I have no idea where it has come from, this passion, this anger, this odd and new love for my country.

Only a few days ago I was wondering about people who felt such a love for their land that they were prepared to go to any lengths to protect it.

For most of my life, I’ve spent my time bitching about Northern Ireland and Belfast in particular, embarrassed by the ridiculousness of the constant arguments over flegs and marches. Politicians more obsessed with keeping themselves one up on the other while ensuring the people are divided.

But a weird thing started happening not that long ago.

I began to see this place in a different light. It was no longer filled with people who wanted to fight over an arbitrary line in the sand but who wanted to live together.

It was finally starting to grow and mature.

Perhaps I felt identification with it because the same thing was happening to me.

After living for 36 years as the wrong gender, I finally stepped out of the wrong meat sack and into the right one, a process that has freed me to finally start growing up myself. A decision that has enhanced my life in ways I never could have imagined.

For the first time in my life, I was starting to see a future for myself, I was starting to love myself.

And when I looked around, I was starting to love what I saw out there too.

Sure, the city is still full of morons, but with every passing year their numbers dwindle and the laughter rises.

This is a pretty great place to live these days.

It was not a surprise to me that I was angry when the UK voted to leave Europe. A population has been talked into voting against its own self-interests with barely a consequence to be seen for those who made them, how can you take that calmly?

What has surprised me is *how* angry I am.

When it comes to the Irish Question I was always content with the status quo. I didn’t mind being a part of the UK and, to be honest, it saved me having to do the maths that come with spending Euro.

But also, I wouldn’t have been that bothered if a united Ireland was announced, much to the consternation of my family who raised me protestant and, as such, expected me to have the political views that go along with that.

I didn’t. I never did. I always sought my own answers, needed to know for myself rather than blindly believe people because they told me that’s the way it was.

I was too busy believing them over the whole gender thing to have any room left for listening about other things.

Now? Post Brexit?

I am a furious ball of nationalism.

Ideally, I’d love an Independent Northern Ireland but I know that’s just not viable. Perhaps we could charge more for Game of Thrones tours, would that swing it?

When the debate over this country takes place people discuss two identities – Irish or British – but a third has been created. There are Northern Irish people now, too. A lot of us. That brings with it another set of problems that can be saved for another day.

What changed drastically for me since Thursday is not how I feel about Ireland, or Northern Ireland (or the north of Ireland if you prefer) but the UK and England.

I finally have a sense of what it feels like to be ruled by a foreign nation. I’ve never had that before, never knew how that would feel.

As it stands right at this moment, apart from my very good friends who reside, mostly in London with a few in Manchester, I could not give too potatoes if England sunk into the sea.

This country isn’t just an afterthought when you have started a process that leads us back to a time we’ve all worked so hard to get away from.

You don’t get to drag us into the past on the coattails of your bigotry and racism.

You don’t get to ignore the will of the majority of the people and politicians here just because you have two puppets in place in Arlene Foster and Theresa Villiers who refuse to look after the interests of anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs and expect us to be quiet about it.

You don’t get to radically alter my future and expect me to just ‘move on’.

You don’t get to tell us of the ‘special bond’ between the UK countries when they only exist because of the chains England put on them. My only question here is what the fuck is wrong with Wales? Stockholm syndrome, perhaps.

Here in Northern Ireland we don’t get to vote for either of the two parties who form the government or the opposition. We have a First Minister who belongs to a party that ignores whatever the hell it wants, regardless of the democratic process, yet they tell us we must respect this one on the back of a UK wide vote?

Well fuck that.

The UK, as the last remnants of England’s Empire, died on Friday morning and the DUP helped twist the knife.

I only hope there’s enough of my country left in one piece when they finally realise what they have done.

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