Gearoid Hegarty believes that "stigma in Irish culture" is stopping players from coming out as LGBTQ+ members
"I think we are getting much better as a country."
All of the stats show that members of the LGBTQ+ community are undoubtedly competing at inter-county level in both football and hurling, but not since 2009 has a player openly came out.
Limerick's Gearoid Hegarty believes that there is still a stigma in Irish society, and not just in the GAA, that is potentially preventing further progress in supporting this community.
Speaking at the launch of the Bord Gáis Energy Pride, the 2020 Player of the Year shared his views on the situation.
“I think it is just the stigma that is around it,” he replied when asked why he thinks no inter-county player has come out since 2009.
“And that is why Bord Gais are getting behind this campaign, trying to remove that stigma and allowing people to be whoever they want to be.
“I have several friends who are gay and they are very close friends of mine. I really do feel that it is up to the person to be whoever they want to be.
“There probably still is that stigma in Irish culture, I don’t necessarily think it’s the GAA. But I think we are getting much better as a country over the last number of years surrounding the viewpoint around it.
“But I still think that we have a bit of a way to go. Hopefully people can become more comfortable about these things in the future.
“You have got to control the controllables and there is nothing that can be done about it.”
To help promote allyship and inclusivity in team sports, Bord Gáis Energy has created 32 limited edition GAA County Pride t-shirts.
The t-shirts are on sale from today at Hairy Baby for €20 and all proceeds will go to Focus Ireland to support young adults from the LGBTQI+ community who are experiencing homelessness. The aim of these t-shirts is to encourage support for the LGBTQI+ community and showcase that the GAA is a place for everyone.