As I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s an absolutely beautiful performance – and an especially meaningful one given the message of the lyrics and the fact that, at the time of its recording, Gately had just come out. Indeed, I’m sure that “No Matter What” will be forever linked to Stephen Gately and his brave journey.
When my fellow blogger Joe alerted me to this performance he called it “the response of Irish youth to fear-ridden bishops and popes!” How true. Indeed, the calm conviction embodied in Gately’s performance ensures that “No Matter What” serves as a song of love, hope and solidarity with and for anyone who has struggled and succeeded in living a life of truth and integrity in the face of ignorance, fear and bigotry.
Today is my 44th birthday, and I can’t think of a more beautiful and hopeful message to remind myself of - and to share with my Wild Reed supporters and friends - than that which is conveyed in “No Matter What.”
No matter what they tell us No matter what they do No matter what they teach us What we believe is true No matter what they call us However they attack No matter where they take us We’ll find our own way back I can’t deny what I believe I can’t be what I’m not I know I’ll love forever I know, no matter what If only tears were laughter If only night was day If only prayers were answered Then we would hear God say No matter what they tell you No matter what they do No matter what they teach you What you believe is true And I will keep you safe and strong And sheltered from the storm No matter where it’s barren A dream is being born No matter who they follow No matter where they lead No matter how they judge us I’ll be everyone you need No matter if the sun don’t shine Or if the skies are blue No matter what the end is My life began with you I can’t deny what I believe I can’t be what I'm not I know, I know I know this love’s forever That’s all that matters now No matter whatWhen Joe posted a link to this song on his own blog, he included the following from an article by Fintan O’Toole in the October 20, 2009 issue of the Irish Times.
For the first time in Ireland, there was a widespread and comfortable use of “husband” to describe the bereaved partner of a gay man. Technically (and shamefully) the term is not strictly accurate – Stephen and Andy Cowles were never given the choice to marry and were civil partners. But everybody knew “husband” was the right word. The relationship was equal in love and affection, in commitment and in consequent devastation, to that within a marriage. It was unequal only in the eyes of a law that still presumes to make discriminatory judgments. The people of Gately’s home place accepted that. So, in essence, did the Catholic parish that conducted his funeral.See also the previous Wild Reed post: Remembering Stephen Gately, Gay Pop Pioneer