(Video: rory oneill/YouTube)
A VIDEO BY Rory O’Neill – also known as drag queen Panti – on homophobia in Irish society has gone viral, with more than 100,000 views in less than two days.
In the video, Panti appears on stage at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin following a performance of a play to give a 10-minute speech about the prejudice faced by many gay people on a daily basis.
Panti was invited to give the speech after RTE apologised for comments made by O’Neill after he was asked by Saturday Night Show presenter Brendan O’Connor about homophobia. The state broadcaster also paid out around €80,000 to members of Catholic lobby group The Iona Institute and Irish Times columnist John Waters.
In the video, Panti fights back over the use of the word ‘homophobia’ which he says has been appropriated by other groups since The Saturday Night Show interview.
“For the last three weeks, I have been lectured to by heterosexual people about what homophobia is and who is allowed to identify it,” he told the audience.
“People who have never experienced homophobia in their lives… have told me that unless I am being thrown into prison or herded onto a cattle truck then it is not homophobia – and that feels oppressive”.
He says that Irish gay people are in the “ludicrous situation” where they are not allowed to say publicly what they feel oppressed by because the definition has been disallowed.
He told the audience:
For the last three weeks, I’ve been denounced from the floor of the Oireachtas, [by] newspaper columns [and] the seething morass of internet commentary, denounced for using hate speech because I dared to use the word ‘homophobia’, and a jumped-up queer like me should know that the word homophobia is no longer available to gay people, which is a spectacular and neat Orwellian trick because now it turns out that gay people are not the victims of homophobia, homophobes are the victims of homophobia
The video has gain traction since being posted by O’Neill on Sunday night, hitting 100,000 views just after 11am today.
It has been shared on Facebook and Twitter thousands of times, appeared on the Huffington Post and has been tweeted by a number of high-profile people, including television presenter Graham Norton, popular US columnist Dan Savage and drag queen Ru Paul.
An estimated 2,000 people gathered in Dublin city centre on Sunday to protest at the treatment of the debate around homophobia on RTE.
RTE has refused to comment on the amount of money paid to the Iona Institute members saying it does not comment on defamation settlements.
Open letter to RTE: Explain why you censored gay rights advocate Rory O’Neill >