Eamonn Coghlan: 'I cried when my son came out'
DUBLIN Senator Eamonn Coghlan has revealed that he “cried for weeks” when he found out his son Michael was gay as he called for a Yes vote in the upcoming marriage referendum.
“When I discovered my son Michael was gay I was devastated. I cried for weeks. The hopes and dreams I had for my son were shattered. I felt guilty, almost as if I was to blame for him being gay,” he confessed.
“I tried to cover up my disappointment. While I hugged him, told him I loved him, I had to come to terms that, it was not about me but, about him and his life ahead.”
The dad-of-four was speaking to a meeting on the May 22 Same Sex Marriage Referendum in Portlaoise last night organised by the Fine Gael LGBT group.
Sen Coghlan said that as a parent of a gay child he believed that the upcoming vote was not about politics but equality.
In an emotional speech he revealed that his son had experienced bullying and violence due to his sexual orientation.
Michael, who lives in LA, is now 27. His teenage years were blighted with difficulties, according to his father.
“Michael is a grown man now but he suffered awful bullying in school. At the time we didn’t know why this was happening but after he came out it became apparent that it was because he was gay,” he explained.
His son also suffered from stomach problems that doctors were unable to diagnose as a teenager.
“It transpired that this was all anxiety related,” he said.
As an adult his son was subject to two violent homophobic attacks in Dublin.
Coghlan said he came to terms with his son being gay after a family holiday to Spain when he met some of Michael’s gay friends.
“I got to know them and see how happy he was with his mates,” he said.