Growing up gay, I found solace in media that had positive portrayals of gay characters. Even the briefest reference held so much value for me.
Now, teens growing up in an environment where "That's so gay!" means that something is inferior or stupid. Regardless of whether or not anyone thinks homosexuality is a "lifestyle choice" or a pre-determined orientation, a positive of gay people is needed because we are inundated with blatant and subtle negative stereotypes that dramatically impact on the self-esteem of gay youth.
So, it was nice to open the Indo a few weeks back and see pictures from the christening of Nicky Byrne's kids. One showed Mark holding hands with his boyfriend, looking happy and relaxed. Amazingly, it didn't attract any comment whatsoever. It shows that things are changing for the better and the Ireland of 2007 is becoming more accepting.