- 30 Jun 20
Fellow comedians Frankie Boyle, Sarah Millican and Nish Kumar all praised the comedian for her brave candour.
Irish comedian Eleanor Tiernan has given a candid interview about coming out as gay later in life, and Ireland's attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community overall during Pride month.
Appearing on this morning's Jennifer Zamparelli show on 2FM, Tiernan described her experience of waiting decades to reveal her sexual orientation, and why she made the ultimate decision to come out on Twitter.
She went into more detail about the reaction from her family, as well as mentioning that Phillip Schofield's recent coming-out move inspire her own brave choice.
“I watched Phillip Schofield come out in the year and when you watch someone else come out it makes it a little bit harder for you to stay in the closet yourself," Eleanor said, speaking of reasons for her resolution.
"Because you are watching somebody else, I guess take ownership of their life and then there is a little bit of a feeling afterwards of ‘why amn’t I doing that?'”
Eleanor received an overwhelmingly warm and compassionate response on social media to her post, with an outpouring of gratitude from many who have struggled to make their own public revelations.
“It was absolutely lovely because when you are in that situation you want to feel safe, you want to feel loved and want to feel protected and that was exactly what came back to me. Yeah, people in every way just said we have your back now and I was just thrilled.”
Commenting on the specific societal changes Ireland as a nation has gone through, including the 2015 marriage equality referendum, Eleanor maintains that the LGBTQ+ community are still vulnerable in many ways.
“I guess, it’s different for everybody. I don’t know what it was about me, my personality that made me kind of you know be that bit more extra cautious and self-protective.
“Ireland has come through a lot, there’s a whole thing of tolerance," she says.
"You know the whole thing we are very tolerant of LGBT people now. For me, I kind of really needed to wait, I think, until we started to feel celebrated, you know we need to celebrate gay people and not just tolerant. Nobody wants to feel tolerated.”
Eleanor first came out as a lesbian in an interview on the Insane in the Fem Brain podcast.
“There was two factors about him that really chipped away at my head which is one, that he was older than me,” she explained. “And I had been telling myself up to that point, ‘You can’t come out over 40, that’s daft.’
“I had to say, ‘OK, anybody can be gay Eleanor, and you can be gay.’ That was a big factor in it.”
Listen back to the full Eleanor Tiernan interview on the Jennifer Zamparelli show here.
Read Eleanor's initial statement on Twitter below:
My news... it is my nervous and joyous pleasure to tell you all that I am gay. A gay woman. Lesbian if you will. It’s something I’ve come to later in life (usual for me) but very much here and queer now. If you would like to hear more pls listen below. Much love ET ❤️🏳️🌈👭 https://t.co/tTMMcFclOJ
— Eleanor Tiernan (@eleanortiernan) June 25, 2020