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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > 294 > beaten to within an inch of his life

beaten to within an inch of his life

Since coming out four years ago, 28-year-old Irish Traveller Patrick Connors has been ostracised from his community and was almost bludgeoned to death. But in the hope that his story of survival might help others, he’s decided to share it

I’ve known I was gay since I was six years old but growing up in the Irish Traveller community made it very difficult for me to come out. Homophobia is rooted within the culture of Irish Travellers; it’s a dark and secret world, and when people step out of line, they tend to get beaten up.

I grew up knowing that being gay was not something that most travellers would tolerate and that telling anyone about it would put me at risk. So until I was 24, when I came out to my parents, I lived a lie.

For many years, I worked in Brussels with a group of other travellers and they’d force me to go into the red-light district and try to get me to go into brothels. “You’re not a bad-looking boy, we’re going to get you some women,” they’d say. I used to be terrified, but I’d pay €50 and I’d go into one of the brothels. I wouldn’t have sex but I’d make it look as though I had — I’d sit and smoke a couple of cigarettes, then I’d open my shirt a bit and I’d ask the lady to put a bit of oil on the back of my neck to make me look sweaty. Then I’d walk out and the lads would applaud me.

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About Attitude

James Corden on the importance of being an LGBT+ ally. Plus, Celebrity Big Brother and Drag Race star Courtney Act, Queer Eye's Karamo Brown, and the shocking truth about LGBT homelessness.