Aaron’s Story: Plastic Paddy

rainbow colours of paint, in little blocks, sitting on a surface smeared with paint.

For Pride month, we asked some of our members if they would like to tell their story and why they are proud. If you would like to contribute, please email londonirishlgbtnetwork@gmail.com  Here’s Aaron’s story:

Plastic Paddy

by Aaron McCarter

You might say I was late to fully appreciate my Irish ancestry, as a child, born in the Yorkshire town of Keighley to a Northern Irish immigrant, I was never able to fully appreciate my Irish roots as my father was born in Derry during the troubles and moved to the north of England as a child. The scars of that trauma as a kid stayed with him for a long time and he was always wary of taking us ‘home’. I always loved hearing my dad speaking with his 8 brothers and sisters in that wonderful Derry accent where I never realised the word fuck could be used so commonly as a verb!

I understood I was a little ‘different’ at an early age when my older brother would be playing football and fighting, I would be playing dress-up and performing with my little sister for home concerts. My Irish granda sadly died of cancer when I was a baby, but I always looked forward to seeing my granny, a rather stoic woman, full of love and warmth, but tried her best to hide it. All I remember as a kid was a thick Derry accent, with NHS prescription glasses and nylon dresses. She would always ask for (in that wonderful accent) ‘a cup of tea and a wee slice of bread’. This woman was an enigma to me as we didn’t see her often, but when we did I was always excited to see her. Years later (a month before lockdown), I would find out that ‘she always thought of me fondly and worried about how much I got bullied at school’.

Continue reading “Aaron’s Story: Plastic Paddy”

Aindrias’ Story: Mo scéal (agus bréaga eile)

For Pride month, we asked some of our members if they would like to tell their story and why they are proud. If you would like to contribute, please email londonirishlgbtnetwork@gmail.com Here’s the first of these stories but first, grab yourself a cuppa.

Mo scéal (agus bréaga eile)

le Aindrias MacT

Creepy Christian Brothers feature, of course, when I consider my childhood, along with the motley parade of pervy priests and nuns inevitably involved with my education.  A very near miss with rape by a local hard-man when I was about 9 and the usual clutch of cliches of repressed Irish small town life apply also.  Yet none of these factors figured much into my formative sexual identity, at least as far as I can tell.

I suppose I was always a bit different.  Some of that was from the classic combination of being obnoxiously good in class and bad at sports (though I compensated to some degree through sheer bulk).  And some from the fact that my mother was English, which had real resonance in early ‘70s Ireland: I do remember being asked as a 7 year old – by an adult – which side would I take in a civil war.  My father died when I was young so my mother was working long hours and both my brothers were much older (not very subtle code for my being a menopausal accident) so I was a bit of a loner, by force of circumstance mostly, rather than choice.

Continue reading “Aindrias’ Story: Mo scéal (agus bréaga eile)”

Pride in London // Photos

London Irish LGBT Network at London Pride

London’s Pride took place on July 6th, this year had an added poignancy as it’s the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

We had great craic on the day and thanks so much for all the interactions on Facebook, Twitter and in real life, along the parade route, on the day. I hope you all had as much fun as we had!

Thanks to James for being our parade coordinator and making sure we we’re all at the right place at the right time. Continue reading “Pride in London // Photos”