Fr. Tom Forde of Capuchin Chapel Kilkenny made the pretty horrific comments in a sermon. The chap even mentioned The Walking Dead. WTF has that got to do with gay people????Maybe i’ve been watching the show wrong all along (admittedly just the first three seasons)? I mean, statistically speaking i’m sure that some of the zombies were/are gay but I highly doubt they all were. Personally, I’ve never seen a gay person eat someones face off, not literally anyway. So much for Love thy neighbor right?

Tom spoke about ‘self destructive and irrational behaviour ‘ as if being gay is a choice. He summarized the definition of this by describing this as ‘the abuse of drugs and alcohol, adultery, fornication and homosexuality’. These comments sound like they’re from the 50s or earlier and it’s really where they belong. We’d imagine that Tom boy would get on very well with The High Sparrow from Game of Thrones.

The comments come during Pride Month, a time period dedicated towards the promotion of equality and inclusiveness of the LGBT community. The usual suspects will come forward saying that the priest is entitled to his freedom of speech but dehumanizing an entire community of people is beyond freedom of speech. The validity of a demographic is not up for question. His words were those of hatred and displayed the sort of bigoted view that should be consigned to the past. Unfortunately, however, homophobia is still very much prevalent today. Similar attitudes to Forde’s can be seen on Facebook comments and on Twitter threads and it’s important that we show a strong rejection of these ridiculous views.

Ireland has come along way in its journey towards being a more modern and compassionate country over the past few years after voting in favour of same-sex marriage and repealing the eighth amendment. While it would perhaps be an exaggeration to say that Fordes comments represent a considerable step backwards in this journey, as they do not represent the view of the majority, they are emblematic of the sort of tripe that Gay people have to put up with.

The words are a bitter reminder that members of the LGBT community are still not equal citizens in our country. Dangerous attitudes such as these are a minority but non nonexistent and radical and horrific statements such as Tom Fordes are hurtful and continue the damaging stigma surrounding coming out. Nobody anywhere should feel ashamed for who they are.

Fordes comparison with The Walking Dead was not only wildly inaccurate but he also went on to say that ‘once you are bitten you are infected and there is no hope. The only way to deal with the monsters is to stab or shoot them in the brain’. These are quite frankly disgusting comments and almost sound like a veiled threat of violence. The numerous physical and verbal attacks committed on gay people make the remark all the more concerning. We need to display solidarity to the LGBT community and show them that they are safe and valued members of society.