Green Party minister Roderic O’Gorman has condemned anti-LGBTQ+ online hate speech after sharing his personal experiences with social media abuse during his time in office.
The Minister for Children, Disability, Equality, and Integration told RTÉ, “the abuse that I get, and it’s very much focused on being gay, is not something I’m terribly comfortable talking about but I’m also aware that right now, online, in various public fora, a lot of people who are gay or advocating on LGBT+ issues are facing particularly vicious abuse”.
Roderic O'Gorman, lrish Green Party politician, Cabinet Minister, & member of the Teachta Dala for Dublin West, is spot on & most commendable in calling out homophobics who refuse to allow others to be themselves!
It's intolerable that such sanctimonious bigots still exist!
— Chye (@Chye18612008) March 12, 2023
O’Gorman worked on civil partnership legislation in 2007, and he was involved with the campaign for marriage equality. While he’s been a prominent openly gay political figure for over 15 years, the recent uptick in online hate speech is particularly concerning and, according to the politician, far worse today than it was when he first ran for election in 2004.
O’Gorman has warned people who are considering running for office about how prevalent the comments have become. He said that he receives daily targeted hateful comments on his social media pages, many of which allege that he is a “paedophile” or “groomer”.
He said, “I don’t get into responding to tweets anymore. I used to do it before but I just had to cut it out now because some of the stuff is so nasty if you let it get into your head, it would distract you from the important work we are trying to do”.
While most of the hate comes in the form of social media comments, last week, vile homophobic insults were directed at the minister by a man interrupting a live RTÉ News broadcast.
Solidarity with Minister Roderic O’Gorman who is targeted by vile homophobic insults as Far Right hate monger John McGhee interrupts live RTÉ News broadcast @rodericogorman @rtenews @GCNmag #IrelandForAll #LGBTQ https://t.co/OtHwgIVjcD
— Dr Michael Barron (@MichaelNBarron) March 10, 2023
O’Gorman emphasised that while he is able to manage the abuse, the amount of hate speech directed at queer people and activists advocating for LGBTQ+ rights is increasingly concerning, and he particularly worries about “young people who are online and having to face similar kinds of attacks”. He added that further legislative action must be taken to combat online hate speech.
Ireland currently operates under a hate speech law from 1989 called the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act which includes spoken, written, and recorded speech. New legislation to further combat hate speech is expected to become law later this year.
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