When I was younger, I loved the film ‘Matilda’. Something about the lead character really intrigued me. She had an intrinsic motivation to do what was right, regardless of the environment she was brought up in. She went against the tide—the ‘norm’—and searched for justice for herself and for those around her. She was determined, passionate and upright.
She was an inspiration… a true hero.
But what I have learned over the past decade since I first watched this film, is that such heroism is not restricted to books or films. Such heroism is not unattainable. It begins much closer to home, and it is widespread across the LGBTQ+ community and youth work.
A hero is someone who does what’s right in the face of adversity. This can manifest itself in so many ways. It can be a superhero, a teacher or a youth worker. And it can be you!
I believe we are all heroes, just like ‘Matilda’. We can all contribute to a better world which will benefit both ourselves and others. This is true of Sinead Murray-Lynch from BreakOUT, Donegal’s LGBTQ+ youth group, who gave me the strength to come out to my friends and family. And it is true of the hundreds of youth workers from Malin to Mizen Head who do the same thing every day.
It’s true of the dozen or so young people who are currently on the Youth Advisory Panel for the Department of Children and Youth Affair’s National LGBTI+ Youth Strategy, and of the thousands of young people who got involved and made their voices heard during the consultation process.
It’s true of every single person who will attend Pride this year to celebrate the unparalleled contributions the LGBTQ+ community have made, and will continue to make, to Irish society.
Heroism is not complex. Heroism, like love and pride, is embedded deep within us and merely needs to be explored and unleashed.
So, go n-éirí an bóthar libh. Bainigí sult as Dublin Pride 2017. And remember to find your inner hero!