A conversation at Toastmasters in Kildare last night about bullying in primary schools gave me this idea for a letter to the local papers. It is frightening, in fact, to hear of kids using terms like " gay" and " queer" as verbal abuse.
Parental attitudes still have a long way to go?..
The recent " coming out" of Donal Og Cusack has created barely a murmur in conversation, in press or on the media around county Kildare. This could be because our views around the issue of homosexuality have changed in recent years. Perhaps this issue is greeted with a shrug of the shoulders and regarded as barely news worthy. If that is the case then it is a good thing, signalling a broadening of tolerance in attitude.
It could also be because he is a hurler. Hurling is a minority sport in Kildare. In fact it has been said that in Kildare, hurleys are mainly used as instruments to keep down the thistles. A story about a Cork hurler attracts less local interest than say a story about a footballer, or a jockey.
The weigh rooms of Punchestown, Naas, The Curragh and other racecourses remain citadels of swashbuckling machismo.
A " coming out " from within the daredevil profession whom an ambulance follow around as they ply their trade would be the ultimate test of public attitude. A " coming out" of a National Hunt icon would surely strain the fragile liberalism of the midlands. As racing pages and pencils are dropped in a shocked silence around Kildare's betting shops the richter scale would perhaps just register a little tremor.
Come out, come out, wherever you are....