Two gay TDs open up to the Dail about abuse they've suffered
Published 06/02/2014 | 19:38
During a Dáil debate this evening, two Government TDs have opened up about homophobic abuse they have received.
Labour TD John Lyons and Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer, both openly gay, talked about the abuse they have received because of their sexual orientation.
The comments came during Topical Issues in the chamber, where a number of TDs were discussing RTÉ's decision to pay €85,000 towards a number of individuals after comments made on The Saturday Night Show.
Mr Lyons said RTE were "bang out of order" to have made the payments.
"There are two people in here at the moment who knows what homophobia feels like. Who know what it's like to be called 'a queer', to be called 'a fag', to be called 'a gay'," he said.
"Only recently, just before Christmas, I walked from my own house around to the Centra, where a bunch of teenagers called me gay, or some other name they call us.
"I thought I was living in a society where this isn’t acceptable any more.”
Mr Buttimer agreed with Mr Lyons' sentiments and said he wanted to be treated equally.
"I’ve been beaten, spat, chased, harassed and mocked, like Deputy Lyons, because of who I am," he said.
"I was born with a gift given to me and I spent most of my life struggling and I'm finally in a place in my own country which I love - to be accepted.”
Speaking after the discussion, Mr Buttimer told independent.ie he's glad the opportunity arose for the matter to be discussed in the Dáil.
"There are still many people who are afraid to come out and engage in the gay community for how they’ll be judged and treated."
RTÉ defended their decision to make the payment earlier this week. In a memo circulated to RTE staff, the Head of TV said they had not engaged in censorship.
“I want to reassure you that RTÉ explored every option available to it, including right of reply. Legal advice was sought and all avenues were explored, including an offer to make a donation to a neutral charity," he wrote.