Why don’t we vet Government Ministers?

When Leo Varadker made his sexual orientation public last week, a brief and transient thought flashed through the minds of his party colleagues, the media and the general public – does the fact that he is gay prevent him in any way from doing or holding his job as Minister for Health?

Thankfully, we now live in an Ireland that doesn’t discriminate politically between people based on the gender of people to whom they are attracted, and we have all moved on. But Mr Varadker’s announcement raised a few more fundamental questions. Continue reading »

Leo is Gay – why it matters

There are probably five or six gay people working as TDs in the Dail, but maybe as many as 15 or 16 – given that it’s hard to estimate and define ‘gayness’ as opposed to bisexuality or once-off encounters. An ERSI survey in Ireland reported that 7.1% of men and 4.7% of women reported having a homosexual experience in their lives, but only 2.7% of men and 1.2% of women self-identified as being gay. Which proves that some people have a problem with that definition.

This is one of the difficulties of defining people by their sexuality. Sexuality is a spectrum for many people and an evolving identity. That is why it is so important that Health Minister Leo Varadker has chosen to ‘come out’ as a gay man. Continue reading »

Learning from Illness (11) – Journalist in the Way

I’ve been a journalist for most of my adult life and, as that implies, I’ve spent time wondering about the nature of media and truth, and whether or not there is any correlation between the two. We journalists don’t set out to distort reality, and some of us do a fine job in exposing truths that many would prefer to keep hidden, but the journalistic process is still something that can tend to obscure. Continue reading »