Broadcaster Dilhani Wickremasinghe, popularly known as ‘Dil’ was the host of the popular talk show ‘Global Village’ in "Newstalk 106 – 108 FM" radio channel in Ireland.
Dilhani proposed to her girlfriend Anne Marie O’Toole saying, "Now that we can, and there’s nothing and no one standing in the way, will you marry me?" Anne Marie accepted the proposal.
Ireland legalized same sex marriages on May 23, 2015 with a 62% "Yes" vote by the people living in Republic of Ireland. Ann
Dilhani and Anne Marie were over the moon with the positive vote and they became ‘parents’ to an IVF infused baby boy ‘Phoenix’ on May 17.
The Catholic Church in Ireland was shocked with the outcome. Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin said "I ask myself, most of these young people who voted "Yes" are products of our Catholic school system for 12 years. We have to stop and have a reality check, not move into denial of the realities".
In an interview with Sri Express, Dilhani said that she was born in Rome, Italy to Sri Lankan parents in 1973.
"Due to some internal disputes between my parents, they converted to Jehovah’s Witnesses. As a result, I could not even celebrate my birthday. I was sent to Sri Lanka from Rome to my grandparents when I was 12", she recalled.
In Sri Lanka, she was sexually abused by a teacher, but her mother did not believe it. She was so upset that she failed her Ordinary Level exam.
"I found myself to be a lesbian when I kissed a girl when I was only 16 years old. After discovering my sexual inclination, my parents threw me out of the family home. I was only 17. For years, I had to depend on my friends and lovers", she recounted.
She had a burning desire to become a journalist from her childhood and found a job in a national radio station in Colombo. "I also contributed to Sri Lankan television chat shows. But it did not last long. I was asked to conceal my sexuality if I were to pursue my career further".
"I did not like the idea of concealing my identity. At the age of 21, I took a difficult decision. I said good bye to both my radio job and to Sri Lanka and joined Gulf Air based in Bahrain as a flight stewardess. I worked there for five years and travelled the world. I left that job and arrived in Dublin in June 2000. I did not have a clear goal what I was going to do there", she noted.
Continuing Dilhani said: "I started my life from zero. My first job in Ireland was a kitchen porter. From there, I worked my way up. From kitchen porter to silver service waiter, catering supervisor, receptionist, wage clerk, human resource administrator, senior recruitment consultant, trainer, community worker, activist, social entrepreneur, stand-up comedian, actor, broadcaster and journalist.
"I am proud about what I have achieved so far. I host the award winning ‘Global Village’ show on Newstalk 106-108 FM every Saturday 7-9 pm. I also contribute to RTE and TV3".
Dilhani received the Frederick Douglass Award in 2014 from Lord Mayor Oisin Quinn for making a significant contribution to the life of Dublin and Dubliners.
Although she came to Dublin to start a new life, she could not easily forget her past, especially the sexual abuse she experienced. As a result, she suffered from mental health disorders. In 2007, she got in touch with the charity, "One in Four" and with psychotherapy help gradually worked towards self-awareness and self-acceptance.
"One in Four" is a Charity that provides support and resources for people who have experienced sexual abuse and violence.
In 2010, she met her partner Anne Marie at a mental health retreat. They decided to start a family and Dilhani got pregnant through IVF treatment she received at the Clane Fertility Clinic. Upon receiving the news, her estranged parents got in touch with her and wanted to share the joy of having the only grandchild in the family.
"That was the beginning of the inter-generational healing that I never thought was possible. It feels like my family has been given a second chance to rebuild bridges and move on just like I did", she smiled.
By Sujeeva Nivunhella in London