DUBLIN — Once-traditional Catholic Ireland is well on its way to becoming the best little country in the world in which to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
In May this year, marriage equality became legal after the constitutional change was approved by a breathtaking majority (62 to 38 per cent) in a national referendum, despite apocalyptic warnings from the once-powerful Catholic Church of the Sodom-like conditions into which society would surely be plunged by such a result.
In the latest sign of the shifting cultural plates, Jonathan Clynch, a senior radio news presenter and journalist on the country’s national public broadcaster, RTE 1, has been widely praised after he came out as ‘gender fluid.’
The 44-year-old, who has yet to make a public statement, told his bosses that he wishes to now be known as Jonathan Rachel and would sometimes dress as a female.
Jonathan Rachel’s gender orientation had been known for some time by a wide group of friends and colleagues.
He has been using the name Jonathan Rachel online since last summer and had recently changed his profile picture on LinkedIn to one of him wearing make-up, jewelry and feminine clothing but it was later removed.
He has been widely praised for his decision, and is said to be "touched" by the public's reaction. embed tweet
Clynch is now on holiday but will return to work in October, when he will be formally identified during on-air segments as Jonathan Rachel Clynch.
Gender fluidity is an overlap or blending of genders, where people sometimes identify as being more male and other times as more female.
RTE said in a statement, “Both as an employer and broadcaster, we value the uniqueness of individuals and encourage diversity and equality.
"We are 100% supportive of Jonathan Rachel who is a valued member of staff and a highly respected journalist."
Clynch has worked with RTE for 16 years, often filling in on Radio One’s flagship “News at One.”
A friend of the journalist told the Dublin Herald, “He has been open about it for a while now and his friends and family were all aware of his situation.
“He is going through a process at the moment and will speak about it in his own time and he hopes everyone will be respectful of that.”
According to Urban Dictionary, ‘gender fluid’ is “a gender identity best described as a dynamic mix of boy and girl. A person who is Gender Fluid may always feel like a mix of the two traditional genders, but may feel more boy some days, and more girl other days.”
The site gives an example of the term in conversational use: “No, I'm not a boy, and I'm not a girl either. I am gender fluid.”