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I'm gay says Irish hurling star

Von: paul (usenet@watman.clara.co.uk) [Profil]
Datum: 22.10.2009 19:48
Message-ID: <nm61e51ofuho8eqhrrod9i16rhcskgq2k6@4ax.com>
Newsgroup: uk.gay-lesbian-bi
The Times reports yesterday:

"I'm gay says Irish hurling star, Dónal Óg Cusack
- David Sharrock, Ireland Correspondent

"A three-times All-Ireland sporting hero has stunned his countrymen by
announcing that he is gay.  Dónal Óg Cusack, 32, a leading exponent of
the ancient and quicksilver game of hurling, revealed it in his
autobiograpy Come What May.  Recalling his confusion as a teenager he
writes:  "I tried to go out with women to make sure, to see what kind of
feeling it gave me. I went out with nice women and good women, but sure,
I still knew.  I wanted something else.  I get more out of men.  I just
do.  Always have.  I know I am different but just in this way.  Whatever
you may feel about me or who I am, I've always been at peace with it."

He is believed to be Europe's first openly gay elite sportsman.

While stadium terrace and internet chatroom gossip has pointed the
finger at many leading sportsmen in recent years, Dónal Óg - as he is
known throughout Ireland - has become the first to declare himself
openly and happily comfortable with his sexuality.

That such a declaration comes from the ranks of the Gaelic Athletics
Association (GAA) makes the Cork legend's story all the more striking.

Dublin's Irish Independent said that the sporting body was once seen as
"an extension of a conservative Ireland taking directions from the
Catholic Church.  The notion of a GAA player declaring himself gay just
couldn't exist in that regime."

Tom Humphries, the Irish Times sports writer, calls hurling "the last
difference, the last visible point of distinction in a country that has
pimped itself so enthusiastically to the homogenisers, franchisers and
corporatisers of the big world.  The game is nourished by history and
culture and the Irish sense of place."

Archbishop Croke, the GAA's first patron, famously wrote in 1884 the
association's "unofficial charter" in which he abjured England's
"effeminate follies", counting among them cricket, tennis and other
"alien" sports.

But in an illustration of how successfully the GAA has adapted itself to
the dramatic changes which have swept Irish society, reaction to Dónal
Óg confession has been generally positive.

Sean Kelly, a former GAA president and now an MEP, said Dónal Óg was "a
very strong character, very upright and open ... I wish him the best.
Ireland is a much more tolerant society today, we are definitely moving
on."  Nevertheless, the radio programme's presenter admitted that "we
are getting a lot of anti-homosexual texts".

Extracts from his autobiography are being serialised in the Irish Daily
Mail.  By his own admission, however, Dónal Óg admitted that he has been
the subject of homophobic attacks.  In 2006 he flew back from South
Africa when his sister Treasa rang him from home to say rumours were
circulating that he was gay.

While he suspected his mother always knew, telling his father was the
hardest part.  "Now my father is a man who would fight for his family
but he's 63 years of age.  He's a crane driver.  Building sites can be
cruel, hard places, he didn't need this," he said.  "There was confusion
in every line of his face.  'They all have square jaws,' he said at one
point.  'But you don't.  You're into hurling.'"  He also tells of how,
during a championship away match against rivals Tipperary a spectator
used a megaphone to lead an abusive chant.  His mother no longer attends
matches as a result.

Shane McGrath, who writes about Gaelic Games for the Irish Daily Mail,
said:  "In national terms this is huge.  Hurling is bigger than
politics, music, everything.  Its hold on rural Ireland is supreme.  The
GAA has been the greatest cultural force in Ireland since the state's
foundation.  While it was incredibly brave of Dónal Óg to do this, it
also reinforces the GAA's ability to move with the times."

Times report: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/article6882842.ece
(C) Copyright acknowledged © 2009 Times Newspapers Ltd.
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