I first started blogging way back in 2010. Faffing about wondering what on earth to do with all the white space in front of me, I came up with this:
“Tabularasaphobia: Fear of the blank slate. Fear of committing something, taking one path at the expense of others. The belief that the perfect nothing is better than the imperfect something. That sort of thing.”
And now here I am, four-and-a-bit years later with a whole new blank space and a new bunch of people to say hello to. Only this time? There’s probably one or two of you reading who aren’t my immediate friends or family, and I’m in the fairly impressive company of a couple of handfuls of writers I’m a massive fan of. And somehow I get to do it all in my PJs. Whew. Oh myyy.
Game face on.
I’m Aoife (think Eva with an F, but only if you’re pronouncing Eva to rhyme with TREE-vah). If you’re looking for descriptors, I’m a queer Irish feminist with a social science background and a bucketload of opinions. This year I founded the Bi+ Ireland Network, and I ain’t kidding when I say it’s the thing that I’m proudest of. I’ll write about all of those things, but- being honest, since we’re friends here- I’ll mostly be thinking about roller derby. Sometimes you’ve just gotta strap on a pair of skates and hit some people, y’know?
You probably want to know about the writing though, don’t you?
You ain’t here for me to talk about myself, though. You’re here for the goods, right? Here’s a few things I’ve written over the past few years to get you started and give you a taste of what I’m about: Should “potential fathers” have any say in abortion? (spoilers: no)
It’s not tough, really, to put yourself in the shoes of someone in this situation, even if it’s something you haven’t experienced. You want to be a parent- you long to be a parent. Hearing that your partner is pregnant, you’re overjoyed… And then? Your partner says that it’s not going to happen. And you? You’re expected to hold their goddamn hand through it all, and it hurts.
Yeah. I can imagine that hurting. I can imagine that tearing me apart. I can imagine it being genuinely, honest-to-goodness traumatic.
But a thing hurting our feelings- even in a way that tears us apart and leaves us traumatised and scarred- doesn’t mean that we have the right to infringe on someone else’s bodily autonomy.
And there, you see, is the problem. It’s one thing to tell people that they should, if it’s at all feasible, come out. It’s another thing entirely to do that when research shows clearly that the very communities that give lesbian and gay people a place to come out to and the support they need? Not only don’t do that for bi people- but can actively marginalise them. Speaking as someone who has been openly bi for half my life, and who has been facilitating bi safer spaces for several years now? The story I hear time and again- one of the many stories that breaks my heart every time I hear it, over and over again- is from people who, despite being part of queer communities, never had a space where they felt safe being themselves.
I’m writing this from a cafe in Glasgow. Tomorrow morning I’ll fly home to Ireland. The flight over here took about 40 minutes. Forty short minutes that are the difference between life and death. If Savita had walked into a hospital here she would still be alive. Because she was a few hundred kilometers southwest, she died. I don’t want to say that we must all be Savita. We’re not. We’re alive and she’s dead. But it’s about time that every single one of us became her friend. Became her family. Stood in solidarity and grief beside those who loved her. Beside her husband and her family and everyone who loved her and now has to wake every day knowing that, in the name of life, we took hers away. It’s high time we make sure that every one of our voices is heard and that what is heard is NO. We will not stand idly by while this happens. We will notallow our politicians to hide and put off legislation for decades while women die. We need to take back the moral high ground.
And finally, have a thing I drew. I think it’s pretty cool.
It’s fantastic to be here!