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Homophobia causes exclusion and loneliness even for straight people

Aged 19, the number of Sundays where I felt the need to walk out during mass are few and far between. So when the moment arose, I was left with a drumming heartbeat.

As it stands, I’m straight. But my disgust over the disapproval towards the gay community has come from as far back as my first decade.

Since I didn’t display the usual interests common to young Irish males, I was incessantly branded as ‘gay’, and when my years grew less tender, a ‘queer’ and a ‘faggot’, to list a few.

As a child, I displayed more fear than interest in running around a field with a sliothar and hurl, and playing ‘kitchen’ was always my preference over playing ‘trucks’.

I didn’t ever see the appeal of watching a soccer match or even feel the urge to hop up onto my Dad’s lap as he played a game of Fifa.

I wasn’t ever confused about my sexuality, but my question was what harm could being gay possibly do to anybody else. I never saw anything wrong with it.

For years, the question never faded. Instead, it would reach peaks and crescendos at times when I felt alone and suicidal because I was so clearly excluded by my peers.

Each time I didn’t turn up at the local GAA training sessions out of lack of interest, I’d envy the lads for finding such joy and contentment in it. I envied them for being able to embody society’s ‘straight male’, because that was accepted.

I’d discovered myself befriending a lot more females because of this exclusion, which only added to their argument that I was gay.

I had no other choice since I wouldn’t have had many friends otherwise, and that harrowing situation has been one of the roots of my depression.

What pushed me to the brink was this priest making Keith Mill’s argument about being gay and still wanting to vote no.

Sure enough the man is entitled to his opinion, but in my view, he’s one of the rare lucky ones who has found happiness and contentment within a civil partnership, and doesn’t see the extent to which society needs to move forward. It is ludicrous that the church is attempting to almost indoctrinate its following by blowing up these rare opinions.

At nineteen, I may not have many years behind me. But with bullying, you come out stronger if you don’t break. You come out wiser, more determined. You see the pain in others more easily.

Ryan Mangan

Belclair

Tuam

Co Galway

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