An Irish man has publicly come out as gay on Twitter, after reportedly “hiding it for 45 years”.
Tom Murphy has taken over the official Ireland Twitter account, where a new guest editor manages the account each week.
The 46-year-old revealed his sexuality to the account’s 45,000 followers, hoping to use the platform to draw attention to LGBT+ issues.
Murphy came out last year to his parents and friends after the Irish Same-Sex Marriage Referendum in May 2015. He said he was inspired by those - gay and straight - who fought for equal marriage.
Speaking to The Huffington Post UK, Murphy revealed that “most people will be finding out [that he is gay] today, unless they were friends and family,”
Murphy also wants to use the platform to draw attention to mental health issues, as he suffers from depression and anxiety. He believed that his decision to keep his sexuality a secret for most of his life impacted his mental health.
“Hiding my sexuality definitely fed depression.Coming out (last year) was part of a bigger fight back against it,” he tweeted.
“When I was growing up, homosexuality was a crime. Imagine being 14, realising the ‘awful truth’ and it making you a ‘criminal’,” he wrote.
“Imagine how scared I was.My fantasies made me ‘one of them’ but I didnt look ‘gay’ or act ‘gay’ but if anyone found out, I dunno what? jail?”
Murphy, who works in mobile tech and enjoys wood turning (aka carving spinning wood), has taken a week of work to prepare for the woodturning nationals.
When asked how he felt about the responses to his coming out he told HuffPost UK: “So far pretty good! I feel good about it, very cathartic too.”
Useful websites and helplines:
- London Lesbian & Gay switchboard (LLGS) is a free confidential support & information helpline for LGBT communities throughout the UK | 0300 330 0630
- Manchester Lesbian and Gay Switchboard is a free support, information and referral service for the Manchester and North-West area | 0161 235 8000
- Stonewall for more information on other LGBT services and helplines | 08000 502020