A gay candidate in Northern Ireland’s assembly elections was verbally abused outside a Catholic Church in Antrim.
SDLP candidate Connor Duncan was distributing leaflets after Mass at St Mary’s Church in Glenravel, outside Ballymena, when he was subjected to homophobic abuse. A woman called him “disgusting”, told him he was “sick in the head” and that he was “filth”.
The woman also tried block the car park exit with her car, refusing to move until Duncan and his canvassers left the church grounds.
“I was shocked at this barrage of abuse because I have never really experienced it before,” the 28-year-old candidate told The Irish News.
“It was a bit upsetting, the fact that that’s what people are saying about you is not a nice feeling. You can feel a bit degraded.”
He said the woman told him he had a “mental illness” and added: “You’re sick in the head, you can be cured if you want to be cured”.
“She said ‘There’s something wrong with you, you can’t call yourself a Catholic, you chose this lifestyle’.”
Mr Duncan said most people in the area were upset by the incident.
“It made me more focused, that there’s people out there who need someone to stand up for them in the LGBT community – and that’s what I intend to do,” he said.