Mary McAleese calls for homophobic ‘walls of Jericho’ to be destroyed

Mary McAleese.
Mary McAleese.

Belfast-born ex-Irish president Mary McAleese has said gay people are still at risk from those who are mustering the forces of “last-stand resistance” to equality.

In a speech in Belfast she condemned proponents of “conversion therapy” (which aims to alter people’s sexuality) and said that they “need to be challenged” over the practice.

She claimed gay rights campaigners were making history.

“You are turning the tide of hurt and hatred, country by country, culture by culture, heart by heart,” she said.

“It is helping our world to experience the liberating joy that comes from taking down the edifice of homophobia brick by brick, the bricks of tradition, doctrine, dogma, beliefs, attitudes, practices and laws.

“Only when that edifice has crumbled like the walls of Jericho will we vindicate the generations of countless LGBTI men and women [which stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersexed], whose lives were only half-lived and whose dreams of acceptance and full equality were never realised.”

She was appearing at the annual “Tolerantia Awards” ceremony hosted by The Rainbow Project in Titanic Belfast on Tuesday night.