One of Ireland's most loved athletes, Donal Óg Cusack, in one of its iconic sports - hurling - comes out as gay. His coming out story is uncannily like mine - and many others' (see the video above). It's a very big deal in Ireland. Eamonn Sweeney writes about the impact on young people in Ireland and why his country needs change:
We don't deserve any plaudits because he came out. It doesn't show that we've 'matured as a nation'. It shows that he's a mature individual. It is a credit to him, not to us. Were we to put in place legislation that meant Donal óg Cusack might one day be able to legally marry, then we could start clapping ourselves on the back.
Tom Humphries writes:
Dónal Óg Cusack has yet again done the GAA and Irish society a huge favour. His refusal to accept that things within Cork hurling would always have to be as they were in the past has changed the GAA landscape there forever. His insistence that GAA players should stand together to improve their lot has angered many, but has brought the GAA into the 21st century in terms of player welfare issues.
And now as the first prominent sportsperson on this island to come out and speak frankly about his sexuality, the first to insist on his right to be judged as a sportsperson first and last, he has challenged that boorish machismo that still underpins a lot of Irish society and a lot of GAA life. And he has challenged those of us who by our silence are accomplices in that culture. From now on we have to judge ourselves, not Dónal Óg Cusack.
Cusack was recently the target of homophobic insults from a megaphone in the stands. Here's why he broke the taboo - out of a sense of duty, and a responsibility for others, who need this leadership:
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