While Ireland wasn’t ultimately successful in its bid for the Eurovision crown, Ryan O’Shaughnessy’s performance of his song ‘Together’, which featured a gay couple dancing, was praised for its inclusivity. Not all reaction was positive however, as Ryan revealed in a recent interview that he had received death threats from homophobic trolls unhappy with the depiction.
Ryan told the Irish Mirror, “I was just talking to a lad from Amnesty International and he was telling me about how with campaigns they’ve ran in the past, they’ve received death threats from people for being a little out there with your statements. I received similar threats from homophobic people coming from countries that aren’t as liberal as Ireland.”
China could certainly be included in that list. The state broadcaster cut Ryan’s performance out altogether along with blurring out rainbow flags held by people in the audience. Their censorship of LGBT+ content led to Eurovision blocking them from screening the finals altogether.
In an interview with GCN, Ryan commented on whether it was a deliberate decision to feature a gay couple: “I liked the idea of two people in love, no matter what it is. There wasn’t really a conscious decision making it a gay theme, it wasn’t about that.” He continued, “If there was a girl in the video there wouldn’t have been any conversation about this. So it kind of highlights the fact that it’s not really accepted just yet.”
Ryan was pleased about the overwhelmingly positive reaction to his performance but was also diplomatic in saying how some the negative backlash could in fact highlight certain issues which still needed to be addressed or countries where work needs to be done – “It’s sparking conversation among people and it’s raising awareness… Ireland might be accepting of it, [but] ‘love is love’ is not everywhere.”
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