'angering' | 

Drag queen Rory O’Neill says not a single day goes by when he isn’t called a paedophile on the internet

‘Every single day someone on Twitter will accuse me of being a paedophile just because I’m an out, gay man’

Rory O'Neill, aka Panti Bliss

Ciara O'LoughlinIndependent.ie

Rory O’Neill, also known as Panti Bliss, has said that not a single day goes by that he isn’t called a paedophile online, and that he feels the LGBTQ+ community is being targeted more now than in recent years.

The drag queen, who also owns the Panti Bar in Dublin, said the abuse he and others in the community receive both online and in person is “annoying, angering, infuriating.”

“I am a proud queer man and the gays have given me everything: my career, my life, my fun, my boyfriends, my husband, my everything, so of course, I feel passionate about it,” he said.

“Why wouldn’t I take any opportunity I have to fight for them, in a way?

“Thankfully, things have changed over the years; we are fighting about smaller things than we used to.

“But I do think also - and I was guilty myself of it a bit- after the marriage referendum, thinking we are sorted and that everything is fine and we can now sail off into the gay sunset, but that isn’t how it works and things to go backwards sometimes and there is a push back against it and at the moment, I feel that very keenly and acutely, this push back.

“Not a single day goes by that I’m not called a paedophile on the internet now. Every single day someone on Twitter will accuse me of being a paedophile just because I’m an out, gay man.

“That had all stopped. I remember in the 70s and 80s when I was a student I used to hear that stuff, but it disappeared and it’s all back with a vengeance.”

Rory said he doesn’t think people believe that he’s a paedophile, but they see it as “a useful tool to push back”.

When asked on RTÉ Radio 1’s The Brendan O’Connor show if speaking about these people adds fuel to the fire, the drag queen said he believes it needs to be spoken about, because if it’s left ignored it will ignite into something more sinister.

“I think we have learned from the past that you can’t ignore this stuff because it allows it to fester and grow and there is no shortage of people telling me to relax and calm down but then it comes at you in real life,” he said.

“We had huge graffiti sprayed on the bar… they don’t stay online anymore.

“It does [upset me] it’s annoying, angering, infuriating.

“I’m not sitting at home crying about it because I was running around in the 80s as a gay boy and there was plenty of abuse then. It’s hard to upset a 53-year-old drag queen but it’s depressing that this stuff I thought was behind us is re-emerging.”

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