First Mr Gay Louth aims to put LGBTQ is­sues in spot­light

The Argus - - NEWS - By MAR­GARET RODDY

“I see my role as an am­bas­sador for the whole county’

WIN­NER of the first Mr Gay Louth com­pe­ti­tion, Peter James Nu­gent says he wants to use his ti­tle to cam­paign for a greater aware­ness of the sigma still faced by mem­bers of the LGBTQ com­mu­nity and to high­light the need for rapid test­ing ser­vices for HIV and sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted dis­eases.

The 32-year-old Drogheda na­tive, who grad­u­ated from the hos­pi­tal­ity stud­ies course at Dun­dalk In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, was named as Mr Gay Louth in the Bar­bi­can Arts Cen­tre last month and will rep­re­sent the Wee County in Mr Gay Ire­land in Cork in March.

Peter is well known for his work with the LGBTQ com­mu­nity in Louth and the north east.

He is chair­per­son of LGBTQ Drogheda, a so­cial and sup­port group which was founded two years ago and es­tab­lished Drogheda Pride Fes­ti­val. He also has links with Dun­dalk Out­com­ers and the Pride Soc at DkIT which were formed his time here as a stu­dent from 2004-2007.

‘While I’m from Drogheda, I see my role as an am­bas­sador for the whole county. As a LGBTQ ac­tivist and now Mr Gay Louth I think it’s my re­spon­si­bil­ity to ed­u­cate peo­ple to stay safe and pro­tect them­selves.’

‘I want to help young peo­ple who still find it dif­fi­cult to ‘come out’ to their par­ents and fam­i­lies,’ he says. ‘Young­sters can still feel very un­easy about the whole as­pect of com­ing out to their par­ents as they don’t know what re­cep­tion they will get. Some par­ents will be ab­so­lutely fine while oth­ers can’t deal with the sit­u­a­tion so both the young peo­ple and their par­ents need to be sup­ported.’

He urges young peo­ple to get in touch with sup­port groups cater­ing for young LGBTQ peo­ple such as Be­long to so that they can look af­ter their men­tal health.

Peter is also call­ing for the roll out of a free rapid test­ing ser­vice for HIV/STIs, point­ing out that the lat­est statis­tics show a 35% in HIV cases in the coun­try.

‘ There is a need for a free con­fi­den­tial ser­vice so that peo­ple can get them­selves checked and know their sta­tus,’ he says. ‘HIV Ire­land come to Drogheda on a monthly ba­sis to car­ry­ing out tests. It’s free and con­fi­den­tial and while peo­ple can go to their GP, there is a cost in­volved.’

He is cam­paign­ing to have the ser­vice go to Drogheda twice a month and to visit Dun­dalk once a month so that the whole county is cov­ered.’

Mr Gay Louth Peter James Nu­gent

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.