GAY AND PERSECUTED; Prejudice Has Driven 60% of Ireland's Gays to the Brink of Suicide

The Mirror (London, England), June 5, 1998 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

GAY AND PERSECUTED; Prejudice Has Driven 60% of Ireland's Gays to the Brink of Suicide


ADRIAN McCRACKEN has paid a high price for his high-profile gay role in Ulster society.

As head manager of the gay man's advice group, The Rainbow Project, Adrian has been fighting to abolish the prejudice against homosexuals in Ulster for five years.

"I've been spat at on the street, had bottles thrown at me when leaving the office and received numerous threatening phone calls," he said.

"There is huge prejudice against gays in Ireland. I even had to move to London for 10 years so I could really express myself and live my sexuality.

"In Ulster I can't dress or look the way I want to because people think I look gay. I dye my hair and have an eyebrow pierced.

"On one occasion I appeared on TV to talk about gay men in Ireland. I was only on for about 30 seconds but the next day when I was walking down the street in Belfast people were jeering at me and one person even came up and spat on me in the middle of a crowded street.

"There was another occasion when I left the office late at night and was attacked by a gang of youths who threw bottles at me and shouted four- letter insults.

"To be honest, that's just a normal occurrence for many gay people in Ireland.

"A lot of the prejudice comes from very religious people but an equal amount of abuse comes from thugs who are just looking for an excuse to cause trouble.

"It says a lot about the state of prejudice in this country when the number of attacks on gay people goes up when there is a ceasefire on.

"I think we are easy targets for people to direct the anger and prejudice that lives inside them.

"Being gay in Ireland is a constant liability. One very close friend of mine who is also a volunteer for The Rainbow Project was nearly killed in an attack three years ago.

"He was attacked outside his house and had a concrete pathing slab smashed over his head. He spent six months in hospital and has never been the same since.

"His life is ruined because people couldn't deal with the fact that he was gay.

"Only last year a couple of gay women came to us for advice because they had been 'outed' in a police investigation. We pleaded with the police not to reveal their sexuality as part of the investigation but it didn't help.

"As a result they are now living in different parts of England because they couldn't take the abuse they received after people found out they were gay.

"The workplace is also a major source of discrimination. I have dealt with hundreds of cases where employers found out that their employee was gay and they sacked them on the spot.

"Unless they have been employed for at least two years they have very few rights.

"I have found that many men who call us for advice are in marriages or relationships with women which says a lot about how many gay men there must be in this country.

"Some are even entering into relationships with women to cover their backs.

"The most worrying fact is that more than 60 per cent of gay men in Ulster have contemplated suicide at one time or another as a result of the prejudice against them in society.

"Just as frightening are the findings in a survey that 30 per cent of gay men in Ulster have actually tried to kill themselves.

"Clearly, the prejudice is so severe here that it is causing innocent people to consider taking their own lives.

"I just wish that people would understand the pain we are put through as a result of ignorant prejudice.

"There are up to 70,000 gay men in Ulster alone, which is a loud voice, yet few are willing to speak out for fear of being shunned in their communities

"More gay men 'come out' when they live in built-up areas like Belfast and Derry but many who live in small communities and villages are terrified because they know the price they will have to pay.

"Fortunately, I was in the position to escape from Ulster for 10 years and discover that being gay is not a crime, but many have to live here and bear it.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

GAY AND PERSECUTED; Prejudice Has Driven 60% of Ireland's Gays to the Brink of Suicide
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?