Insidious homophobic attacks on the rise in Dublin

by Rose Barrett
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Rose Barrett

June is ‘Pride’ month, where Dublin leads the country in the celebration of the LGBT community, their history, diversity and the progress they’ve made in garnering equality for all.

Ireland stood proud when it voted for same-sex marriage via a referendum in May 2015.  November 2015 saw the Constitution of Ireland amended so that all marriages are recognised, irrespective of the sex of the partners.

The first country in the world to do so, it looked like Ireland had turned a 360-degree cycle in acceptance. Following the unlawful killing of two gay men in Sligo in April last, a number of homophobic attacks have occurred in Dublin.

Twenty-three-year-old rugby player Evan Somers was brutally assaulted in April when he was simply walking along Dame Street in the early hours of the morning with his cousin and partner.

Somers, who plays with the Emerald Warriors Rugby Club, suffered a broken ankle and a fractured eye socket after a male randomly ran at him and assaulted him.

On May 16 last, Robyn Deane and her partner Kate were attacked on Drumcondra Road Upper, and sustained facial injuries. The incident was reported to gardaí and it is believed the women were assaulted by two men, as the couple waited at a bus stop.

Representative of LGBT+ groups sought a meeting with gardaí this week, to discuss the recent increase in homophobic attacks in Dublin.

Is it traditional religious ideology or the restrictions of the pandemic that has seen a sudden ‘turn’ on same sex couples in Ireland, we asked of Paula Fagan, CEO LGBT Ireland.

“We’ re trying to unpack that question ourselves,” said Ms Fagan. “There’s been a bubbling up of hate crimes and hate speech against LGBT people; we saw hate speech particularly on social media and online forums in recent years and sadly, it’s building.

“It’s not down to religious factors, it’s fuelled by right wing ‘actors’, not ness in Ireland – but influencers from abroad, more right-wing rhetoric from the US and UK, anti-trans and anti-LGBT messaging from abroad.

“Social attitudes have changed dramatically here in general. People are supportive of LGBT rights, and support the ideal that members of our community should be entitled to lead a safe and full life, without fear of attack or recrimination.

“The recent attacks in Dublin were initiated by relatively young people, these attacks are due to an insidious hatred of minority communities within the trans and LGBT groups, it’s very sad and very frightening.”

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