It’s yes from Ireland….

Just days ago Ireland announced a residing yes for marriage equality. After all the negativity surrounding the vote and the harmful ‘No’ campaign, equality won. The result was so positive it’s mind blowing and I couldn’t be happier for everyone.   Anyone who’s knows me or who read my last blog who know my feelings on equality for gay people but it sure was so difficult road for so many friends. 

  
   
 It was pretty awful watching gay friends, Irish friends, friends who couldn’t vote and friends of Irish decent worry so frequently about the weekends events. It not only forced them to confront the homophobia in their country but also forced so many to question their family and friend’s opinions about their sexuality. It never occurred to me that the hurtful truth was even though they had the love and support from their family about their choice of partner and ‘lifestyle,’ the subject of gay marriage would divide not only the country but families. 
I witnessed my friends put up messages on social media  about their hope for a yes vote only to receive a comment from an aunt or uncle about why they were in fact voting no, even though they have ‘no problem’ with them being gay. It astounded and dumb founded me. I didn’t realise how ignorant I was to think that this makes no sense just because it makes no sense to me. So many of the arguments for no (from individuals with an acceptance for ‘gay’ people) seemed misinformed and strange to me.

 On a more extreme side of the no campaign I saw slogans stating  ‘a baby deserves a mother and father’ and ‘If we allow this, what next?’ these slogans would even be followed by a photo of a distraught child supposedly adopted by a gay couple or someone committing an act of terrorism. Terrorism and sexuality? Since when were these related issues? It is so often that I’m a saddened by how easily we can spread opinions to a wide audience no matter how uninformed it may be. Free speech is of course a beautiful thing but so scary when a family member or even stranger can use it to hide behind a computer and spread hate or just alter others opinions. Of course not all arguments were so extreme but it did become a small obsession of mine to check out some of the no campaign tactics. I suppose at first I wanted at least one argument to make sense to me. A way of understanding why they felt gay marriage would cause so much anguish, other than it just not being the norm. 
The deeper I looked into the no campaign the more I didn’t understand but I can tell you for sure there wasn’t a second I thought their campaign would win. Yes I was being optimistic and yes Ireland has a track record for sticking to tradition but a hate campaign in 2015 to win votes is not only backwards but an insulting way to win. I hoped with all my might younger generations would see this especially. By no means am I saying that all no campaigners are evil or extremists but just that some of the opinions I saw did cut very deep and I found hard to swallow. I am also not saying this referendum now solves all problems that the LGBT community face in Ireland especially but it sure is a stepping stone and is definetly historic.

How incredible it was to see people stand together and celebrate the beginning of something beautiful. I’m a total sap for any gathering where a country is united for a great cause but Sunday got me especially chocked up. This referendum seems like the best thing to happen to a nation this year and what an amazing effect it will have on the country and now the counties to follow. 
It’s so easy to get bogged down but all the bad things that happen in the world and how slow progress is. People even in this day and age still find it difficult to except traditions outside their religion, culture, race etc… But for a country that was once deemed ‘backwards’ by not only outsiders but by some of it’s own residents, it’s mayor. I think that’s why with all the hate campaigns and stronge opinions leading up to the result I couldn’t help but see the positive mark Ireland were making just by having the referendum. A country like Ireland ruled by religion and tradition just putting forward the vote for gay marriage was always a massive step forward. 

The world thanks you Ireland and now it just begs the question; If Ireland can do it why not you? 
Sleep easier world. 

Much love, Gabby xxx 

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Equality walk Sunday….

A few months ago I signed up for the Stonewall Equality Walk. It was a day spent celebrating and raising money for the LGBT community. The day finally came two weeks ago. It was a pretty awesome day spent with one of my closest childhood friends and two of hers. 

  
I had never actually heard of Stonewall until 3 years ago when a friend of mine starting working for gay rights organisations. At that time nothing really caught my attention to be honest between the exhaustion of my personal life and late nights at LIPA (20 something problems eh?) but for some reason this did. She was so passionate about Stonewall and gay rights that it forced me to do some light digging. I found out that Stonewall was an organisation that supported and helped the LGBT community. For anyone not sure that’s Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender shorthand. At first I brushed it aside and thought about it having no real relevance in my world. So many of my friends are gay, my friends aren’t homophobic, so problem solved right? 
I was so naive at the time to the problems that community faced. Being in the bubble that was drama school and doing musical theatre, the problem of homophobia didn’t come up frequently with my circles of friends, until I met one of my closest friends. Whilst studying she had come out to her family. It was one of the hardest things she had ever had to do and I was so proud of her I could burst. A few questions from her family, maybe a bit of confusion and it would all be ok I hoped. She was so brave but unfortunately faced the harshest criticism from her loved ones. With a traditional family and a religious background I suppose it was never going to be easy ride but I didn’t expect the situations she faced. She had always been a great support system and I one of hers but it was an issue so far removed from my trivial ones I struggled so much to try to help, most of us did. We constantly would tell her it would get better and we loved her and that it didn’t matter to us but when it matters to your own Mother we could completely understand her feeling the way she did.

The longer we we spent at Uni the more of my friends came out. It was incredible to see, with most parents welcoming the news or telling my friends they knew all along but were waiting for them to say. Why couldn’t the day anyone comes out be like this? 

At Secondary school I met my childhood best friend. We were complete opposites in almost every superficial way but somehow became inseparable. Her family became my second family and her home became my second home (or first at times as my Dad would say). Our biggest problems at the time were boys and if her Mum had remembered to buy more Milky Way chocolate spread. She always had thank God! So the day she said she had something to tell me I obviously thought was no big deal. No big deal of course until she was crying in front of me. She was devastated, she seemed so scared to tell me what ever it was. I remember retelling her the story at a later date and telling her I thought she had killed someone because of the way she was acting. Of course I was pretty sure she hadn’t but we were best friends so my first priority was figuring out where we would hide the body. I joke!

She gathered herself and finally told me she was dating a girl. I stared at her and replied ‘Ok…’ Inside I thought ‘Omg major relief.’ I’ve got a bit of a vague memory about the exact exchange after this except she was relieved that I wasn’t fazed and when I asked her how she thought I would react she said ‘I had no idea’ or something to that effect. It wasn’t until I got a little older that I understood where she was coming from. We had been best friends for years but even with your closest friends and family it’s so hard knowing their actually opinions on sexuality, religion, interracial couples etc… unless you make a conscious effort to find out. 

I suppose that’s what brought me to doing this event. I myself have no idea what some of my family feel about all of these things and for the most part I’d be terrified to ask. What if they didn’t accept my gay friends and all gay people in general. I would feel so differently about them, feel uneasy about introducing them to my closest and wonder what other major opinions we have on the world that we disagree on. 
I’m so bored of being gay being an issue in some people’s lives when it’s not in mine. Acceptance is so much easier then hate in my eyes and I saw the opportunity to support this and went for it.
 

1 hour , 30 minutes.

I don’t want anyone to feel the way my friend felt the first time she told me she was interested in a girl and I absolutely don’t want anyone to feel the way my Uni friend felt when she told her Mum. I’m so glad I got involved in this charity that helps fight for gay rights and councils young gay people. 

I’ve now been registered as a volunteer for Stonewall for a year and through the this event have raised £420 for Stonewall.  I am so happy to be part of among a difference and I’d do it again in a hot minute. 

Signing off, much love 

Gabby xx 

LIPA would like to invite you to….

 Liverpool has always held a mixture of fond, crazy and sometimes even regretful memories for me. It was Uni after all. 
One thing is for certain, I wouldn’t change it for the world. From it’s every night music scene, major drinking culture and the many theatre spaces all crammed into a tiny city centre. 
Like anyone who went to drama school, you learnt so much about yourself over the 3 years but for us we did so in the safe bubble that was ‘Up North.’

Now after quite a few years I’m returning to my LIPA roots for a conference. Conference, you say? Sounds quite swish right?!
Every year ‘successful students’ are invited back to share their knowledge about the industry and answer questions from students sat in the very seat you were in just years ago. Not a terrible way to spend a Sunday. 
As excited as I am to go back I can’t shake the surreal feeling that I am going back to ‘share my wisdom.’
Let’s hope I’m as knowledgeable as they presume. 

I will be the first to say that drama school was a place that had a less than desired affect on me as soon as I started. I came in ready to take on the industry and soak up every piece of knowledge my teachers had to give. Not all went to plan. Soon I went straight into my shell terrified to share an opinion about even my opinion. 
A shell I had no idea existed. 
I realised, for me performing and more importantly failing in front of my peers was a lot scarier than a audition panel of strangers or thousands of people. 
A problem I rarely saw in my fellow LIPA-ites. 

That brings me to today. I now wonder heading back to LIPA, how I will find giving advice to students who may even be in a better position then I was right before I was about to graduate. More sure of themselves perhaps, a favourite with the teachers or just an in built knowing they will do well. 

I was so excited to get into the real world and dare I say ready for the struggling actor life but certainly more unsure then a lot of my classmates about what my future had in store.  

I think the biggest lesson I have learnt is that every audition is a positive opportunity. Not a test or a trick, but a chance you should embrace. 
Once I did learn this auditions became exciting for me. People on the panel want you to do well. They are there to cast a show and do a job themselves. Theatre is a business and time is money so the longer they spend looking the more it costs the show. It would make their life a whole lot easier if they could end the search with you. Going in with that attitude helped me countless times. 

The second greatest lesson to date and one I continue to learn is simple and cliche…
You are not what you do. 
Acting is a choice in career, a great one but a career nonetheless. Let go of what happened in ‘the room’ in an audition and get on with your day. 

We are weakest when we allow the past to rule us. Auditions are no different. Learn from what you did in them instead of dwelling on what you could have done better. 
I’m all too familiar with the feeling of a ‘failed’ audition. Who knows the circumstances of why you weren’t called back or even why you were when you are convinced it was the worst thing you have done in front of other human beings. 
You can speculate all you like and still never know, so concentrate on what you can control and that’s you, your preparation and your dedication. 

I quickly learned these lessons even before leaving drama school as I had my first few auditions. 
I’ve watched friends fall into these traps time and time again having moved away from acting now or growing more disheartened everyday. It’s as tough a business as they say but it can be so rewarding. Finding your lessons and where to draw strength from is so important. 

Those are just a couple of the many things I have learnt so far. I suppose I’ll have to wait and see what I am asked and hope to be helpful.

Looking forward to updating you all about the conference this week. 

Signing off… 

Gabby xxx 

A very good place to start

After years of pondering, months of diary digging and days of recovering lost passwords I am finally starting my blog.

I hope to fill this blog with nothing but the honest truth about the journey of a London actress running around trying to make sense of the world and people.

So here’s to a new year with hopefully intriguing, interesting, ridiculous and pointless posts. Let’s face it, what is the internet for but to run away with your opinions safely behind a computer screen.

Can not wait to get started!

See you all soon for my first real post.

Stay silly.

Gabby x