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Politics

Irish lesbian minister likely to lose her seat after ‘hate filled campaign’ against her LGBT activism

Patrick Kelleher February 10, 2020
Katherine Zappone lesbian

Katherine Zappone with her late with Ann Louise Gilligan in 2015, two years before Gilligan passed away (Clodagh Kilcoyne/Getty)

Ireland’s first lesbian minister is expected to lose her seat as counting continues following the country’s general election.

Katherine Zappone, who is originally from the United States but has been an Irish citizen since the 1990s, became Ireland’s first openly lesbian minister in 2016.

But counts from her constituency in Dublin South-West indicate that she is likely to lose her seat.

There are five seats in Zappone’s constituency. One of those has been won by Sinn Féin’s Seán Crowe and Colm Brophy of Fine Gael looks likely to take the second seat, RTÉ reports.

Zappone is currently trailing behind in fifth place with 4,800 votes. With just four more seats to be filled, Zappone’s chances of staying in her post are looking increasingly unlikely.

Lesbian minister Katherine Zappone was victim of ‘hate-filled campaign’ in lead-up to the Irish general election.

The news will come as a disappointment to the Independent candidate, who was first elected as a TD in Ireland’s last general election in 2016. She was later appointed minister for children and youth affairs .

Zappone’s poor performance in the general election comes just days after she shared a video on social media where she said some people had created a “hate-filled campaign” against her because of her LGBT+ activism.

I’m very upset to hear about that, not so much for myself, but for the others who share that identity with me.

“I’m very upset to hear about that,” Zappone said in the video. “Not so much for myself, but for the others who share that identity with me. I really believe that it’s important to say ‘no’ to that, and instead really give the message that my work as a lesbian, as an educator, as a politician, as a community educator, is fuelled and rooted in love.

“Love is what enabled me to – with my beloved late spouse Ann Louise Gilligan – to become one of the leaders of the marriage equality referendum. Love is what motivated both of us to start a community education organisation in our own home.”

Zappone famously proposed to Ann Louise Gilligan on live television in 2015.

Zappone encouraged people to embrace diversity and said we need to work to create a more inclusive society.

“I’m distressed about what’s going on not so much for myself but for all of the other people who are not, I suppose, feeling as included in society as they should,” she finished.

Zappone is well known in the Irish LGBT+ community for her activism. She and her late wife Ann Louise Gilligan fought tirelessly for same-sex marriage.

She famously proposed to Gilligan on live television when the result of the country’s same-sex marriage referendum was announced.

Just two years later, Gilligan died following a brief illness.

More: Ann Louise Gilligan, Gay, Irish general election, Katherine Zappone, lesbian, LGBT, marriage equality, minister

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