Main | Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Gay Irish Sports Hero: Taunts Have Driven My Mother Away From Games

Irish sports hero Donal Og Cusack, who came out yesterday in advance of the publication of his autobiography, today reveals that homophobic abuse from fans in the stands has driven his mother away from attending his matches.
Donal Og recalled the moment he was waiting to take a free at a championship game in Semple Stadium, when a man started up a hate-filled chant on a megaphone. Team-mate Diarmuid O'Sullivan later asked guards to throw the culprit out and Denis Walsh wrote him a letter about it. "And that's what gets to you," Donal Og said. "Other people. I leaned over the free and took it and struck it well. I have trained for this, but my father is in the back of my mind. "Yerra though, he's tough, he'll get through it." But, he then revealed: "My mother doesn't go to games anymore. The stress is too much. My sister Treasa has been deeply upset a few times by what she has heard. I hate what it does to those around me, especially when it doesn't hurt me at all." Despite the abuse he has had to endure, he said he got the feeling that "something good" should come of it. He said he accepted it was "human nature" and was not going to change. He developed a mental strategy for dealing with it -- "trigger points" so that when he hears abuse positive thoughts come into his head instead. "Mostly it's just the same f***ing thing," he said. "The fellas that want to hurt you will go for the personal stuff. Calling you queer, ingenious stuff like that.
Cusack remains defiant: "It makes no difference to me if you call me Brokeback... and if there are a hundred or a thousand hurlers or rugby players or camogie players out there in their teens, struggling with the idea of what they are, I hope they'll know that fools with megaphones or runny mouths just don't count."

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