Friday 26 December 2014

John Lyons: 'Mam cried when I came out - she wanted to know what my kids would look like'

Published 07/02/2014 | 12:36

John Lyons, Labour deputy for Dublin North-West   at Leinster House yesterday.Pic Tom Burke 6/2/14
John Lyons

POLITICIAN John Lyons has given an emotional interview on his experience on being gay – opening up about coming out to his mother and the discrimination he has faced.

"She cried and she cried. The reason why she cried so much was because I look like the most like her, and she said 'I'm never going to know what your children look like'."

Speaking to Ryan Tubridy on RTE 2fm this morning, the Dublin TD also revealed his mother cried as she watched his passionate speech in the Dail last night.

He spoke of what was behind the speech:

“I was feeling a bit p****d off. I shouldn’t have to explain my life in order to justify a point. I’m soon to be 37, I try to be me and go  about my thing. I’m not just the TD who does ‘gay things’, I’m very involved  in lots of other things.

“Yet I see myself having to use my own life to justify why some things in society are wrong. And I find that so, so frustrating. I wanted to call what was happening for what it was. I feel so strongly about these issues.”

The 36-year-old also spoke out about what he feels homophobia is: “It’s all great when you see an academic talking about the meaning of homophobia and all that, but the only people who know what it feels like are people who are gay.

“I can try and do my best and empathise with the person who’s faced discrimination based on the colour of their skin.

“But I will never know what it is like to be a black man walking down the road, and feel the way he feels because of the colour of his skin, and the way some people may treat him. I may try and understand it but I will never know it.

“But I know what it’s like for a gay person to be in that situation. And I know and I smell when people are homophobic or have an anti-gay prejudice or something like that. I know it. You pick it up much quicker than other people because you’ve been picking it up all your life.”

He also spoke about Rory O’Neill’s speech as Panti, which has gone viral online.

“I watched Rory’s speech and felt really emotional and guilty about myself. Because I’ve been that guy on the train who’s tried to compensate for the gay friend.

“I was out having dinner with guy I’m seeing the other week and our hands touched across the dinner table, and I felt myself watching  to see what eyes were and weren’t coming. I wish I didn’t have to do that.

“I tend to control myself and I tend to check myself. I bloody hate that.”

He also called on government Ministers to boycott the New York St Patrick’s day parade, which bans gay marchers.

“If it was me a government Minister invited to go, I would not go and walk in the march. The fact gay people cannot march in the parade is absolutely laughable."

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