DCU lecturer is target of anonymous homophobic abuse

A DCU PhD candidate and asssociate lecturer has been the subject of homophobic abuse following his decision to display an LGBT-themed poster on his office window.

Steven Conlon, a former LGBT Rights Officer with the Union of Students in Ireland, has been receiving anonymous hand-written homophobic notes to his office.

The poster he displayed was that of the UK LGBT rights organisation Stonewall reading ‘Some People Are Gay. Get Over It’.

Shortly after the poster was erected an anonymous note was passed underneath the lecturer’s door while he was out of office. It read ‘Adam and Eve NOT Adam and Steve! Shame on you! Genesis 2:22-24! Leviticus 18:22! God have mercy on your soul’.

A few days later another note arrived with more aggressive homophobic comments targeted towards the lecturer. It read: ‘Please Stop Promoting Sin! Protect our students from evil! Homos are an abomination! Repent! Read Genesis 18:26-19:29. +Teach the Wrath+’.

The religious inferences within the notes derive from the Christian Bible and are often used by Christian fundamentalists.

DCU Chaplain Fr Joe Jones, however, said “the use of biblical scripture in the negative sense is not helpful” and that “no person has the right to make judgment on another”.

The College View understands the issue is the subject of a current investigation by college authorities. DCU’s outgoing Equality Officer Paul Smith said he could not comment on individual cases.

Since the abuse began, a large number of prominent humanities lecturers have shown solidarity with Conlon and have displayed the Stonewall poster on their office doors within the Henry Grattan building.

Director of Workplace Diversity with the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, Davin Roche, said “bullying, harassment and anti-gay bias are real issues for LGBT employees and their employers”.

He also noted that DCU has been a participant in their Diversity Champions Programme since April and that participants of the programme are committed to ensuring diversity and inclusion of LGBT staff in the workplace.

When asked for a statement Conlon said “firstly, I wish to thank both my colleagues in the School and Faculty and the university management for their solidarity and support. Both have expressed their absolute abhorrence to this campaign of hate.

“Everyone has a right to their religious beliefs but the selective interpretation of religious text and its use as a language of hate has no place in a secular university or society. As an LGBT rights campaigner I have never received such targeted hate before and I can only surmise that the notes are a result of a fear, lack of education or a much more insidious attack on our ever-increasing diversity in DCU.”

Sean Cassidy

Image Credit: Sean Cassidy

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