Conor Cusack subjected to homophobic slur, says he feels 'empathy' for victimisers

The hurler spoke about his experiences on The Late Late Show.

Cusack has spoken about how he has received homophobic abuse since coming out.
Cusack has spoken about how he has received homophobic abuse since coming out.

Updated at 12.04

FORMER CORK HURLER Conor Cusack has spoken about how he was the subject of a homophobic slur recently, after publicly coming out last month.

Cusack, who has previously spoken at length about his struggles with depression, also said that he felt sympathy for the person who made the slur.

Speaking on The Late Late Show last night, Cusack described how the reaction to his recent revelation has been mainly “positive,” but he has experienced some trouble, after publishing the news on his blog last month.

“[It was] the Friday after my blog went out on the Monday. That Friday I was taking my day off work because I was off to give a number of talks in Offaly, Tipperary and Waterford.

“I came out the door in the morning and as I went around to the door of my van, I saw the word ‘fag’ written on it. The first thing that came into my head was cigarrettes. But it was actually [a reference to] the word ‘faggot’.

“I got this feeling in the pit of my stomach — it was similar to the feeling when I was being bullied all those years ago — and for a split second, I thought about retreating back into the house, but I got into the van.”

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While shocked and upset in the immediate aftermath of the incident, Cusack also said he felt sympathy for the individual who victimised him.

“Because of the incredible and personal journey I’ve been on,  I’ve an incredible independence from the opinions and judgements of others, but I found myself — as I was driving up the road in the van — being drawn back into that place where I was after having my breakdown.
“One of my great revelations during therapy was that the people that were bullying me were actually victims, because they were in a place of darkness as well. I have a deep empathy for those people.

“When I was leaving Dungarvan that night, driving back to Cork, I was in a place of peace with my self as well, but I know that the person who wrote that on my van isn’t.

“My hope for that person is that they can get the peace back in their life that I have.”

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Paul Fennessy

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