Hey everyone Tonight Scotland celebrates the right to love equally,
as our parliament passed the Equal Marriage Scotland Act by 105 votes to 18. This gives Scotland’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Community the right to marry and to have their love recognised in law with equal value to their heterosexual family and friends.
As a transwoman I have campaigned long and hard for this day, all I need to do now is find a man who is both man enough and mad enough to marry me and it will be in the words of that classic Billy Idol song a nice day for a white wedding.
You know I should have known it was going to be a good day when Caron Lindsay shared a photograph taken by her friend Andy Myles this morning which showed a rainbow over the royal mile. I wonder if God was trying to give us a message of hope and you know what, I think he might have been.
On seeing this beautiful image I decided to write a poem on the right to equal marriage and dedicate it with love and respect to everyone who has campaigned for this result and especially to those 105 MSP who voted for my right to love equally
My heartfelt thanks go to each and every one of them.
Special mentions are however merited these include Nicola Sturgeon MSP and Deputy First Minister whose support for me on a personal level is more appreciated than she will ever know. I also appreciated the kind supportive words of The First Minister of Scotland the Right Honourable Alex Salmond who said when I was introduced to him at a social gathering for ‘new’ party members that I would be a far greater asset to my party and my country than I was in my pre-transitioned days when though likeable I allowed nerves to get in the way of the message. This he said would no longer be the case for a happy and confident woman who would serve Scotland well.
There are also others to thank for this day including Co-leader of the Scottish Green Party Patrick Harvie, Leader Of The Scottish Conservative Party Ruth Davidson, Glasgow Labour MSP Drew Smith, SNP MSP for Glasgow Cathcart James Dornan, The organiser of Pride Glasgow Alasdair Smith, Stonewall Scotland’s Sophie Bridger, SNP Trade Unionist And PPC for the European Elections Chris Stephens, Shettleston SNP activist Steven Tierney, SNP Candidate in the recent Cowdenbeath by-election Natalie McGarry Woman For Independence and Scottish Independence Convention Member Shona McAlpine, Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament Laura McLachlan Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice Caron Lindsay, All at LGBT Scotland, the Scottish Equality Network particularly Tom French, friends from GAP Theatre especially Gillian Clark, Gary McGuire, Iain Boyce, Michelle Brown, Michelle Sloan, Tricia Feeney, Lorraine McKenzie, and the Mitchell sisters Kellie, Sharlene, and Jade. My long standing friends from the University of Strathclyde especially Ailsa King, Carolyn Black, Jo Muir, Katrina Cuthbertson and Simon Mawson and all members of the Scottish Spoken Word and Traditional Music Communities
I would like to acknowledge the contribution of some members of these communities without whose support my journey on the road I now walk with confidence would have been a lot harder than it has. So I’ll start with the team from spoken word they include Marc Sherland, Linda Grant, Kevin Cadwallender, Alex Frew, Andy Fleming, JJ Turner, Agnes Torok, Sean McBride, Claire Askew, Derek Read, Audrey Marshall, Craig Scott,
Fiona Lindsay, Kathryn Metcalfe,
Danny O’Connor Steve Allan, John McGlade, Catherine Baird, Kevin Gilday, Lisa Gilday, Maryanne Hartness, Tracy Patrick, John Savage, Stephen Watt, Jim Monaghan, Pete Faulkner, Jane Overton, Chris Young, Jenny Lindsay, Jim Ewing, Robin Cairns, Sophia Walker Siobhan Harkin and her adorable daughter Shannon The one and only first lady of Sammy’s the brilliant Pamela Duncan and my mad poetic sister also known as the magical Viv Gee.
From the world of traditional music particular thanks are due to Roisin, Siobhan and Patricia McArdle, who stood by me and supported me when they could easily have walked away. To Eilidh Grant now Eilidh Leslie for her continued friendship and support. To Billy and Hazel Pryce, to Heather Currie and her gorgeous daughter Shauna who insists that I am not only her auntie but tells her mother I am never wrong. Jim King also deserves credit for putting up with my ramblings over many years as does, Anna Meldrum, Rachel Sermanni, and Laura Wilkie. Also credit must be given to Samantha Hands whose faith has inspired me to grow deeper on my own christian journey, Daniel Hunter for no other reason except he is Daniel Hunter to my former woman of the year the brilliant Althea Maxwell, and to Siobhan Marie Downes for late night chats and attempts to keep me sane and so many others too many to mention. All of those mentioned and many who are not, deserve wedding invitations when the great day dawns as it must and surely will.
Also I can’t let today pass without mentioning a few former work colleagues and the names of Pam Duncan, Pamela Miller,and Joyce Cowie come to mind. However there is one who shines above all others and who’ll be a friend till the end of time and that is Yvonne Hughes whose friendship and support saw me through many of my darkest days. Yes Yvonne sometimes a smile really does make a difference.
I would also like a mention to Yvonne’s cousins Jackie and Natalie who saw me as my true self before most of the world was ready and a long time before I knew Yvonne. In fact Jackie and Natalie knew in the days when I was young enough to get away with wearing a black mini skirt and silver tights or at least I thought I was. Well it was the end of the 1990’s and I was in my late thirties and at the beginning of my journey out from the deepest and darkest of closets. Trust me I had loads of confidence in my unique personal style even if some of it may have been severely misplaced, however I have to say I didn’t think that at the time
To conclude what must be the longest thank you speech in history since Barry McGuigan retired from boxing I have to say that Lesley McKay has at least attempted to bring some sanity in to my life as have the parishioners at Baillieston St Andrew’s Church especially
the quietest member of any congregation otherwise known as Jane Sharp. Thanks also to Sheena Campbell and
Diana Mc Naught. Other local lassies who have tried to varying degrees to bring out the softer side of my nature include Theresa Agnew, Laura Mallin, Leanne McKay, Gillian Robertson, Jade Mc Isaac, Carlene Kilday and that lovable nutter who insists on calling me Auntie Gayle, my current woman of the year Katie Walker and I have to say this description flatters me much more than I deserve.
Anyway to all of those I’ve mentioned and my many friends in the LGBT community who are far too numerous to mention I dedicate this poem. I have called it Rainbow Road and I hope you enjoy the read and think it worthy to celebrate such a wonderful occasion.
On the day we said yes to equal love
a good friend made me smile
she shared a photograph she was sent
of a vision on the mile
A rainbow shone through a cloudless sky
and as the day was dawning
I saw a future filled with hope
in the peace of a February morning
This was a day for all of us
to celebrate with pride
the fact the love is a human right
and should never be denied
Love does not discriminate
so let this truth be said
it’s the right of every citizen
to share a marriage bed
To live our lives with the one of our dreams
real love does not surrender
to narrow minded attitudes
biology or gender
We find who we will on our journey through life
and hope our love stays true
and as a transwoman I want to say
for the right to say I do
My road will not be yellow brick
but when I find my prince
I won’t be slow to let him know
I will be dropping hints
Believe me he’ll know he’s the one
and as I’m dressed in white
I’ll know I walked the rainbow road
to find my Mr Right
@ Gayle Smith 2014