"I do feel safer here than I ever felt back in Brazil": Gay Fair City star making a new home in Ireland

Since making the move Rodrigo Ternevoy has gotten married and landed a lead role in the popular Irish soap opera.

A smiling bearded man on his couch in a sitting room
Image: Hazel Coonagh

In an intimate interview, Rodrigo Ternevoy, a gay man originally from Brazil, shares how his life has changed since coming to Ireland – including landing a lead role in Fair City.

I am originally from São Paulo, Brazil. As a teenager, I felt lucky as my family accepted me fully from the first day I came out. I was 19 and quite independent at that stage, it was just a matter of telling people.

My parents were divorced and I used to live with my mother. I told her first, and then after a year or two, I decided to tell my dad too. Even my granny who is 85 years old accepts it. We have great laughs sometimes when I try to explain to her about the LGBT+ world; she is far too curious! 

A smiling man in a house holding a dog

I moved to Ireland 12 years ago and it was certainly the best decision I’ve ever made. I decided to come to learn English. I did not have an intention to stay in Ireland but after three months here I met my partner David, and we’ve been together since.

Unfortunately, Brazil is not safe for the LGBT+ community. Ireland feels different since we had the same-sex referendum. As an actor I was involved in the campaign for the Referendum Commission and it was a beautiful time to be alive. A year later David and I tied the knot! 

I do feel safer here than I ever felt back in Brazil, although there was one time I was shooting a short-video called Big Boys Don’t Cry about toxic masculinity. In one of the scenes, myself and a male actor had to hold hands. That was all we were doing, holding hands, when a man approached us and made some homophobic comments. I went on social media saying that I couldn’t believe in today’s world two men couldn’t hold hands. 

A bearded man leans against a lamp post

I do believe the Irish are welcoming not only towards the LGBT+ community but also towards immigrants. I have only had good experiences throughout the 12 years I have been living here.

I’ve played the character Cristiano San Martin on Fair City over three years now, he’s a gay Chilean man who lives in a fictitious village in Dublin. I met a lot of fans of the show on the street and through social media and everyone I have met has been so warm and welcoming.

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