Gay referee David Gough praises GAA’s progress on LGBTQ+ inclusion

Cork dual star Hannah Looney also weighed in, saying the sport has always been somewhere she could express herself fully.

David Gough and Hannah Looney posing with a Belong To representative.
Image: Twitter: @Belong_To

David Gough has praised the GAA for its progress in becoming more inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community. The openly gay referee made the comments on Thursday, June 8, while appearing as an ambassador at the launch of SuperValu’s ‘Wear with Pride’ laces campaign.

Speaking about the improvements made in the GAA since 2019, Gough described it as “the greatest transformation of an Association to do with LGBTQ+ rights”.

He supported his claim by pointing to several achievements and actions of the organisation over the past four years, including appointing a Diversity and Inclusion officer, allowing members to march in Pride, and taking part in inclusive initiatives such as SuperValu’s laces campaign. 

“Just to see that it has moved on so much in such a positive way is a great thing for me to see personally but also for the Association that it’s increasing its visibility within the LGBTQ+ community,” he continued.

The GAA, like the LGBTQ+ community, it’s a community-based organisation, and they should be doing their best to promote community matters…The GAA permeates every level of Irish society, no matter of class, social standing, sexuality, religion, race. There is a club in every parish in the country, and it has a huge responsibility in its social capital in terms of what it can do to promote change in Irish society and I’m so happy that this is happening finally after all these years.”

David Gough also lauded the joint initiative between the GAA and Supervalu, saying, “It’s great that the two are marrying on this” to raise funds for LGBTQ+ youth charity Belong To.


Similarly, Cork dual star Hannah Looney, also an ambassador of the ‘Wear with Pride’ laces campaign, commented: “In Ireland at the moment there seems to be a lot of far right movements creeping in and that can be a bit scary and daunting. The only way to fight back on these movements is by spreading messages like this and educating people that Ireland needs to be a place for all. That’s something I really want to promote.”

According to a Gaelic Players Association survey, 99% of players would be welcoming to an LGBTQ+ teammate. As an openly queer athlete participating in both football and camogie, Hannah reaffirmed that statistic, adding, “I’m so grateful that the GAA has always been an environment for me where I can be myself”.

“I had a great time in school, but I think school can be an environment where people can’t express themselves. But for me, always in sport I was able to do that. I’m just grateful.”

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