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Dublin: 15 °C Wednesday 17 July, 2019

Tommy Tiernan spoke about how far Ireland has come but the country's reaction to Caitlyn Jenner says otherwise

Comments about Jenner on Twitter showed that Ireland is still pretty ignorant.

PastedImage-55928 Source: The Late Late Show/Twiter

LAST NIGHT COMEDIAN Tommy Tiernan spoke to Ryan Tubridy on The Late Late Show about how much Ireland has changed over the last few decades.

I would call myself a Catholic. I would call myself pro-choice, pro-transgender, pro-homosexual. What an amazing country. People think Ireland is so conservative. We have a gay Taoiseach. It’s not that long ago that we weren’t allowed to be left-handed. That’s how far we have come.

If the video won’t play, click here

His intentions were good, but little did he know that many Irish viewers were sitting at home watching that very same episode of The Late Late Show and happily posting transphobic tweets about Caitlyn Jenner.

Of course nobody has to like Caitlyn Jenner.

PastedImage-4995 Source: RTE

She has given a lot of people plenty of reasons to dislike her – until this year she publicly opposed same-sex marriage, she was a big Trump supporter (until he wanted to ban transgender people from the military) and has made jokes about gun violence.

However, disliking her is not an excuse to resort to transphobia.

Tweet by @Jennifer Canesten♠ Source: Jennifer Canesten♠/Twitter

There were countless transphobic comments on social media in the run up to Caitlyn’s appearance on the show, as well as during her appearance. It’s time to stop lying to ourselves and saying Ireland’s not as conservative as the rest of the world thinks.

Weeks before, Conor McGregor appeared on The Late Late Show ‘apologising’ for using the word ‘faggot’.

Conor McGregor: Notorious World Premiere - Savoy Cinema Source: Brian Lawless

The fact that so many people were clamouring over each other to defend Conor’s usage of the word (despite the fact that the LGBTQ community have always disapproved of it being used as an insult) shows that homophobia is still an issue in Ireland. And it’s one that many of the people who aren’t affected by it refuse to even acknowledge.

Fine Gael party conference Source: Lorraine Teevan

Gay Taoiseach or not, the proof that this country is homophobic lies in how many straight people are incapable of cutting one single word from their vocabulary. The same goes for the casual use of transphobic slurs.

Tiernan said he was pro-choice. After the Citizen’s Assembly heard all sides of the abortion debate at the start of this year, they democratically voted in favour of allowing abortion without restrictions up to 12 weeks.

If this country was in any way progressive, the opinion of the public would have been respected a long time ago. We’re extremely far behind the majority of countries on this planet that don’t have constitutional bans on abortion.

PastedImage-41287 Source: RTÉ

None of this is Tommy Tiernan’s fault. He’s absolutely right about how far we have come, but as long as a slur like ‘faggot’ can be used in everyday conversation and as long as 10 women a day fly to the UK for abortions, we just have not come far enough. However, we can’t keep pretending to ourselves that Ireland is no longer a conservative country.

Very few people who have been forced to travel abroad for an abortion can turn around and say that Ireland is an ‘amazing’ country as easily as Tiernan did last night.

Fine Gael party conference Source: Lorraine Teevan

We have a gay Taoiseach, but it means nothing when he attempts to alienate anyone who could have potentially related to him or looked up to him. It’s OK if you’re gay in 2017, but only if you’re one of those people who ‘gets up early in the morning’.

Plenty of gay and straight homeless people wake up early in the morning when they’re being moved on by the Gardaí, or when they’re getting ready to drop their children to a school that’s two buses away from their emergency accommodation, but this country isn’t for them. We know what type of people who ‘get up in early in the morning’ Leo Varadkar’s government is for.

We have a lot further to go before the rest of the world stop perceiving us as conservative, and it’s time we try methods other than sending our gay Taoiseach out to meet world leaders in a quirky pair of socks.

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Kelly Earley

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