A CORK comedian has spoken of his shock at being abused in the city while dressed in drag.
Tadhg Hickey, of CCCahoots Productions, was dressed in drag to film scenes as the character Mairéad Corkery — an unlucky-in-love Irish republican, who became a viral hit this summer, when a video featuring her explaining the intricacies of Irish/English sporting rivalries clocked up 1.5m views.
However, Hickey said that on a recent filming trip in Cork city, some people thought he was transgender and he was subjected to abuse and was called a ‘faggot’.
He said the abuse has made him question if he should continue playing the character and he has reached out to the LGBT community for suggestions on whether it is appropriate for a straight man to play a female character, while dressed in drag.
“I would have thought, as a society, we had moved on. I was shocked,” he said.
“For about two or three hours, I was walking around my home city and I felt extremely uncomfortable. Grown men were rolling down the windows in their cars, giving me really aggressive, judgemental looks. A grown man under his breath called me a ‘faggot’,” he added.
Mr Hickey has played female characters before, but he said Mairéad is different, as CCCahoots’ make-up artist, Ciara Coleman-Geaney, makes the character look like a woman.
It is only when people get close that they can see the character is actually a man.
“When I’ve done panto in drag in the past, and was doing photo shoots in town, you get lads honking their horns and they think it’s a bit of craic. But when you get closer to the actual thing and they think you are potentially a transgender person, you get some people putting down their windows and calling you a faggot.
“It really took me aback, because I love Cork and I am really passionate about being from the city and I love giving a good impression of Cork around the country. It’s an interesting and progressive place, in loads of ways.
“We have gay marriage now and are more progressive than ever, but there’s actually a minority of people that are becoming more entrenched and angry about these things.
“I realised I’d never known what it was like to walk around Cork as someone who is a little bit different.
“I don’t think that any of our citizens should be treated that way and it should be challenged. There’s the mentality of ignoring the bigots, but we should challenge it. It saddened and angered me that there are people in this city who find going out in public hard, because of who they are,” he added.
Hickey now hopes to do a video with an LGBT group to create a discussion around how members of the community are treated in the public sphere.
He is seeking feedback on the Mairéad Corkery character, via the CCCahoots Facebook page.