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Dublin: 22 °C Friday 25 July, 2014

Column: I am gay. I have always been gay. I’ve never not been gay.

I’m happy with who I am and I love this country – but I am not happy with how I get treated for how I live my life, writes Christopher Chong.

Christopher Chong

I AM GAY. I have always been gay. I’ve never not been gay. It is just who I am. I did not choose to be this way, and honestly, I haven’t always wanted to be this way. Unfortunately we cannot choose who we are. Some of us are born with brown hair, others blond, others red. There’s nothing we can do with the hair colour we’re born with. Yes, we can dye away the colour and change the style, to fool people.

Sexuality is the same. Some of us are heterosexual, others are bisexual, others are homosexual. But while we can hide our true colours from the world, the roots will always grow back and shine through.

I write this to my home country, Ireland. Having lived for near my entire life I love this land. I love the people, I love the places, hell I even love the weather. Sadly, the homophobia that still exists in Ireland in 2014 is just something else altogether. Revelations came out during the week that the State broadcaster RTÉ paid out €85,000 in punitive damages following an interview with Rory O’Neill, aka Panti Bliss, on The Saturday Night Show.

It is appalling to think that RTÉ, a body that is supposed to respect the view of all, would pay damages because someone discussed how he felt about those actively campaigning for gay people to be treated differently to heterosexual people.

The show then held a debate about homophobia and what it means. In typical Irish style the debate was unrealistic and utterly pointless. What is homophobia? Well let me tell you what homophobia is. Simply put, treating LGBT people any different than straight people. And guess what? That includes all legalities, including marriage. It isn’t exactly rocket science.

I’ve had to battle through my entire life to be who I am

And all I can really say is “why?” I mean, what does it matter to others what sexuality you are? It doesn’t hurt anyone else. In the past I used to say that I was lucky because I had never been bullied for being gay. Yet, I have. By institutions. Whether it has been the State for not recognising my simple human rights, or the Church for teaching me that who I am is wrong. I have had to battle through my entire life to be who I am, and sadly I have grown tired. I am only one man, a not very big man at that. I cannot understand why people, who homosexuality doesn’t even affect, attack it like it is a disease.

Luckily I am surrounded by a loving group of family and friends. People that actually care about other people. These are the true saints. The true martyrs. The true charities. They aren’t perfect, and do not claim to be. Unlike those who teach us throughout our lives, these people have accepted me for who I am and what I stand for. I am happy with who I am – but I am not happy with how I get treated for how I live my life.

Homosexuality is natural, no matter what they say

And the funny thing is, I don’t live my life any different than anyone else. I am still a typical 20-year-old man. I get up, eat, work, go to college, drink too much, party too hard, laugh, cry and in general live my life. I do not care who everyone else lies with at night so, I do not understand why anyone else does.

I am not an activist. I am not a fighter. I am a man trying to live his life. I have never and will never berate anyone. Homosexuality is natural, no matter what they say. It exists throughout nature. Please, do not hate. Let all people live and love. The world will be a much safer, and happier place as a result. I cannot fight forever. But, LGBT people will. I will stand with them. For too long we have been treated as if we are less. We are all human. We should be treated that way.

Christopher Chong is a third year Communications student in Dublin City University. A soon-to-be media graduate, he uses his blog to express his thoughts on life as a gay man in Ireland. He is not an activist and is not currently part of any LGBT organisation. You can follow the blog on Confessions of an Irish Gay Guy or on Twitter @IrishGayGuy1 or email: confessionsofanirishgayguy@gmail.com or finnchris@outlook.com

Watch: Panti’s powerful speech about oppression of gay people

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