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Each man in his time plys many parts
If, as The Bard had it, all the world’s a stage, then Green Paul Gogarty is a better actor than most. He’s been a New Romantic, a busker, a journalist and an editor before being elected to the Dáil. But even that is only half of it. In a remarkably open interview, he talks about the price of being in government with Fianna Fáil, his multiple identities on web fora, rumours that he was gay, the issue of depression – and the true story of his adoption.
Jason O'Toole, 27 Feb 2009
In the party, there’s a perception amongst some cohorts that I’m a bit of a loose cannon. I’ve lost my rag a few times. I don’t suffer fools gladly. But at the same time, I burst my gut to help people in the party for different things over the years. I curse too much, that’s one of my faults. The loose cannon allegory is correct but, at the same time, I’ve never gone against anything that the members have decided or what the members wish. Yes, I’m an individual. Yes, I care if people like me or think I have integrity. But otherwise I don’t give a shit. Otherwise I wouldn’t have gone around wearing make-up, getting spat at and being called gay. The thing is, I was into New Romantic stuff and I used to wear eye shadow regularly – even during my student days. There’s a perception out there that if you do that, if you wear make-up, you’re automatically gay! I was slagged for many years for being gay! Obviously, I have nothing against people who are gay, but the fact was I wasn’t gay. I did get paranoid about it.
Did you question your own sexuality growing up?
Everyone else was questioning it. I used to joke that I was 25% gay! I was mainly heterosexual, with a twist – not enough to be bi! I remember having a particularly bad month for being called gay, and I bought a Playgirl, looking at naked men to see if it did anything for me, but it didn’t! I wasn’t seriously questioning it, but I said, ‘Right, let’s just see now! If I am, this is going to arouse me!’ But it didn’t! Not in the slightest. Not even one bit. I swear to God! Men always get turned on by the idea of two women together. So, do I! Brokeback Mountain looked kind of natural – that’s because it was a kind of a love story. But, to me, a woman’s body is more beautiful than a man’s body – definitely! I’d have been the first to say, if I was gay I’d be the most extroverted, militant gay you’d meet! I’d reckon I’d make a good career out of gay rights!