gay rights is a very current topic at the moment and anyone who knows me knows that this is an issue very close to my own heart. Whilst it's legal to be gay in Ireland and there's plenty of anti discrimination laws in place gay people don't have equal rights. Lesbian, gay and transgender couples are only entitled to civil partnerships. This means Same sex couples don't get the same legal protection as they would from marriage. There's a referendum coming up in May where people will get the chance to vote for same sex marriage. I've always thought marriage was an act between two people who love each other to prove their love and make a commitment? Love is blind. So why is it illegal for two people who love each other to want to call themselves a married couple like lots of heterosexual couples today? I'm sure it's hard for gay people to watch friends and family get married to the people they love when they cannot marry their own loved one. There's debate over why same sex marriage shouldn't be legalised and some of the opposition arguments claim that it destroys the family and it's unfair to children. I just don't see how what sexuality you are can define you as a mother or father? I know that my uncle will be an amazing dad and if anything being gay will make him a kinder, more considerate and accepting father. I believe that a child deserves parents who love him/ her unconditionally and want the best for him or her. Being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender doesn't change that? Yes ok there's a risk that the child could be bullied for having two mams or two dads or a transgender parent but a child with an overweight or differently dressed parent has just as much chance of being bullied because there'll always be ignorant people who can't accept differences. In school we're constantly being taught to be true to who we are but what if being true to ourselves isn't legal? Right now in Ireland if you want to change your gender there's no legal recognition of your new gender. So that instantly makes it harder to be true to you. Which I think is ridiculous. It's unfair to tell people to be themselves if being themselves gives them less rights. We need to fix this now. Whilst gay people in Ireland aren't subject to criminalisation or torture they can be subjected to discrimination, bullying, violence and hostility. Negative words like "queer" "faggot" and "that's so gay" are still commonly used by people. Including myself. We use these words far too often and they've become normal. Most of us don't mean them in a cruel way but it's still discouraging and hurtful to gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders everywhere. 30% of gay people say they've been harassed at work, 58% have said they've been bullied at school and 28% have said they're not out to their neighbours. Last year stories were posted and gathered online on the journal.ie describing life as a gay teacher today in Ireland. These stories were written by real people who've experienced homophobia and discrimination in their workplaces because of their sexualities. Their experiences heartbreakingly proved there's still a lot of negativity surrounding gay people. For example a teacher had the role of coach to the school football team he/she coached given away to another teacher after the principal discovered that the teacher was gay. There's plenty of role models today for gay rights such as Panti Bliss/ Rory O Neill, Sir Ian McKellan and recently Leo Varadkar but that's not enough. In order to make being gay truly okay we need to end this discrimination and hostility and the first way to do this is by voting yes to same sex marriage. A yes vote won't end homophobic culture but it will certainly be the start to the road to an equal and fair Ireland.