With a cinema version of Alan Hughes’ Christmas panto, Peter Pan, being shown at Omniplex cinemas across Ireland this July, he spoke to the Irish Sun about his experience with homophobia in Ireland.
Alan spoke about the start of his career, in a time when there was less acceptance of gay people in Ireland. He got his start with RTÉ three decades ago, and recalls those who hinted that it would be better if he avoided going to gay bars and talking about gay rights activism.
“It wasn’t said in as many words but it was intimated, ‘Well you wouldn’t want to be seen doing things like that.’”
Because he was going to be on prime-time television he was told “not to go down that road.” He then joked; “The gas thing was, if you’d seen me on RTÉ back then with a big stripy jacket and bouffant hair and you didn’t think I was gay… Ah come on.”
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Alan also recalled that when he first starting dating his husband, Karl Broderick, homosexuality was still illegal in Ireland. They met in 1993, and homosexuality was decriminalised in the same year.
Things have since gotten better for gay people in Ireland, but in spite of the advances made, Alan Hughes has said that homophobia is still alive and well. As evidenced when his friend, Darren Kennedy, had a homophobic slur shouted at him in Dublin city centre.
Alan said that he regularly sees the same abuse in his home city. “If I saw a load of guys or girls coming towards me, I would be nervous that somebody was going to say something like Darren got, ‘there’s that f****t off the telly.’ I guess it’s part and parcel of the job.
“People think we have moved on so much but we haven’t.”
Alan said that his annual panto had sadly been affected by the pandemic, but he was thrilled to have the latest production of Peter Pan still reach an audience in a number of cinemas. The panto, which would normally only be available to see in Dublin, will be screened in cinemas nationwide.
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