A gay man has spoken out against the rise of homophobic bullying in Ireland ahead of his appearance on last night’s First Dates’ Valentine special episode.
Cork hairstylist, Peter Kelleher Elliot, got involved in First Dates as a chance to “use this platform to be a positive advocate for the LGBT community.” He opened up about how as a child he faced bullying because of his sexuality and his ethnicity, being adopted at the age of three from Romania.
Speaking to RTÉ Entertainment, Ellito said, “I think one obstacle on their own, adoption, foreign adoption and being gay, would have been so hard to get over, but to have to deal with three at once, it actually makes you a lot tougher.”
First Dates has been an amazing place for queer people to share their stories and find supportive, like-minded people. Elliot’s story comes from a personal experience that many LGBT+ people have sadly faced. He hopes that by speaking out, he can help towards making Ireland a more secure and safe place.
Though Elliot acknowledges that Ireland has come a long way in terms of equality, he notes further action in regards to tackling homophobia and hate crime is much needed. He said, “I think this country in general has come so much with certain topics, however homophobia sadly is still present in today’s world. Even outside of the LGBT community, we’ve come on so much in a social, economic and financial point of view that it’s really sad to know that there’s people out there with that backward mentality.”
Elliot further states, “Everyone across the board should be able to socialise in an environment where they feel safe, where they feel comfortable, and where they can come home and close their front door and they’re safe for the night. Race, gender, sexual orientation, trans, whatever your situation is, you should never compromise your safety.”
By speaking out on these issues, Elliot highlights a worrying absence in Ireland as Hate Crime laws are yet to be implemented. Due to this, it has become vital that these conversations continue reaching a broad audience to help create effective change.
On last night’s First Dates‘ Valentine special episode, Elliot also got the chance to meet his ‘crush’ as he chatted with returning dater Timmie. The hairstylist said, “The scene in Dublin, even in Ireland, it’s so small and compact, that everyone knows everyone or they have friends who knows someone. I knew Timmie just to say hello, or to talk about the weather, nothing too personal or in-depth. Truth be told, I always had a bit of a crush on him, so when I realised it was him, it was a deer in the headlights moment, I completely froze!”
However, Timmie put the hair stylist’s nerves to rest before they went to the dining table and the date went great from there. Elliot said, “As the date went on, I put my shield down. I’m sorry we didn’t have more time.”
— RTÉ2 (@RTE2) February 13, 2020
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