Presenter, broadcaster and fashion designer Brendan Courtney is one of a number of Irish celebrities to share their experiences of discrimination in order to “send a clear message to the LGBT+ community that homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia are not acceptable”, as part of the new Call It Out campaign.
A joint initiative of the Transgender Equality Network (TENI) and the Hate and Hostility Research Group of the University of Limerick, the campaign aims to highlight the continued harassment and abuse directed towards LGBT+ people, and encourage all members of the population to call out any and all instances of bigotry.
Courtney has stated that the post-marriage equality hysteria has resulted in a “general consensus that homophobia doesn’t exist anymore” which he adamantly opposes and identifies as a factor in its continued existence “on a day-to-day level”.
In a bid to raise awareness, he has also recounted his own experiences with homophobia both in his adult life:
“I, unfortunately, was attacked in 2010 (…) it was probably one of the most harrowing events of my life, not because I was frightened or anything…”
“…my photograph [with the black eye] was on the cover of every single newspaper, after that attack; I had a shop in town where we sell our clothes, and every single day somebody would spit on the window…”
…and throughout his childhood:
“At the time I was quite effeminate and I was quite camp and obviously different and I couldn’t hide that ’cause I just was the way I was and I was a child, and I was really badly bullied for being different…”
Courtney recounted his experiences to emphasise the importance of speaking out in an age still dominated by anti-LGBT+ rhetoric:
“Homophobia still exists in our culture, it still exists in our workplace, it still exists in our schools, we need to be conscious of it, and combat it wherever we see it.”
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