Author Archives: Sharrow

All is not well yet for LGBTI people in Ireland


All of us last year witnessed an extraordinary moment for equality in Ireland and for LGBT people and their families in Ireland when same-sex marriage became legal. It would be understandable, given the warmth of the Marriage Equality campaign and the scale of the Yes result, to expect that we can now move on from campaigning on LGBT rights to addressing other serious issues in Irish society. However, in a report launched on 22nd March 2016 by former President Dr Mary McAleese, we see that all is certainly not well for Ireland’s LGBTI community.

The LGBTIreland Report shows that a majority of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people aged 26 and over are doing well, report good self-esteem and are proud of their identity. However, these positive findings are not shared across all age groups. We found that LGBTI people still face considerable barriers to good mental health…

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Posted by on April 22, 2016 in Uncategorized


Rape figures are up – but could that be good news?

Rape figures are up – but could that be good news?


The latest crime figures from the CSO have shown a marked rise in recorded rapes and sexual assaults. In 2015, 536 rapes were reported throughout the State. That’s an increase of just over 12pc on 2014.

The number of sexual assaults went up by 15pc in the same period, with a shocking 2,361 offences reported throughout the country last year.

Just what is going on?

There’s no doubt the figures are up. But it’s worth bearing in mind that these are figures for reported offences, and they’re far, far lower than the numbers of actual offences taking place. The 2002 SAVI report, the most comprehensive report ever done on sexual offences in Ireland, found that just 7pc of rape victims had reported the crime.

This is borne out by the most recent figures from the Rape Crisis Network, which are from 2013. According to the countrywide centres, just 7pc of…

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Posted by on April 4, 2016 in Uncategorized


When Accessibility gets Labeled Wasteful


So there’s a debate going on, on Twitter right now between disabled people and people who either claim to care about the environment and or just want to complain about “lazy people”

The tweet that started it all

orangegate cropped

Image Description: tweet with a picture of peeled oranges in plastic containers on a grocery store (whole foods) shelf. Tweet reads “If only nature could find a way to cover these oranges so we didn’t need to waste so much plastic on them”

The original tweet has been shared over 70,000 times. Whole Foods has apparently agreed to remove the prepeeled oranges from their stores. Environmentalists and those who hate laziness rejoice!

The problem is that this discourse completely ignores how preprepared food impacts people with disabilities. The most common complaints about the sale of these oranges is either the wastefulness of the additional packaging (which is true but somewhat misdirected as…

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Posted by on March 6, 2016 in Uncategorized


Things I Was Told Were Personal Failings But Were Actually Autism

A wonderful read.

Autistic Academic

The original edition of this post was written for Tumblr last August.  Until my post on “ASL for Autistic Adults in Tight Spots” (see previous post), it was my most-Tumblr’d piece.

This edition is updated to reflect the intervening gain in self-knowledge &etc.

An incomplete list of things I have been told all my life are personal failings and/or signs of immaturity that I would eventually “grow out of,” but that actually turned out to be my autism.

1.  Not being able to remember faces.  Even if I have seen them many times before.  I have actually failed to recognize members of my own family when I have run into them in unexpected situations (grocery stores, movie theatres).  I now alert my students at the start of every semester: even if I manage to match names and faces inside the classroom, I will probably fail to recognize them entirely…

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Posted by on June 16, 2015 in Uncategorized


Cork Evening Echo Opinion Column: Why I spoke up for marriage equality

140 characters is usually enough

My feet were sore and my back was at me.

It was two days to the Marriage Equality referendum and I’d taken some time off work to help with Yes Equality Cork. I had never canvassed for anything in my life and my experience of going door-to-door in rural towns and villages had been almost universally positive. I was finding standing on the street in Cork a lot more daunting.


Outside the city library at lunchtime, I decided a friendly, indirect approach was best.  Holding my Yes Equality leaflets in my hand, I greeted people “Hello! Are you voting on Friday?” The most common answer I got was along the lines of “I am voting. And I’m voting Yes.” Some people said they hadn’t made their minds up yet. I asked if they had any worries or doubts and almost all said they didn’t, which led me…

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Posted by on May 28, 2015 in Uncategorized


Don’t go anywhere: Risk management for women

Feminist Ire

You leave your house very early in the morning. It could be anywhere between 6am and 8am, but it’s mostly around 6.30am. You take the bus to work. The streets are deserted. Most mornings, your boyfriend walks your dog down the road beside you to the bus stop. Some days, you are on your own. On your days off work, you would like to walk your dog across town at 6am, the route you would take in the daytime when there is hustle and bustle, but maybe it isn’t safe enough when it is early. There aren’t enough people about.

There are shady looking characters that lurk around the streets in the morning. You get nervous when you see them. You wonder should you alter your route to the bus stop but each route you would take would require you to walk down a street that might be a little…

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Posted by on April 17, 2015 in Uncategorized


Louise O’Neill: A word after a word after a word is power

Louise O’Neill: A word after a word after a word is power

The Coven

Margaret Atwood wrote “A word after a word after a word is power.”

I am blind in this world. I do not know what direction in which I face. I do not know what I believe. I do not know who I am. Then I begin to write.

A word after a word after a word, each one slides off my pen and drips onto the page, drip, drip, drip. A word after a word after a word. And it, whatever it may be, begins to make sense to me. There it is. A story. My story.

They say that artists have themes, issues, motifs that they keep returning to. There is one story buried so deep within our bones that we are compelled to tell it in an effort to draw it to the surface. We must tell it and re-tell it again and again, until finally, it will…

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Posted by on April 12, 2015 in Uncategorized


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