Watch | The Saturday Panel | LGBT Experiences in Irish sport |

The topic came to the fore this week after Gareth Thomas was attacked in Cardiff

BY Simon Maguire 15:43 Saturday 24 November 2018, 15:43 24 Nov 2018

This week's Saturday Panel focused on LGBT experiences in Irish sport.

Cork Camogie legend Valarie Mulchay, inter-County gaelic football referee David Gough and transgender cyclist Phillipa Ryder joined Nathan on Off the Ball to talk through their experiences in sport and their hopes for the future. 

Despite Ireland becoming the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote in 2015, Gough revealed he still receives abuse due to his sexual orientation. 

"Every time you hear it - it just chips away at you, constantly," he said, adding: "I don't hear it so much but at club games, you definitely hear it because there's not as many people there and you mightn't have your head-set in.

"But also in dressing rooms, and you might find this strange but I'm not in players' dressing rooms, but my dressing room is right beside theirs and the walls in those dressing rooms are thin and you can hear exactly what's going on.

"The language that's used, and just when you're sitting there getting ready for a game, at a club game, and someone's making a comment and the language around gay people that's used, and you hear that in the dressing room beside you and part of you cringes because you know you're going out into an environment where those players find that comfortable language to use," he added. 

Looking at the issue in a broader sense, he said: "The GAA tells us they give us a huge amount of support but we never really see it in their actions  - there's no LGBT policy within the GAA. They never fly a rainbow flag over Croke Park when every other part of Dublin is celebrating the atmosphere and positive experience of Pride weekend - there's no physical signs that the GAA is supporting LGBT

Asked if there was anything he'd like to see in the future, Gough said: "Very simply, it's just something small but I would love to see them fly a rainbow flag over Croke Park on a championship weekend when Pride is being celebrated in Dublin - that would be just huge. 

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