GAA All Star Geraldine Doherty encourages more male players to come out

The former Meath player believes men are still fearful of coming out in the GAA.

Image of GAA player Geraldine Doherty who is encouraging coming out in the sport. She is playing Gaelic football and wearing a black and green kit.
Image: Meath LGFA via Facebook

GAA All Star Geraldine Doherty is urging more male inter-county players to come out. The former Meath LGFA (Ladies Gaelic Football Association) player believes men are still fearful of coming out in the GAA, an organisation she always found very accepting based on her own experience.

She elaborated: “My sexuality was never an issue. The GAA was such a safe place and it was my safe place.

“If I was ever struggling in myself, I’d go to football training that night, and all my troubles would be gone away two hours later. It really is a good place to be, whatever is going on in your life,” she continued.

Having won a GAA All Star award in 2005, Geraldine Doherty is now a selector for the men’s team at her club, St Ultan’s in Bohermeen, after previously having been a selector with the ladies’ team in Dunshaughlin Royal Gaels.

In her new role, she remains acutely aware of the disparities in acceptance between male and female LGBTQ+ players within the GAA.

“I think on the male side of things, there’s still a certain uncomfortable feeling around being gay,” she observes. 

“If you think of it, there are thousands of guys playing GAA, but there are no inter-county players in hurling or GAA, in my mind, that has come out. Not since Dónal Óg Cusack really.”

Acknowledging the pioneering efforts of individuals like referee David Gough in championing LGBTQ+ inclusivity, Geraldine emphasises the need for further progress. “We need a male player to come out and break that mould and get rid of any remaining stigma once and for all,” she states.

Beyond her new job as a men’s team selector, Geraldine is on the brink of embracing another transformative role—as a mother. Together with her wife and fellow footballer Lesley Buchanan, she is expecting to welcome her first child in April.

She shares, “We are so excited. We obviously had to go through IVF, so we are so thankful and delighted. I was actually going to take a year out of football but when my old club asked me to take on this role, I couldn’t say no!”

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