Mr Gay Limerick called 'faggot' by group after promoting Pride festival

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Email:

fintan.walsh@limerickleader.ie

Darren Moloney, Mr Gay Limerick, with Keava Leenon, Ms Gay Limerick Picture: Paudie Bourke/ilovelimerick

Darren Moloney, Mr Gay Limerick, with Keava Leenon, Ms Gay Limerick Picture: Paudie Bourke/ilovelimerick

THE CHAIRPERSON of Limerick Pride and Mr Gay Limerick has said that “there’s still a long way to go” for equality, after a group of men hurled homophobic abuse at him in broad daylight. 

Farranshone man Darren Moloney was at a bus stop on Friday afternoon on Henry Street, shortly after promoting Limerick Pride celebrations, when a group of men drove by in a car and shouted “faggot” and “state of him”. 

The 26-year-old, who works as a recruitment consultant, said that people at the bus “started laughing” and “found it amusing”.

“To be honest, I am happy that it happened to me and not somebody else. I am able to take things like that. Other people can’t take things like that. Somebody could be having a bad day and it could be having a bad day that pushes them over the edge. But I felt tiny when it happened. It wasn’t a particularly nice experience, but I am able to handle myself,” he told the Limerick Leader. 

Darren, who does charity work and speaks about sexual health, said that society  “tends to have rose-tinted glasses” when it comes to equality, following the Marriage Referendum. He added that a large proportion of people voted “No” in the referendum.

“I can marry my partner in the morning, but I can’t hold his hand walking down the street,” he commented. 

He said that getting homophobic abuse can be an “upsetting” experience, especially for younger people. 

“You are getting abuse for just existing. It is like somebody abusing somebody for having brown eyes, something as silly as that. We put on a brave face and carry on. I prefer to be able to walk down the street and go to my car and go to work without having abuse hurled at me.”

He said that there is a good deal of work to be done for LGBTQ equality.

“That is why we have Pride. We spoke about it today [Friday], and we brought up about people saying to me: ‘After the referendum, we don’t need Pride’. Pride is all about visibility and about encouraging allies within the gay community; bring in your straight friends and go on and have a good time, and normalising that they want to a gay bar and having fun. But there’s still a long way to go.”