Married lesbian couple Lisa and Dawn O’Driscoll had to flee their family home in a Limerick city estate following threats, forcing Lisa’s five children to live with her former partner
Lisa and Dawn O’Driscoll (early 30s) who lived in a Limerick city estate were forced to leave their home after they received repeated threats.
The couple told the Limerick Leader that they had received threats that they would be “burned out” of their home.
Following this, the couple had no choice but to leave their residence one year ago, and have received shelter via Thomond House which provides women at risk of becoming homeless with accommodation.
“We had to leave our home over a year ago now,” said Lisa. “We suffered abuse. We were hit with stones, called faggots.
“We were told we would be burned out of our home, with my children inside. The boys were bullied and one of them was even kicked in the stomach one day.”
“Only for Thomond House we wouldn’t have had anywhere to go,” she said.
The women had been together for two years before getting married last year.
They looked after Lisa’s five children (aged between three and twelve) together, but were forced to let the children live in a two-bed apartment with Lisa’s former partner.
Reunite Our Family
The couple, who are contractually unable to have more than two of Lisa’s children stay overnight at any one time, are pleading with Limerick City and County Council to find them accommodation that would be suitable for Lisa, Dawn and Lisa’s five boys.
“We had to leave suddenly as we were told we would be burned out of it that night. But the most I can take in the apartment overnight is two of the boys, under our contract, not all five of them.”
“All I want is for the council to give us a house. We were in a three-bed house before and we managed,” Lisa said.
Hate Crime Legislation
Such homophobic abuse received by Lisa and Dawn O’Driscoll is indicative of the continued work that needs to be done to ensure LGBT people are treated with respect.
The ‘Burning Issues 2‘ study revealed that the number one issue that LGBT people feel needs to be focused on is the introduction of hate crime legislation which would protect LGBT citizens from homophobic abuse.
Dr. Christian Moretti, a secondary school teacher and this year’s Mr. Gay Limerick, spoke about hate crime.
“We need a clear, unambiguous and strict law to combat any sort of hate crime, including homophobic and transphobic manifestations of hate crime,” Dr. Moretti said.
“We cannot wait any longer – every day, hour minute and second a person is bullied, abused, insulted, isolated, assaulted physically and verbally and we are taking a huge risk in waiting.”
© 2016 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.