others. Give them a chance.

ps eat lots and lots of eggs and gluten now while you can.

pps The Leaving Cert is actually grand. Noone else will say that to you - but c'mon, who are you going to trust??

pps Even if you are bit of a brat, you're wonderful and worthy of every respect and love.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

So I went to the Wesht

The wesht of Ireland called myself and Lady R for a weekend post-exams and post-illness, so off we went to Galway city for one night, where we went for a delicious meal in Kumar's Taste of Asia (nom nom) and for a trad session in The Crane Bar. Wonderful stuff. I also saw the smallest Claddagh ring in the world in the Claddagh Ring museum as well as getting the overwhelming urge to ram raid the cutest toy shop in the world and steal everything there. Bring me a child upon whom I can lavish these ridiculous gifts.

The best part of the trip was of course the Aran Islands, and our stay in The Pier House on Inis Mor. We cycled around the island - I couldn't walk for 2 days afterward - and the highlight of the trip was DĂșn Aonghasa.

Lady R stood about 6 feet behind me almost getting sick as I took the photo below:

The scenery at Dun Aonghasa (an old fort, parts of which are over 1000 years old) is incredible. It's perched at the edge of a 300 foot cliff making it one of the most inpenetrable defensive structures that can be seen around Europe, if not the world.

We went in search of the Wormhole, but we didn't find anything particularly awe-inspiring. We're pretty sure we went to the wrong place, but we're not too bothered as we'd had a long lovely day at that point, and we saw barren landscape like this. So rugged, beautiful and oddly haunting.

What a wonderful holiday, would highly recommend a trip for anyone - The Pier House is great also, and Joe Watty's has lovely food and tasty hot ports!

Oh and did I mention there were donkeys??