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Dublin: 13 °C Monday 22 April, 2019

‘Beaten, spat, chased, harassed and mocked’: TDs open-up about homophobic abuse

Two of the Dáil’s openly gay TDs spoke passionately about their experiences of homophobic abuse as deputies debated the Panti Bliss controversy this evening.

TWO OPENLY GAY TDs have spoken about their experiences of being subjected to homophobic abuse, as deputies debated the recent Panti controversy this evening.

Labour’s John Lyons revealed how he was abused by a group of teenagers before Christmas and said he and Jerry Buttimer knew what it is like “to be called a queer, to be called a fag, to be called a gay”.

“I thought I was living in a society where this isn’t acceptable any more,” he said.

Lyons said RTÉ was wrong to pay compensation to members of the Iona Institute and John Waters after recent comments by the drag queen Panti aka Rory O’Neill on The Saturday Night Show.

Fine Gael’s Jerry Buttimer, who came out in 2012, agreed that RTÉ had got it wrong and said that the forthcoming debate on same-sex marriage would not be “tolerant” or “respectful” unless people’s “hatred” and “intolerance” was challenged.

He also said: “I speak here not just as a gay person, but as a member of society who wants to be treated equally.

“I’ve been beaten, spat, chased, harassed and mocked, like Deputy Lyons, because of who I am. I was born with a gift given to me and I spent most of my life struggling.”

Read: ‘Where there is homophobia, it must be challenged’ – Dáil debates Pantigate

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Hugh O'Connell

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